An indicative development plan developed in conjunction with the National Capital Authority has been refined based on an iterative process of design improvement.
The indicative development plan envisages development within the City Hill Precinct around City Hill Park extending toward the West Basin of Lake Burley Griffin. City Hill is a symbolic connecting point of six radiating avenues, an apex of the National Triangle and an important centre of future activity. Enhancements and refinements to the indicative development plan included:
- Making key street network connections more visually direct so that pedestrians do not have to make a number of changes in direction and improving direct line of sight potential;
- Reassessing the planned location of retail land uses with a view to supporting enhanced movement on the most accessible streets;
- Locating pedestrian attractors along key routes that form a link between the waterfront and the existing core;
- Identifying locations where low or high pedestrian flows exist and identifying overprovision or under provision of open space, including pedestrian footways allowing redesign of a more appropriate scale; and
- Traffic management interventions to support pedestrian accessibility.
The study identified and assessed important factors (key drivers) that are required to support pedestrian movement. These key drivers are:
Pedestrians are sensitive to route complexity and are less likely to make complicated journeys. Canberra Central’s street system is complex and hinders pedestrian movement, particularly the hexagonal circuit of streets and radiating Avenues. Routes from the established core to and through the new development areas will be made simple and direct, linking and integrating the existing commercial core with new commercial areas.
The street space, facilities and infrastructure provided for pedestrians are important in encouraging or hindering waking. Outside the City’s core pedestrianised areas known as ‘City Walk’, pavement space for walking is poor, with major arterial road and ramps that are difficult to cross. Urbanising the arterial road including introducing signalised intersections will support future cross-city movement.
The density of development in cities has an important influence on pedestrian activity levels, because of the increased origins and destinations for pedestrian journeys. The low density of the wider city centre outside the core currently results in a discontinuous walking network. The indicative development plan proposes greatly increased density within City Hill, West Basin and Constitution Avenue precincts.
City Walk is a great example of successful land use distribution providing a range of attractions for pedestrians to move between, albeit in a limited area. Opportunities for active uses have been identified that extend the existing core areas into and through new development areas and beyond to the lake at West Basin.
The study identified that the current bus interchange is well located within the existing functional walking network making it easy for travellers to enter and walk to most shops and attractions within the core. The study analyses the ease of access (coverage) of new public transport facilities and how new development could support public transport as the city centre grows.
Large areas of surface parking forming a barrier to movement will be developed, allowing a range of pedestrian attractors to be located on the ground floor of future development. Locating future structured public parking close to the expanded functional walking network will make walking from these facilities convenient and safe.
The movement study will assist in strategic and detailed planning by informing the:
- Sequence of future land release, development and infrastructure within Canberra Central;
- Location of major pedestrian infrastructure and recommendations on the design of roads and public realm to support pedestrian movement;
- Location of key land uses (pedestrian attractors) that maximise and support pedestrian movement;
- Location benefits of public transport hubs and car parking facilities maximising coverage and accessibility;
- Defining detailed site planning and development conditions for sites; and
- Increasing natural surveillance of public spaces within Canberra Central making the city safer.
Developers will value understanding how pedestrians will move in the future city centre. The study’s quantitative evidence based analysis will assist developers in recognising the commercial benefit that mixed uses and quality public spaces within sites on key routes offer. The Intelligent Space model forecasts to a high level of accuracy. Therefore the model’s ongoing use into the future offers the responsible authorities a reliable design tool to analyse and assess strategic and detailed planning proposals.