The Institute of Public Works Engineering (Qld), with support from the Queensland Department of Infrastructure and Planning, Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Health and the Department of Communities, have appointed Parsons Brinckerhoff to conduct a review of the old Queensland Streets guidelines. The aim: to produce a contemporary street design guideline for sustainable neighbourhoods.
Queensland Streets 2010 will encourage and facilitate good design. The guideline will provide designers and assessors with the ability to consider innovations such as laneways, streets with no on-street parking, mixed use developments with lower parking provision and narrower streets, subdivisions with pedestrian-only access and naked streets.
Whilst none of these innovations are compulsory, they provide alternative solutions for developers who think beyond our current car-dominated product. This car-dominated product is often produced as a response to the ‘rules’ rather than a response to good design. Designers and assessors can now access more diverse development types with more confidence of their acceptance.
Hierarchy of street users
Queensland Streets 2010 concentrates on a hierarchy of street users, as opposed to vehicle traffic. Priority of design is given to pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and cars respectively. Street types are described by their function, not their traffic carrying capacity. The new street hierarchy consists of living streets, mixed-use streets and main streets. This is consistent with international street design guidelines such as the UK Manual for Streets.
Neighbourhood layouts are also addressed encouraging designers and developers to consider more permeable options. This will reduce geographical interruptions to walking, cycling and public transport routes; reduce pressure for more road space; and improve neighbourhood amenity. More intimate and secure spaces will also result through the provision of increased flexibility in street crosssections.
While Queensland Streets proposes a variety of solutions to represent the principles outlined in the document, it also encourages designers, developers and local governments to genuinely push the envelope. The ultimate aim is to achieve quality streets that fulfil their social, gathering, open-space, recreational and communication obligations – and not just act as conduits for cars.
This guideline development process commenced approximately a year ago with a series of design workshops throughout Queensland and a review by a technical committee. The draft version of Queensland Streets 2010 is available for review and comment via the IPWEAQ website: www.ipwea.org.au/qld/qldstreets. Comments from Urban Design Forum readers on the draft Queensland Streets 2010 are encouraged.