Sunday, June 03, 2007

BYO boltcutters?

What do you take when you're planning a public transport trip? The following might be a reasonable list:

(i) Ticket (remember BATBYGOBSTOPL?)
(ii) Timetable
(iii) Timepiece
(iv) Street directory or other map
(v) Boltcutters

Boltcutters?

Yes.

If you want to take Route 440 to get to Werribee Plaza from the houses pictured (Melway 205 G2 & H2), and don't wish to duck (or jump over) the chain you'll need to do a round trip of some 340 steps (west to the Purchas Street intersection) for a break in the chain. Or get out the boltcutters and make your own path.

It's only a bit better if you live nearer to Purchas Street. Although it runs through the middle of the established Riverdene subdivision (built c1980) and is a logical collector of pedestrian traffic, no bus stop has been provided for it at Heaths Rd. Instead passengers must either use the stop pictured or board near the Italian Club across the water channel. As is familiar to veterans of the tram stop debates, having stops midway between streets increase walking compared to if they are located at intersections.

The cul-de-sac layout of the area already doubles walking time for many local trips compared to a porous grid-style layout. Bad stop placement and poor foot access to them (eg having to negotiate chains or uninterrupted traffic) means that public transport isn't effective either.

The example demonstrates that road builders alone can't be trusted to do the right thing for either pedestrians or public transport. Hence it is important that plans for new and redeveloped subdivisions be checked for pedestrian and transit amenity. Fortunately for Heaths Rd, the solution is simple - some boltcutters and an extra stop.

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