Public realm spaces and cycle corridors

Cycle corridors are reserved for future cycle highways. A cycle corridor is a type of public realm space, but what type? More about public realm spaces and where cycle highways fit.

The stages of the planning process

Cycle corridors reserve and preserve space for the later construction of safe and direct cycle highways. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the urban planning cycle is very long, and it is necessary to make planners aware of the cycle corridors so that they can be considered in the concept plan and detailed designs. The cycle corridor is chosen, because it provides the characteristics that fast, safe and direct cycle highways require. The actual construction comes later and may be done in stages, such as for a greenfield estate.

ANU

There are different types of PUBLIC REALM in the Estate Development Code. Each type has PRIMARY FUNCTIONS. The code defines when they should be identified (STAGE IDENTIFIED).

Here is a rough timeline for the planning stages. Everything is calculated backwards from when we expect it to be finished.

  1. Structure Plan (40 years out)
  2. Concept Plan (20-30 years out)
  3. Estate Development Plan (10 years out)
  4. Development Application (2-3 years out)

40 years may seem a long time, but it is not really. Since its conception, light rail was planned for the Molonglo Valley, too. Infrastructure, such as the John Gorton Drive Bridge, is being made light rail ready. RobertsDay designed the Concept Plan with light rail in mind. The group centre in Molonglo 3 East is also designed for light rail. Sure, at this stage, the ACT Government has not committed to light rail for the Molonglo Valley, but everything is built on the presumption that it will come one day.

When will it get there? Below is a timeline. Even if the construction of the light rail accelerates, it is unlikely to arrive in the Molonglo Valley for 40 years after the Concept Plan for Coombs was first drafted. Keep in mind that the Molonglo Valley itself will not be completed for another 20 to 30 years.

  • 2012 – inception of the light rail concept
  • 2019 – completion of stage 1 (Gungahlin)
  • 2025 – completion of stage 2a (Commonwealth Park)
  • 2030-35 – completion of state 2b (Woden)
  • 2040-50 – completion Stage 3 Belconnen/Kippax
  • 2050-60 – completion Stage 3 Airport

The types of public realm

The Estate Development Code includes many types of public realm, but most are of no relevance to cycling. Definitions for all will be included at the bottom of this article, however, the priority here is to identify those types relevant to the cycle corridor concept.

Public realm space types and the stage identified

TypeStructure PlanConcept PlanEstate Development Plan
Town parkyesyes
District parksyesyes
District sportsgroundsyesyes
Neighbourhood ovalsyes
Neighbourhood parksyes
Heritage parksyes
Lakes and pondsyesyesyes
Broad scale open spaceyesyesyes
Habitat sitesyesyesyes
*Pedestrian parklandyesyes
*Access waysyes
*Pedestrian lanesyes
*Street verges and mediansyes
Derived from the Estate Development Code (4 October 2013), page 46-49

The last four public realm space types are marked with *, as they belong to the “movement network“. Every development application includes a plan for the movement networks.

A cycle corridor should be identified in the Structure Plan or Concept Plan stage. Of the current movement network types, pedestrian parkland comes the closest. It would be feasible to define a new type of public realm space – a cycle corridor – that is identified at the Structure Plan stage.

Pedestrian parkland
Movement network

Concept Plans/Estate Development Plans

  • Corridors providing for pedestrian and cyclist routes within and between suburbs and linkages with parks, schools and workplaces.
  • May include playgrounds and fitness stations in suitable locations.
  • Often co-located with waterways for urban stormwater management and treatment and may contain small ponds and wetlands.
  • Often includes remnant vegetation and other natural features, may provide wildlife habitat conservation and/or connectivity.
  • Generally, the dominant surface treatment is dryland grass as dominant ground surface unless otherwise specified for the conservation of habitat, with planted vegetation to enhance shade, shelter, character, seasonal diversity or wildlife movement.

Definitions of types

Town park
Located in a town centre

Structure Plans/Concept Plans

  • A meeting place park, formal in character.
  • With irrigated grass, paving, art, and street furniture.
  • May have shrub or flower beds, pavilions and water features.
  • May be associated with play facilities, lakes or ponds.

District parks
Recreational facilities

Structure Plans/Concept Plans

  • Extensive, informal park or series of spaces, 4 -10 Ha
  • Serving population catchment area of 25 – 50,000 minimum people.
  • With grass and trees and a diversity of recreation facilities to cater for informal recreation for all age groups such as picnics, barbecues, adventure playgrounds and skateboard parks.
  • May have natural or cultural heritage conservation or habitat creation purposes.
  • May be associated with waterways, wetlands, lakes and ponds.

District sportsgrounds
Sportsground complex

Structure Plans/Concept Plans

  • Training and competition venue for organised nominated sports at all levels, 8 ha minimum.
  • Serving population catchment area of 25 – 50,000 minimum people.
  • May be associated with high schools.
  • With irrigated grass, public parking, training lights and a pavilion that includes change rooms, toilets and kiosk.

Neighbourhood ovals
Recreational or sporting activities

Estate Development Plans

  • Ovals used for sporting purposes and recreational space for local residents.
  • Generally located adjacent to primary schools and/or local shopping centres with shared or separate parking.
  • Neighbourhood ovals are an integral part of surrounding parkland, then not in use for sporting purposes.
  • The area is irrigated and will require sufficient space for related amenities (small pavilion/toilet block and training lights).

Neighbourhood parks
Recreational or sporting activities

Estate Development Plans

  • Neighbourhood parks are classified as Local neighbourhood parks (0.5ha-1ha) or Central neighbourhood parks (1ha-2ha).
  • Focal point park of all neighbourhood open spaces and off road movement networks to be an outdoor meeting place.
  • To accommodate opportunities for informal free and innovative play as well as a range of unstructured recreation activities for a range of ages. The play space may include standardised playground equipment.
  • Parks are linked or adjacent to other public realm spaces and may be located adjacent to a neighbourhood sportsground. Neighbourhood parks can also accommodate remnant native vegetation and other natural features.
  • Provided with shade and shelter and drinking water.

Heritage parks
Special purpose park

Estate Development Plans

  • Open space area created to conserve heritage character and elements.
  • May have heritage conservation and monitoring activities.

Lakes and ponds
For control of stormwater quality and quantity including flood mitigation from the urban catchments

Structure Plans/Concept Plans/Estate Development Plans

  • Designed waterscape for aesthetics and water storage for irrigation and other second class water needs.
  • Water uses may include conservation and or active recreation (e.g. fishing, swimming, boating) and passive recreation around lakes and ponds.

Broad scale open space
The bushland setting for Canberra

Structure Plans/Concept Plans/Estate Development Plans

  • Areas of remnant and planted native vegetation, hills and ridges, waterway corridors and buffer areas between suburbs.
  • To provide visual and landscape amenity, informal recreation and wildlife habitat.
  • May contain sites for biological diversity or connectivity, cultural heritage conservation and or for community activities (e.g. Landcare, Parkcare, Community Garden groups).

Habitat sites
The bushland setting for Canberra

Structure Plans/Concept Plans/Estate Development Plans

  • Remnant grassland or woodland sites important for nature conservation purposes.
  • May form part of a regional ecosystem, provide the food source for migratory species or contain endangered plant or animal species or be used for connectivity and be subject to conservation activities
  • and monitoring in accord with Action Plans for their conservation prepared under provisions of the Nature Conservation Act 1980.

Pedestrian parkland
Movement network

Concept Plans/Estate Development Plans

  • Corridors providing for pedestrian and cyclist routes within and between suburbs and linkages with parks, schools and workplaces.
  • May include playgrounds and fitness stations in suitable locations.
  • Often co-located with waterways for urban stormwater management and treatment and may contain small ponds and wetlands.
  • Often includes remnant vegetation and other natural features, may provide wildlife habitat conservation and/or connectivity.
  • Generally, the dominant surface treatment is dryland grass as dominant ground surface unless otherwise specified for the conservation of habitat, with planted vegetation to enhance shade, shelter, character, seasonal diversity or wildlife movement.

Access ways
Movement network

Estate Development Plans

  • Linear spaces for pedestrians and cyclists between residential properties providing direct access between streets and other public realm spaces.
  • Low intensity management with seasonal variability.

Pedestrian lanes
Movement network

Estate Development Plans

  • Routes for pedestrians between buildings and /or properties providing direct access between shops and or streets.

Street verges and medians
Movement network

Estate Development Plans

  • An interconnected network of spaces, not necessarily symmetrical, for off road movement networks, and to incorporate trees, shrubs and ground cover plantings.
  • To provide for aesthetic purposes and microclimate control as well as driving experience, character of place and environmental services.
  • May contain underground services and street /traffic furniture. Surface treatments designed to maximise capture of rainfall for ground water recharge and vegetation health.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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