This is something that has always bugged me as I walk up and down Queen St. Take a look at the intersection of Airdale St. Airdale is a little left over remnant of a road that got sliced off by Mayoral Drive. It wasn’t much of a street to begin with, but now it almost doesn’t exist. But look at that intersection!
What really gets me is that the mouth of this street is 20m wide. That’s as wide as Queen St itself, and as wide as Dominion Rd including the footpaths. The street itself is only 70m long. It’s so wide the built a pedestrian refuge island halfway across.
I have to ask why this stubby ex-street required such a huge width? Why is the intersection almost twice as wide as a comparable minor street elsewhere in the city? It can’t have high traffic flows as it is a complete dead end. Not a cul de sac even, just a dead end. A quick scan reveals eight on street parking spaces, a loading zone, and access to two building’s garages. Neither of those are big carparking buildings mind, just a few dozen spots across two office buildings. Why widen it so much, presumably for high speed cornering geometry, but then go an build in a raised pedestrian table? The really funny thing is the pedestrian island and the curve of the curbs mean you can’t get two cars abreast at the intersection. The intersection is as wide as a four lane road for no reason I can see.
I should point out that this isn’t still the old intersection from the days when Airdale St was a long city street, this was designed this way only a few years ago when it was totally rebuilt as part of the Queen St streetscapes upgrades. Someone chose to make it this way. I wonder if the intersection wasn’t so wide then maybe they could have managed more than a solitary cabbage tree to green up the space, perhaps a little pocket park or similar feature. Maybe with more pedestrian space they MLC cafe could manage more than four chairs out front.
I’m no traffic engineer and I don’t really have any idea what informs these design decisions, but can somebody please enlighten me why such an insignificant service lane was recently built with such a huge intersection on the city’s busiest pedestrian corridor?