Two weeks ago I posted about the excellent Ponsonby Rd Masterplan – note: there is a public open day at the Leys Institute Library Ponsonby, 20 St Mary’s Road, St Marys Bay from 10am-3pm today. In the comments of that post Steve D pointed out an excellent online resource called Streetmix which allows anyone to make simple road cross section diagrams. Below is one of the designs we came up with for Ponsonby Rd.
The tool is such a neat idea and so useful. In the past we have often talked about street layouts but have sometimes struggled to express them visually but this gives us a way to do that in such a simple way.
But Streetmix was just an initial prototype and the team behind it have now released a beta version adds a that adds a new visual style but more importantly a whole lot of new features that allow for a lot of customisation. Some of the new features include
- new vehicle types like being able to add trucks or light rail
- being able to add street furniture like bus stops, signs or seats
- being able to add different road functions like turning bays, as well as both side and perpendicular parking
- the addition of different median options from a painted stripped buffer through to bollards or trees
- the ability to change the building type, height or not having a building at all with other options available like a waterfront, plain grass or an off street car park
- Being able to name streets and save your designs.
All up these are great improvements so a big thanks to the team at Code for America for this.
The tool is going to so handy for explaining street layout ideas on the blog but also in submissions. With this new version, I thought I would have a go at visualising some of the streets we have talked about on this blog in the past.
I’m doing this one as we are proposing light rail as part of our Congestion Free Network. The real limitation with this street is in the town centres where is impossible to widen without destroying the heritage buildings and character that exists. In those areas the streets are generally only about 20m wide and there are obviously a lot of competing uses for the space. So here is one idea.
Obviously there would need to be stops somewhere here is what it could be like. I imagine in this scenario the stops would be offset rather than being right next to each other.
We have called for both Hobson and Nelson Sts to be returned to two way operation rather than being the de-facto motorways that they are currently. These two streets are a bit wider at about 27m each – although they widen further at some intersections. One key part to this idea is to change the connections on the motorway ramps so that the North Western hooks up in both directions to Hobson St while the Southern motorway connects into Nelson St. The idea I have gone with keeps three lanes northbound to match the number of lanes on each of the motorway ramps while only has two lanes southbound, again which matches the ramps. It also adds a protected cycleway and a planted median to the road. Further north – perhaps Wellesley or Victoria – there is probably the opportunity to drop the extra northbound lane and increase the footpaths and median strip.
Customs St is going to be a key route for buses as part of the new network and desperately needs some bus priority. We have suggested that there needs to consideration for a busway, probably on the Northern side of the road. The road is wider than the previous two, this time 30m wide and I have also assumed that the key cycling routes will be either on Quay St or on the share space of Fort St (and hopefully some shared spaces within the Britomart area). Like with what I suggested for Dominion Rd, I’m thinking that the bus stops are likely to be offset and outside of the bus stop areas the lane could be used to either widen the footpaths or allow for turning lanes.
Anyway that’s enough playing for one day but also shows the kinds of things that you can do with the tool. Have a go yourself and see what designs you can come up with for these or other streets.
Oh and once again thanks to the awesome people at Code for America for making this tool.