On 24 June 2015, Hugh Dixon, Senior Traffic Engineer in HDS Australia's Victorian Office, attended an Australian Institute of Traffic Planning and Management (AITPM) seminar on “Adapting Streetscapes for Communities” held at the Cardno Conference Room in Melbourne.
The three speakers were:
Frank Hanson, Manager Urban Design Commercial and Retail at the Metropolitan Planning Authority,
Steven Burgess, consultant at MRCagney in Melbourne, and
Justin Hanrahan, Manager of Recreation and Open Space at the City of Yarra, who discussed ‘pocket parks’.
Topics covered during the seminar included local street design guidelines, how driverless cars might transform demand for transport and ‘pocket parks’.
One thing that interested Hugh was the presentation of roads in discrete categories as either “links” or “places”. This is a similar concept to the ‘separate functions’ model that divides roads into those for access (local streets and collectors) and those for traffic function (arterials and freeways). However, Melbourne’s existing road network tends to follow the ‘classical’ road hierarchical model, where the traffic function of a road increases gradually from laneways to local streets, collectors, arterials and finally freeways. The existing reliance on local and collector roads to provide traffic function may be a challenge for creating “places” completely separate from “links”.
The idea of pocket parks presented by City of Yarra was also interesting. Pocket parks involve the development of small parcels of land, such as part of a car parking lot or an unused allotment, into a public park. This is a new approach to increasing the presence of vegetation in the urban environment without the need for major land acquisition.