Doncaster Hill was to be the key destination of Melbourne’s east, “a place to be”, and a vibrant self contained urban village. Manningham wanted to transform the character of Williamsons/Tram and Doncaster Roads into tree lined, pedestrian and bicycle friendly boulevards but did not allow for the huge volumes of through traffic they carry today or the effect of a poorly designed local street network.

Travel In Any Direction Click to enlarge

Travel In Any Direction Interconnected Street Grid
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Cul-De-Sacs in Doncaster Click to enlarge

Cul-De-Sacs in Doncaster  poor connectivity
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Our traffic problems really began from the 50’s, when we abandoned the densely interconnected street grids that enabled efficient traffic dispersion, where people could get around, then changed our street design to suit the automobile. Road networks now start from an arterial road, then down a main road, onto a collector Road, then into a local street and onto a driveway at the end of a Cul-De-Sac.       “Dead ends in more ways then one”..Patrick Condon    Seven Rules For Sustainable Communities . Manningham Council had recently commissioned

Cul-De Sacs Gone Mad Click to enlarge

Cul-De Sacs Gone Mad
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a review of parking and traffic management on Doncaster Hill. It indicated that with the number high rise developments being completed there would be corresponding capacity constraints in the road network with limited opportunities available to accommodate the projected growth in traffic volumes. Congested traffic conditions similar to inner Melbourne are now expected. Increased traffic volumes will result in increased travel times and slower vehicle speeds in and around Doncaster Hill. There will be reduced performance of the road based public transport system (Buses Only) within the local area with an increase in stop-start traffic flow, queuing and delays at key intersections and limited gap opportunities for vehicles entering the arterial road network from our local road network.

Rule 2. Design an interconnected street system. Fine-grain interconnected street networks ensure that all trips are as short as possible, disperse congestion, and are compatible with walking, biking, and transit. The grid is the most common form of interconnected street system. Most streetcar cities have this characteristic street pattern, which is generally different than the post-1950 suburban pattern. The higher density of intersections reduces trip distance and reduces use of the automobile. Interconnected streets provide many alternative routes if there is congestion. By contrast, in sprawl form traffic is funneled into a few highly loaded main intersections, with no alternative routes. These overloaded intersections become magnets for big box commercial development. Including turning lanes, these can become ten lanes wide, with 400% more traffic and 60% more pedestrian fatalities. Engineers tell you that there is absolutely no choice but to have these. And within the constraints of the problem, they are right. It’s a condition of having a not-interconnected system. A higher density of intersections reduces trip distance and reduces use of the automobile.

So what’s makes transit so efficient in Vancouver?  by Jarrett Walker & Associates

  1. It’s a grid, …
  2. … with an ideal spacing between arterials, about 800-100m, and
  3. it’s big destinations (what planners call anchors) are at the edges, not in the middle.
Vancouver Transit City Click to enlarge

Vancouver Transit City
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Grid pattern of arterial streets covers almost all of Vancouver. Most of the time, parallel major streets are spaced about every 800-1000m apart, and since a comfortable walking distance is about half that, this spacing is perfect for efficient transit. But what’s really great about Vancouver from a transit perspective is the position of its major destinations.  They’re positioned in a way that solves another transit planning problem: anchoring. If a transit line is operating through an area of uniform density, about 50% of its capacity goes to waste. That’s because the vehicle will leave the end of the line empty, fill only gradually with passengers, and reach its maximum load at the midpoint of the line.  After that, more people get off than get on, and as you near the far end of the line, the vehicle is nearly empty again.  If you plot the load of the vehicle against the position on the line, you get a bell curve:  zero at the ends of the line, and at its maximum level right in the middle.  If you scale your capacity to the maximum level, you end up with a lot of wasted capacity near the ends of the line, and no way to make use of that capacity.

Above excerpt from Jarrett Walker & Associate’s website

Patrick Condon University  British Columbia Click to enlarge

Professor Condon University
of British Columbia
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Street Car For Doncaster? Click to enlarge

Street Car For Doncaster?
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  1. Mary D. says:

    Ten years ago Patrick Condon was a guest of the Melbourne 20/30 planning authority, as it was known then. I believe he was invited to address the executive of the Manningham planning arm but was unable to attend due to his tight schedule. Just as well because he would have fainted had he seen the Doncaster Hill development program.
    Maybe he was forewarned or perhaps he had already seen the blueprint.
    Mary D.

  2. Whittens says:

    Back around 2001-2, Manningham was under pressure from the government 20/30 planning authority, apartment developers and Westfield shopping town, to quickly finalise their plans for their massive Doncaster Activity Centre. Westfield, understandably, wanted it completed to be assured they would have the increased purchaser catchment before proceeding with the huge extension to their shopping complex, while state government, about to go to election, wanted to include Doncaster Hill, the first strategy submitted under their Activity Centre program, in their campaign. The process was so rushed that Manningham had neglected to secure any government undertaking on infrastructure, especially additional public transport, such as Tram and Train, before the strategy was released to the public.

  3. Julianne Bell says:

    MELBURNIANS continue to complain about traffic congestion but not everyone comprehends the cause, namely, our rapid population increase. As it increases, so do numbers of cars on roads.
    The number of passenger vehicles in greater Melbourne increased from 2,548,980 in 2012 to 2,653,620 in 2014. Yet road space in inner and middle suburbs has not expanded since horse-and-buggy days.
    Increased car ownership and worsening traffic congestion appear here to stay. Urgent discussion is needed on what constitutes a sustainable population for Melbourne and just how many more immigrants we can accommodate before it becomes totally unliveable.

  4. Rod says:

    I remember what an ex officer from VicRoads said about the Doncaster Hill strategy proposal back in 2004. He said, “I don’t know how they are going to access these developments on the main roads because there is no dunny run behind them”. He was referring to the interconnected street grids throughout inner Melbourne which enabled the night cart to access at the rear of houses via long parallel lanes behind them, before these areas were connected to the sewer.

  5. Francis says:

    As the car helped to build the suburbs, people retired to hidden courts and cul-de-sacs to escape the car.

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