Dickson Precinct Community Group
Newsletter No 1 - October 1998
ISSN 1328-6404 (electronic edition)
- Traffic Management (Issue)
- Pedestrian Management (Issue)
- Public Spaces (Issue)
- Services and Amenities (Issue)
- Lighting (Issue)
- People Places (Issue)
- Artworks (Issue)
- What Next?
- Dickson Festival (21 November)
This newsletter has been published to keep you informed about the refurbishment project for the upgrade of public places in and around the Dickson Shopping Centre, and the activities of the Dickson Precinct Community Group (PCG).
A draft master plan has been drawn up by the PCG in consultation with Totalcare as Project Manager, Maunsell McIntyre Consulting Engineers, Dorrough Britz & Associates, the ACT Government’s designers for this project, and Conroy Cultural Planning.
The Dickson PCG committee has identified inadequacies of public places within the Shopping Centre Precinct. The plans incorporate community comments obtained from a survey and public consultation that involved residents, traders and local organisations in and around the suburb of Dickson and shopping centre complex.
Two large, colour versions of this plan will be on display in the windows of Woolworths and the Dickson Library from 21 October until 20 November 1998.
The ACT Government under the Precinct Management program have identified $484,000 for Stage 1 to upgrade Dickson shopping centre’s public places. The refurbishment project construction phase is scheduled to commence in mid 1999.
The focus of the Dickson upgrade will be on:
- improving traffic circulation and parking;
- improving pedestrian access, safety and movement throughout the centre including disability access;
- improving landscaping, paving, public seating, waste management and signage;
- relocating public toilets to a more central area;
- upgrading lighting systems throughout the shopping centre to provide a safer community environment;
- creating a key focal point/gathering place in the courtyard outside the Library; and
- the inclusion of community focused public art as a feature of the refurbishment.
These are the main issues and proposals.
Traffic Management (Issue)
Traffic circulation is one of the key issues at the centre. Vehicles travel at speeds which are perceived to be too excessive for the road network. The layout of the carparks and access roads provides much conflict between vehicles and pedestrians. Turning areas are too narrow in some places and parking areas are often too congested.
Proposals for CarparksTraffic studies have revealed that the majority of shoppers in the Northern Carpark near Woolworths stay less than 30 minutes. This results in significant activity and congestion in the carpark. As shoppers desire the closest park to the centre, congestion and traffic volume is particularly high towards the south east corner which is the main access point to the centre. Vehicular and pedestrian conflict is particularly prominent in this location. A one way angle parking system is proposed which will streamline traffic flow within the carpark. Raised pedestrian pathways are proposed along the southern (Woolworths) perimeter to assist pedestrian movement within the carpark. This arrangement would reduce the number of parking spaces from 246 spaces to 201 spaces. While there would be more spaces if right angled parking was maintained, this would affect plans for easier traffic flow.
Access to the Southern Carpark near the Tradies Club is via multiple entrances along Dickson Place. Dickson Place acts as a through route between Cowper Street and Antill Street, providing access to loading docks for the central shopping area and access to the carpark. Traffic volume is high on this road and loading of vehicles causes much congestion. Dickson Place was generally considered unsatisfactory for pedestrians and servicing of the shopping centre. It is proposed to provide an entrance to the carpark off Badham Street and reorientate the parking aisles.
This provides approximately 20 additional parking spaces and reduces traffic volumes and congestion on Dickson Place which pedestrians must cross. A raised pedestrian walkway is proposed through the centre of the carpark which would provide a clearly defined path that connects the carpark to the laneway to improve pedestrian access to the shopping centre. Pedestrian crossings across Dickson Place are proposed in alignment with the laneways. Removal of the pedestrian refuges and replacement with kerb protuberances will provide for improved manoeuvrability within Dickson Place for commercial vehicles.
The current orientation of the Eastern Carpark near the Library is good for pedestrian movements. However, the southern end of the carpark protrudes into the central shopping area, breaking the desired link between the library, the toilets, bus stop and pedestrian crossing on Cowper Street. To improve the connectivity of the area and provide much wanted public open space, it is proposed to cut back the carpark at the southern end and provide right angle parking along the southern perimeter. This would result in the loss of approximately 12 spaces. Pedestrian thresholds are also proposed between the Library and the Health Centre, the Church and Dickson Professional Offices on the northern circulation road to provide connectivity between the areas and reduce traffic speeds.
It has been proposed by the Ainslie/Dickson Traffic Study to convert the cycle path signals to full intersection traffic signals in order to reduce confusion and to also reduce traffic congestion within Dickson Place. This will allow a signalised pedestrian crossing of Dickson Place.
It is felt that the reduction in car parks will not adversely affect parking at Dickson.
Right Turn Facility: Antill Street
The congestion at the entry from Antill Street to Badham Street could be alleviated by a signalised median opening midway between Badham and Cowper Streets. The present level of congestion at the Badham Street intersection may decrease due to lower traffic volume expected as a result of the opening of the Gungahlin Town Centre.
It was therefore recommended that any decision to open the median be deferred until traffic patterns stabilise to allow accurate monitoring of traffic flows.
Pedestrian Management (Issue)
Additional pedestrian crossings or traffic islands are proposed at the following locations where there are heavy pedestrian movements.
The existing crossing on Cowper Street adjacent to the bus stop is to be replaced by a raised road hump or wombat crossing as proposed in the Ainslie/Dickson Traffic Study. The road hump will assist in reducing travel speeds at the crossing and will provide better connection between the shopping centre and the swimming pool.
A disability access audit undertaken by Kerris Delaney identified some areas which made good provision for the disabled as well as numerous deficiencies which are summarised below:
As part of the master plan detail, all items listed above will need to be addressed, improved and modified to enhance disability access to and from the shops.
Public Spaces (Issue)
The landscape proposals aim to build on the existing landscape features of the area and to achieve a theme which will help connect the various parts of the shopping centre. The items listed below outline the proposed strategy to achieve this.
- Substantial upgrade of the landscape to the edge of the main shopping centre facing onto Antill Street between Badham Street and Cowper Street. This would include a major artwork/entrance installation at the intersection of Antill Street and Badham Street to announce the presence of and entry to Dickson Shopping Centre.
- Upgrade edge to the Library via new pavements and addition of tree planting.
- Remove existing shrub planting on the verge in front of Tradesman’s Club along Badham Street edge to improve pedestrian / cycle movements.
- Redesign of existing landscape area along Cowper Street frontage in the vicinity of the bus stop to improve appearance and pedestrian flow.
- Introduce street tree planting to Dickson Place where possible keeping in mind the heavy usage by delivery vehicles. Additional street tree planting to the median and southern side of Antill Street to strengthen its visual quality. To achieve this the current overhead powerlines would need to be placed underground.
Improve signage to identify and direct entry into Dickson Shopping Centre Precinct in the vicinity of the shops and on Northbourne Avenue, the main arterial road. An opportunity exists to install descriptive signage within the environs of the shopping centre with unique design features to enhance the character of the shops.
Garbage and Recycling
There may be a need to resite litter bins in keeping with any new furniture locations. Consideration needs to be given to the placement of charity bins to maximise use, and to the relocation of large commercial waste hoppers which are restricting pedestrian and vehicle access in public places.
Services and Amenities (Issue)
Bus Shelter and Toilet Block Proposals
Integral with opening up a spine and central public space between the library and the swimming pool is the proposed demolition of the combined bus station and toilet block. A smaller shelter is proposed at the same location with a toilet and change facility for exclusive use of bus drivers. New public toilets would be located closer to the shopping area, with a preferred site adjacent to the post office. "Exeloo" type installation is recommended.
For those of you who may not know about Exeloo’s, they are self cleaning, unisex toilets with a cubicle consisting of a toilet, handbasin and baby’s change table. Each unit opens out into the public space and there is no area for people to congregate or loiter, reducing undesirable behaviour. Should you wish to inspect these new Exeloo’s, they can be seen in Bunda Street, Civic and Franklin Street in Manuka.
Lighting System Proposals
Preliminary review of the lighting in and around the Dickson Group Centre confirms that a number of areas do not meet the requirements of Category C2 of
AS 1158, the relevant standard for lighting in public areas. The AS 4282 standard is also relevant as it guides development in the vicinity of observatories.
Recommended street and pedestrian lighting works are:
- Installation of a new medium height lighting system in northern, southern and eastern carparks and associated roadways;
- Installation of an aesthetically high quality lighting system in central courtyard areas;
- Installation of wall mounted (or other) lighting in laneways off Dickson Place;
- Possible lighting of cycle path from Challis Street to Cowper Street.
Negotiations with building owners will be initiated to co-ordinate and modify shop front lighting to assist in lighting central shopping area.
People Places (Issue)
The courtyard area located outside the Dickson Library was identified as a place for gathering of events. An upgraded pedestrian thoroughfare through to Cowper Street would provide a strong focal point while improving the appearance of this area, making it safer, brighter and more appealing to shoppers, traders and visitors alike.
Artworks and Performance Area Proposal
The inclusion of public art will be a feature of the Dickson public place refurbishment project. Key sites and ideas for public and community artworks were identified in the cultural mapping exercise undertaken by the Cultural Planner, Susan Conroy.
The following public art possibilities were suggested for inclusion in the Dickson shops upgrade.
- An entry feature on the corner of Antill and Badham Streets with a vertical element of sculptural forms containing movement and colour integrated with soft landscape treatments.
- A major pavement feature (which can be abstract or realistic) which maps elements of the Dickson community and environs, with pavement motifs providing a visual cue and recurring theme throughout the shopping centre.
- An informal child’s play area within the environs of the shopping centre, containing sculptural forms which encourage play and enjoyment.
- Ceramic wood and/or metal images (that can be realistic or abstract) in the designs for the new tree surrounds located in the shopping centre. This style of artwork could be undertaken as a community project where artists works with a variety of groups to develop images.
- Functional items of street furniture such as seating, signage, bubblers and grates designed to contain distinctive artistic elements;
- Decorative wall treatments that can be permanent or temporary with images which are realistic or abstract. Walls for this style of artwork could be rendered, painted, mosaic or sculptured.
We are very fortunate to have the ACT Minister for Urban Services, Brendan Smyth launch this draft concept master plan at 12.30 pm on Wednesday,
21 October 1998 and you are cordially invited to attend.
The Dickson Precinct Community Group would be interested in your views on the proposals, and for this purpose a "Comments" form is included. The group will consider ideas from the community and, where practicable, incorporate into the final master plan.
A reduced size plan which gives details of the proposals accompanies this Newsletter. (not available in on-line edition)
The PCG has been meeting regularly to look at ways to further improve Dickson Shopping Centre. The meetings are held:
First Monday of the Month at 7.30 pm
Please contact Wayne Stonham on 6207 6046 who will put you in contact with the Chairperson of the Dickson PCG if you would like more information about these meetings or if you would like to attend
Where to return the "Comments" form:
For your convenience, three comments boxes have been placed at the Dickson shops to enable you to easily return the form. They are located at the Dickson Library, Woolworths Supermarket and the Post Office. Please return your comments by Friday,
20 November 1998.
Our postal address is:
Canberra Urban Parks & Places
Department of Urban Services
PO Box 352
CIVIC SQUARE ACT 2608
Comments can also be e-mailed to: email@example.com
Dickson Festival (21 November)
The Dickson Traders Association have been planning for many weeks a "Dickson Festival" that will feature various events spread throughout the Dickson Shopping Centre precinct. Some of the events that will feature are:
Please come along and enjoy the festivities sponsored by North Canberra Rotary Club and the
Dickson Traders commencing at 10.00 am on Saturday, 21 November 1998.
Chair, Tom Worthington
Dickson Precinct Community Group
This newsletter is available at the Precinct Group's notice board in the Dickson Library and can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.tomw.net.au/dpcg/ Distribution of the Group's newsletter on the Internet is courtesy of the Australian Computer Society.