Dickson Precinct Community Group

Newsletter No 1 - October 1998

ISSN 1328-6404 (electronic edition)


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:

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 Carparks

Traffic 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)


Pedestrian Crossings

Additional pedestrian crossings or traffic islands are proposed at the following locations where there are heavy pedestrian movements.

  • Challis Street adjacent to the Telstra building and laneway to Woolley Street;
  • Challis Street at the cycle path crossing (crossing recently reconstructed);
  • Badham Street midway between Woolley Street and Dickson Place.
  • 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.

    Disability Access

    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:

  • Additional disabled bays should be installed in parking zones;
  • Footpaths and pavements present numerous problems including uneven surfaces and surface level changes, presence of obstacles, cars overhanging the footpaths, footpath discontinuity and gravel path untrafficable by wheelchairs. Modifications to kerb ramps are also a necessity;
  • Exposed tree roots and log barriers provide uneven surfaces and trip hazards for the visually impaired and need to be identified as well as obstructions such as Outdoor Cafe furniture (tables, chairs & umbrellas) should have clear boundaries detectable to the visually impaired;
  • Street furniture such as advertising boards and other obstructions need to be clear of designated continuous pathways. Seats need to contain distinctive colours, arm rests, back support and adequate seating levels; and
  • Rubbish bins should be full height with distinctive colours. Bike racks are of poor colour distinction, and numbers of poles such as light and street signs should be reduced wherever possible to allow for clear pathways to major locations within the centre.
  • 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)

    Landscape Proposals

    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.


    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 (Issue)

    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:

    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 (Issue)

    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.

    What Next?

    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:

    Precinct Management
    Canberra Urban Parks & Places
    Department of Urban Services
    PO Box 352

    Comments can also be e-mailed to: wayne_stonham@dpa.act.gov.au

    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:

  • Brass Bands
  • An ‘Artists Walk’ and Artisans’ exhibition of work
  • Street Theatre
  • Story Telling Tent
  • Police Van / Car / Bike, Fire Engine and Ambulance
  • Balloon Modelling / Face Painting from Gecko Gang
  • Wine Tasting
  • Sausage Sizzle and the Chocolate Wheel
  • 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
    October 1998

    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.
    See also:

  • Community Consultation and Cultural Profile Report, April 1998 (tabled at the DPCG meeting 4 May 1998)
  • DPCG Home Page

    Comments and corrections to Tom Worthington, Australian Computer Society.

    Note: This information is no longer being updated but has been retained for reference.