‘Allocation of space’ refers to an analysis of how public space is allocated to different modes of transport. In Yarra, of the space between kerbs, the vast majority (90 – 98%) of the space is allocated to cars, for driving and parking. A minuscule minority is allocated to protected bicycle lanes or reserved for trams.
Example – Cremorne
The image below shows an ‘allocation of space’ analysis for Cremorne. The colour red indicates space for cars and car parking. There is no space allocated to cycling via protected bicycle lanes.
The problem with allocating all street space to driving is that our streets are now becoming gridlocked in peak hour. In Cremorne, Balmain Street and Cremorne Street can back up 200 metres each in peak hour, because Church Street and Swan Street are at a standstill. Our streets can no longer carry all the people & goods that need to travel in and out. This is affecting residents, commuters and businesses.
The solution is to allocate some space on key streets to more geometrically efficient modes such as walking and cycling, often by removing a lane of parking. If people feel safe, and can avoid congestion, then a good chunk of people will voluntarily change modes. This reduces the number of people driving, which speeds up traffic for those who need to drive. Overall, this makes our streets better for drivers.
Removing parking from key streets can also affect residents, commuters and businesses. The solution is to better manage the available parking space on residential streets. We can protect on-street parking for residents by greatly expanding permit-only zones. At the same time, we can retain parking for shoppers by converting the first 5-10 bays on each side street (adjacent to main shopping streets) to metered parking. To manage demand, the metered parking bays can use demand responsive pricing.
This “arrogance of space” analysis follows the method proposed by the Copenhagenize Design Company, and applied to analyse Paris, Copenhagen, and Barcelona.