Many footpaths in Yarra are sloping, bumpy or uneven, caused by vehicle crossovers, in addition to being narrow or obstructed. This decreases the attractiveness of walking as a mode of transport, in contravention of several of Yarra’s adopted policies. Even worse, it makes our footpath network unsafe or unusable for many parents with prams, seniors, or people who use a cane or wheelchair.

Slope and bumps on a narrower footpath. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.
Slope and bumps on a wider footpath. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.
Person with pram avoiding footpath. Image credit: Troy Parsons.
Person on mobility scooter avoiding footpath. Image credit: Troy Parsons.

Problem

Council even acknowledges the problem in their Public Domain Design Manual, stating that vehicle crossings reduce pedestrian amenity:

Image credit: Yarra Public Domain Design Manual page 91

What Yarra has done

Yarra has worked to partially mitigate the problem by publishing a “Standard Concrete Vehicle Crossing” drawing YSD601, which requires two thirds of the footpath to be kept flat (with a minimum width of 1200 mm), before the grade changes to a steeper slope for the vehicle crossing.

Image credit: City of Yarra

Recently constructed crossovers comply with this standard drawing:

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

What Yarra can do better

Yarra can further improve all new crossovers by updating their standard drawing to reflect best practice design from the Netherlands, which uses standardised pre-cast ‘entrance blocks’ that can be sourced from a range of suppliers.

Netherlands standard entrance block. Image credit: struykverwoinfra.nl

The image below compares a typical UK (or Australian) vehicle crossing (on the left) with one from The Netherlands (on the right), which delivers a much more useable footpath.

UK (or AU) vehicle crossing compared with one in the Netherlands. Image credit: The Ranty Highwayman.
Example of standardised entrance blocks. Image credit: aggregate.com

Upgrading existing crossovers

Yarra can also begin a process to upgrade all existing non-compliant crossovers by 2030. This can be done as part of regular footpath maintenance. By upgrading many crossovers in one street at the same time, costs can be reduced. This action would form a core part of delivering an effective and useable footpath network in Yarra by 2030. If extra funding is required, Yarra can apply a ‘footpath levy’ to all properties with a crossover that does not comply with the standard drawing.

Conclusion

Yarra has too many sloping or bumpy footpaths that decrease the useability of our footpath network for people of all ages, including parents with prams, seniors, and people with disabilities. Yarra can solve this problem by requiring all new vehicle crossovers to comply with the Netherlands ‘entrance block’ standard, and by upgrading existing footpaths to the same standard when footpaths are renewed.

Other information on footpaths

Learn more from our collection of pages on footpaths: