Bunda Street – A Wicked Problem

by The Editor

Bunda Street

Regular readers will be more than aware of our carefully thought through and eloquently explained opinion of the current state of Bunda Street.  In summary: not much.

With the focus of the city having been moved several years ago from the pedestrian-friendly Garema Place, an opportunity was lost to turn Bunda Street into an easily accessible service lane to supply a vibrant pedestrian mall.  Sadly, ACTPLA passed up on this opportunity, and we are stuck with a constantly gridlocked semi-carpark, dotted with overused zebra crossings while diners sit only metres away enjoying their lattes with the fumes of long-idling cars.

Brilliant.  So what next?

Well, a new design competition has been launched to see what can be done with this mess – at least until QIC bulldozes the southern side of the street for more of the Canberra Centre to fill with chain stores.  There are three concepts on the table, and they are open for comment via the ACT Government’s ‘Time to Talk‘ website until 4 March 2013.  The the brief considers a cycleway the key element – which to us sounds a little late in the day considering the congestion and change of focus since expansion of The Canberra Centre.

Here are our quick thoughts on the matter.  Be sure to make your voice count and help add some form of redemption to poor old Bunda Street.

1.  GTA Consultants: The Bunda Street shareway

GTA Proposal Image

Mercifully, this proposal calls for the closing of Bunda Street to traffic on weekends and during festivals, and imposes a 10km/h speed limit at other times. The gorgeous idea of including graphics on the road surface – reflected in the footpath – redefines the meaning of street.  If we’re going to concede Bunda Street as the epicentre of Civic, well, this seems just about the best option.

2.  Spackman Mossop and Michaels: The separated cycleway

SMM Proposal Image

Spackman, Mossop and Michaels have conceived one way traffic with a separate cycleway.  In this proposal, the speed limit is 40km/hr – a speed not achieved in daylight hours on the strip since about 1995.  This option feels more tied to traffic flow than community spirit, therefore straddling the fence somewhat as to what Bunda Sreet should actually be.

3. Tract: Bunda Street shared space

Tract Proposal Image copy

Seemingly conceived in the taxi on the way to a meeting with ACTPLA, this option is as close to the status-quo as possible – however includes the bizarre ‘highlight’ of increasing the parking spaces by ‘four’.  For us, the removal of all A-frame signs from the Bunda Street pedestrian area should be encouraged, spread city-wide and – if ignored – punishable by death.  Worth the price of a cab ride on its own.

As mentioned, this is just a smattering of our thoughts on the matter.  Again, make sure you make your opinion known, and let’s try to salvage what we can from the ashes of our city centre.