Grand Drive Safety Improvement Project
Centennial Parklands receives more than 11 million visits every year - and this number is growing rapidly. There are a wide range of user groups and activities that occur in the Parklands every day, and this requires our careful planning and management to enable as many of these activities to occur in a safe and harmonious environment.
From time-to-time some activities require regulation to protect our valuable environment and heritage assets, and the safety of park visitors (for example, prohibiting the lighting of fires or vehicles travelling off-road). Other activities may be legitimate in their own right, but can cause serious issues when they come into close proximity (for example, the combination of dogs and horses which can lead to a range of safety risks to animals and humans).
One of our key areas of visitor safety concern at Centennial Parklands is the management of traffic flows in Centennial Park, and in particular the convergence of motor vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and other park users on Grand Drive.
Grand Drive Safety Improvement Project
Grand Drive is the main loop road around Centennial Park. It is a one-way roadway that is (in reality) five parallel traffic lanes - a cycle lane, a vehicle lane, car parking lane, a horse track and a pedestrian footpath. At peak periods Grand Drive can become congested and requires proactive management to regulate and control traffic flows. Safety and access are key to Grand Drive being an effective and efficient carriageway for park visitors.
Our visitor safety analysis has provided data on key blackspots in the Parklands for incidents that occur variously between motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, equestrian riders and other park users.
Our incidents are defined as:
- "High Level" - incidents resulting in death or severe injury
- "Medium Level" - incidents resulting in injury with possible hospitalisation and/or emergency sevices treatment on-site
- "Low Level" - incidents that may require first aid treatment on-site, a 'near miss' or complaint
Since 2004 we have witnessed all levels of incident, increasing over time.
The following diagram shows the general locations of incident blackspots in Centennial Park:
These blackspots are listed in order of safety priority and incident frequency as follows:
- Along the Children's Learners Cycleway
- Between Govett St Gates and Randwick Gates
- Robertson Road Gates at Grand Drive intersection
- Intersection of Parkes Drive and Hamilton Drive with Grand Drive
From our research and anaysis, the area of greatest concern is the Children's Learners Cycleway. This area is a highly popular area for young families and picnic groups, serviced by free public barbecues, a playground and the ever-popular children's Learners Cycleway. There is, throughout the average week, the greatest concentration of young children in this zone.
We will be concentrating on this area as a priority this year, reviewing other areas in a staged approach in the near future.
The Grand Drive safety improvement project
We are committed to undertake an improvement project at the Learners Cycleway area with a focus on ensuring children's safety.
We invite comments on elements of the project to ensure that the most appropriate solutions will be implemented in Centennial Park.
Key safety concerns to address
The following are a list of key safety concerns that we aim to address through a safety improvement program:
- Grand Drive between Randwick Gates and the Children's Learners Cycleway is downhill, resulting in motorists and cyclists often building up speed through this zone;
- Pedestrians crossing Grand Drive often report poor visibility spotting cyclists coming around the corner between Randwick Gates and the Children's Learners Cycleway - this issue exacerbates when speed is involved;
- Large groups of cyclists are often observed and monitored around Grand Drive that - at speed - increase the physical risk to safety of both other park visitors and the cyclists themselves;
- Car parking is on the inner side of Grand Drive while the Children's Learners Cycleway is on the outside. This leads to families parking their vehicles, unloading their supplies and equipment and then crossing Grand Drive across two lanes of traffic (vehicle lane and cycle lane); and
- As a consequence of the preceding point, some motorists have been observed parking in the cycle lane to unload their vehicles causing a safety risk to cyclists and the motorist themselves.
In recent years we have undertaken a range of consultation programs with cycling stakeholder groups, established a Cycling Liaison Group, operated vehicle safety enforcement programs - and yet the safety risks remain and the incidents have increased, not decreased, over time.
The safety of children, pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and all park visitors is paramount. Safety is not negotiable.
Traffic management consultants have provided independent expertise and advice on solutions. From this we have developed a concept plan to target this high visitation and high safety risk zone of Grand Drive adjacent to the children's Learners Cycleway.
Proposed scope of works include:
- Implementation of a new reduced speed zone (20 km/h)
- Installation of improved safety signage and speed limit notification signage
- Painted cross-hatching along the length of the roadway to indicate this special safety zone
- Rear-to-kerb parking
- Installation of two cycle-friendly asphalt speed humps
- Installation of one or two high visibility pedestrian crossings
Download the concept plan here (PDF, 156 kb).
The following style of cycle-friendly asphalt speed humps have been proposed for Grand Drive:
While this style is aimed at reinforcing the maximum 20 km/h speed zone for all vehicles, they will be designed with cyclist safety in mind. A further consideration will be that of impact upon other road users, such as rollerbladers.
Consultation process to date
We have undertaken a range of consultation meetings to date, including with the following groups/organisations:
- NSW Government
- Centennial Parklands Community Consultative Committee
- City of Sydney Council
- Bicycle NSW
- Cycling NSW
...as well as representatives from local cycling clubs and community groups. Many of these groups are currently distributing information on this project to their members or stakeholders for comment.
Any interested individual was also encouraged to make a submission to the Parklands in regard to the safety of Grand Drive Safety Improvement project and the management of traffic-related safety risks as a whole in the Parklands. Submissions were open for a number of weeks and closed on 13 April 2012.
Feedback received is being considered by the project implementation team in scoping, designing and implementing the project.
If you would like to know more about this project as it progresses, sign up to our eNewsletters or keep an eye on this website for project updates.
Project process and statistical information
In response to queries about the process that has led to the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust seeking to improve safety on Grand Drive, the Trust has put together information on this topic for interested members of the community.
This information includes salient incident statistics and can be viewed on a Grand Drive Safety Improvement Project process and statistical information webpage.
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