RE: Barneson Boulevard
As you are aware the Australian Institute of Architects Northern Territory (AIANT) has been continually working towards a better outcome for the Darwin CBD especially in response to a reasonable access to the city. Currently Barneson Boulevard has had a lot of attention and although we have contributed to ‘have your say’ and other policy documents we have serious concerns about this going ahead in its current form.
Although we advocated that this proposal should be reviewed we have considered this and have come up with an alternative. Our recommendation is to terminate Barneson Boulevard at McMinn St which will activate the city, consider all users, vehicles, bikes and pedestrians as well as public transport opportunities. This would also ensure that current businesses in the city between McMinn and Cavanagh St remain viable through retaining the through traffic with the current feeder street network especially Woods St.
In consideration of the current plan we are recommending that Barneson Boulevard terminate at McMinn St (Map provided). McMinn St needs to be developed and duplicated which will ensure the current road system can link into the other feeder streets as well as into the other significant perimeter roads Bennett St and Daly St. The Traffic studies that were undertaken as part of this development actually support this recommendation with only a quarter of the traffic expected to access the CBD through that section of the road. Also as already highlighted a key problem of the design as Woods St which will be blocked by a cul-de-sac on one side and a no right turn lane on the other which means after McMinn St all traffic must terminate on Cavanagh St, again not allowing access to the remainder of the street network.
Another key benefit is that taking into account the termination at McMinns St this will generate a significant and desperately needed saving to the Northern Territory Government budget whilst still undertaking a significant infrastructure project. This is the best of both worlds and will support local businesses currently doing it tough in the construction area as well as a genuine change to the budget figures. We estimate that this approach could free up an additional $10 Million from the budget Bottomline. As mentioned this could provide a direct saving to the budget or can be repurposed to address the Power issues that were identified by Cyclone Marcus.
Cutting access to feeder streets from Woods St off Barneson Boulevard will significantly hurt local business already in this part of the CBD by dividing the section in half affecting their long term viability . Many businesses that rely on through and/or passing traffic especially of Woods St will be blocked and can potentially devastate the business and future business growth potential.
Furthermore, this will see increased traffic will have to be diverted which will mean increased traffic on Cavanagh St, which has a large school zone one way and a zebra crossing at the Post Office, as there is no longer any flow through on Woods St.
Terminating Barneson on Cavanagh St is also problematic due to the streets networks here especially if moving to a current parking structure. Right turning traffic will have three street options, Whitfield St, Lindsay St and McLachlan St. Whitfield street runs behind Woolies and is often blocked by trucks unloading in their bays and Lindsay St and McLachlan St’s are both school zones. The Left turn options are Searcy St and Edmunds St and turning right at the end of here on Smith St is difficult due to traffic management of Smith St Mall - Knuckey St intersection.
Another significant issue is the removal of the green space and the significant trees (https://planinc.org.au/news/current-campaigns/206-frog-hollow-significant-trees.html) at Frogs Hollow Park. Not only is the destruction of a Heritage Precinct this will this remove a large green space area in the CBD and will create a split-level road which means connection from one side of this site to the other is seriously limited and a potential safety hazard. Currently there is green space on the outskirts of the CBD only and creating an extra road and heat sink going into the city will actually close off the opportunity to cool the city and make it a walkable space.
As you can see we have addressed some issues and potential benefits to the Government in looking to terminate on McMinn St. Attached is a list of these for you to consider and clarify the reason for our position.
What are our next steps? We want to work with Government for the best outcome and I am happy to be part of a team to do this. The AIANT membership feel very strongly about this and would like a positive outcome taking into account the highlighted issues.
Thank you for your consideration.
Inc: Barneson Map McMinn St termination
Raquel Nicholls-Skene B.Bus B.Arts GCert Bus
Executive Director Northern Territory
Australian Institute of Architects
3/4 Shepherd Street, Darwin
GPO Box 1017 Darwin N.T 0800
d: (08) 7969 6001 m: +61 (0) 403 023 425
Recommendations for the termination of Barneson Boulevard at McMinn St
- Could give significant saving into the NT budget
- These saving could be diverted to the underground power project
- Activates McMinn St as a perimeter road
- Will have an additional link from the CBD with Suburbia
- Keep the green space in the CBD which cools the city
- Cycle path improvement around CBD
- Pedestrian path improvement around the CBD
- Activated traffic flow network from perimeter roads McMinn St, Bennett St the Esplanade and Daly St
- Can develop a parking hub on McMinn and activate public transport networks around the CBD
- Allow for traffic flow through the current CBD network
- Support local businesses and ensure business viability between McMinn and Cavanagh street to remain in business and thrive
- Minimise traffic congestion around a school zone on Cavanagh St and on the Zebra cross at the post office.
- Provides an opportunity to open the green network at Frog’s Hollow and program the space for the community
- Can be seen that the NT government is listening to community concerns around this development
Serious concerns raised on Barneson Blvd as the current proposal
- Cost – given the recent cyclone some of the infrastructure spend can go into future proofing for power. Cyclone Marcus highlighted key infrastructure failings and using some of this spend could address some urgent current issues
- Ongoing business concerns about profitability and continuation of businesses which will be cut off
- Bottle neck between McMinn St and Cavanagh St especially with Woods St being blocked for incoming traffic by a cul-de-sac on one side and a no right turn lane on the other
- Traffic flow issues in Cavanagh St - Termination on Cavanagh St - Whitfield street runs behind Woolies and is often blocked by trucks unloading in their bays and Lindsay St and McLachlan St’s are both school zones. The Left turn options are Searcy St and Edmunds St and turning right at the end of here on Smith St is difficult due to traffic management of Smith St Mall - Knuckey St intersection.
- Traffic flow not relevant for current flow as this is to mitigate for 20 years especially as our population is declining
- Contaminated land potential in Frog Hollow
- Closes Wood St to traffic flow
- Creates a larger heat sink in the CBD