3.2 People friendly public spaces | Brisbane City Council

3.2 People friendly public spaces

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Table of contents

1. Pedestrian mobility and transport

1.1 Walking, wheeling and driving safely around Brisbane

1.2 Catching public transport

2. Planning, development and infrastructure

2.1 Being actively engaged in planning an accessible city

2.2 Enjoying a well-designed built environment

2.3 Appreciating the benefits of civic infrastructure

3. Public buildings, venues and outdoor spaces

3.1 Public buildings that make you feel welcome

3.2 People friendly public spaces

3.3 Local meeting places where you can connect with your community

3.4 Parks and natural areas where you enjoy the great outdoors

4.Vibrant, informed and caring communities

4.1 Experiencing the support of inclusive, safe and diverse communities

4.2 Enjoying Brisbane's vibrant arts and culture scene

4.3 Staying active and healthy

4.4 Using libraries for lifelong learning

4.5 Adopting a more sustainable lifestyle

5. Your Council, working with you

5.1 Being an active citizen in an inclusive democracy

5.2 Having a say on the work we do that matters to you

5.3 Communicating and doing business with us

5.4 Understanding how local laws, rules and procedures relate to you

5.5 Keeping Brisbane clean, recycling waste and breathing clean air

5.6 Working in a disability confident organisation

5.7 Knowing your rates are paying for accessible services

Brisbane has many public spaces where people meet friends, browse markets, attend events, pause to appreciate performers, gather for public rallies or just move through as pedestrians on their way to other destinations.

Council owns and manages many of the public spaces in Brisbane and is responsible for their design, maintenance, refurbishment and ongoing use. They include King George Square, ANZAC Square, Queen Street Mall, Chinatown Mall, Brunswick Street Mall, Riverstage and Brisbane's cemeteries. In recent years, we have worked with the community to refresh and reuse different types of public space, bringing life to laneways and creating subtropical boulevards.

Many privately-owned property developments also feature areas with high levels of public pedestrian access, typically at ground level. Riverside Centre Plaza and Riparian Plaza in Eagle Street are good examples, providing access to the Brisbane River and the Riverwalk pedestrian pathway.

Where we are

Council has taken a proactive approach to access and inclusion in the public spaces for which we are responsible. Our efforts have to take into account challenges presented by Brisbane's hilly topography, subtropical climate and natural environment. Over the years, our approach has been to adopt design solutions that work with the terrain and not resort to engineered solutions that require extensive regrading and consequent impact on site character, vegetation and soils.

In 1989, refurbishments to the Queen Street Mall led to the installation of the first Braille trail in Australia. This has evolved into a growing network of tactile trails in the CBD that we are continuing to extend. One of the challenges with these trails is keeping them clear of obstacles and there have been instances of users bumping into people standing on a tactile trail or tripping on objects placed on or beside the trail. Council officers ask people who congregate on the trail to move off it and we continue to promote Braille trail safety.

We have also been careful with the placement of our street furniture and infrastructure including seating and bins, to enable people with low vision to use ‘shorelining' techniques to navigate the pedestrian environment along the front walls of buildings. However, many areas that appear to be public are actually private property and business owners can place hazards there that are beyond our control.

As part of the recent City Centre Masterplan, the new subtropical pedestrian boulevard that opened in late 2010 at the Eagle Street end of Queen Street demonstrates good practice in accessible design.

Where we want to be

We want all Brisbane residents and visitors to enjoy moving through and gathering in Brisbane's public spaces, appreciating our unique subtropical outdoors lifestyle in a variety of urban settings.

Our objectives

  1. Design and construct new public spaces and refurbishments to showcase the best in universal access and inclusion.
  2. Review public space design guidelines to provide for universal access and inclusion.
  3. Develop guidelines and systems to keep our public spaces free of hazards.

Existing actions that will continue

Queen Street Mall Braille trail

We will continue to maintain and extend the Braille trail in continuing dialogue with key user groups and promote awareness and safe use of the trail by the general public.

Public space network

We will continue to manage and upgrade our network of public spaces with accessibility as one of the key considerations.

Suburban Centre Improvement Projects

We will continue to upgrade suburban public spaces in local shopping areas across Brisbane with inclusive urban design including more accessible pedestrian infrastructure and facilities.

Public art

We will continue to commission public artworks that celebrate the diversity of the Brisbane community including themes of access and inclusion.

Riverstage wheelchair platform

In 2010, we installed a new platform area for patrons in wheelchairs attending concerts and events at Riverstage. This platform has greatly enhanced the viewing of the stage for these patrons and has improved access to toilets and other facilities at the Riverstage complex. We will continue to promote the availability of this new facility.

New initiatives or extensions

  1. Specification for temporary fencing. We recognise that some common forms of temporary fencing (e.g. chain mesh with protruding footings) can be difficult to see and can present tripping and entrapment hazards for people who use canes for wayfinding. We will work with relevant community and advocacy organisations to develop guidelines and specifications for these situations. We will investigate the potential to make these guidelines a condition of development through development assessment, a condition of hire for events at Council owned venues and enforceable under local laws.
  2. Review of public space design guidelines. We will review our public space design guidelines to ensure they provide for universal access and inclusion, and explore potential integration of universal access and inclusion into Brisbane Streetscape Design Guidelines or other appropriate planning documents.
  3. Guidelines for temporary blockage of tactile ground surface indicator (TGSI) trails. We recognise that temporary blockage of TGSI trails is sometimes unavoidable (e.g. when construction sites or events infrastructure encroaches within one metre either side of TGSIs). We will work with relevant community and advocacy organisations to develop guidelines for these situations.
  4. Protocol for maintaining the integrity of TGSI trails. Once installed, TGSIs are often compromised by subsequent construction or maintenance works. We will develop a new protocol to address responsibilities and mandates for the various authorities and providers carrying out maintenance and upgrade works where TGSI trails have been installed.
  5. Braille trail public awareness campaign. We will develop creative new materials and events to promote awareness and good trail protocol among the general public.
  6. Pathways at Mount Gravatt Cemetery. We will investigate the feasibility of installing concrete pathways that meet access standards in certain monumental areas at Mount Gravatt Cemetery.
  7. Calm, quiet, chill-out places in public space. We will investigate good practice to create safe public spaces which balance the need for surveillance (using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles) with the needs of people who experience sensory overload. We will trial portable design solutions, seek feedback on their suitability and effectiveness and incorporate what we learn into our event planning and urban design work.
  8. Drinking bowls for companion animals. Where appropriate we will install more animal drinking bowls on public water bubblers and taps in public space and, in particular, respond to requests from regular visitors to particular sites. We will add companion animal drinking bowls to our UMS Standard Drawings to be referenced in design, planning and development assessment materials. We will promote the location of these bowls on the Access Brisbane website, to partner organisations, and make their location available for digital mobile device applications.

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03 November 2014