Walkability

Story of a Dying Laneway

We must always retain our pedestrian thoroughfares because ...

  1. If we get bored or scared walking along one route, next time we can try another.
  2. With more pedestrian thoroughfares through our city we retain people's (the customer's) attention longer.
  3. This strengthens their bonds with our district because they are spending more time there and having more experiences.
  4. This prevents them from choosing another district, and
  5. This means our city will be sustainable.

This is Paddy Troy Lane in Fremantle.

It used to be that you could walk all the way through.  Legend has it that a falling out between the landlord and the local authority made the landlord say, 'Right, I'll show you' and erected a shop on their private land facing William Street and forever cutting off public access.

You're looking at the back of it here.

As a consequence, probably, the Newport Hotel (which is behind me in the photo) closed its rear entrance which took pedestrians all the way from the Town Hall clock in the distance, up the lane, through a rear passage of the hotel and out on to the Cappuccino Strip - one of Australia's best retail streets.

So now if you want to get from the city square and town hall clock to the best retail street in Australia you have to perambulate either left or right to find another opening in the city grid.

Yes, we know that the part of the laneway in the picture is on private property but local governments must step up and become better negotiators (and the state government must give them permission to do so).

Or else they should own their own buildings.

 

These Defects Make a Place Unique, But That's The Wrong Type Of Unique

Why are these lovers standing here?

They're stranded here.  The rain caught us all.

Once upon a time, the next building along was like its brothers and sisters on this street: Victorian architecture with an 'Australian-style' awning, as Jan Gehl puts it.

But it was demolished and replaced with something else.  Without an awning.

Now there is no contiguous pedestrian network.  This effectively strands us, which can sometimes be lovely and cosy, but really means that your precinct is less desirable for customers and new businesses.  It's 'functionality' is impaired.

Understandably, these 'so-called defects' also make a place unique.  But that's the wrong type of unique.

We want the 'unique' that's created by independent retailers and place management solutions which are locally distinct.

Heavy rainfall is a permanent deterrant for many who have alternative locations to consider.  These can be other streets in your district, other districts, or (no!) indoor shopping centres.

We limit our strolling distance because of these impediments.  This directly affects the quality of your community because businesses and economies are out of reach of people.

Profitable hours of operation are diminished per year, as is foot traffic.

A safe, comfortable and interesting pedestrian network is necessary.

Above: The Record Finder, 87 High Street West End, Fremantle, Australia