Daniel’s theory of paving: The better it looks, the slipperier it is.

I reckon the better a paving surface looks, the slipperier it is, particularly in the wet.

Asphalt: ugly, but grips well, even in the wet.

Tiles (as platforms at Flinders Street station have been converted to, but thankfully not ramps) and blue-stone (increasingly common on CBD streets) look nicer, but are more slippery.

And some types of tactiles (bumps, for the vision-impaired) often aren’t that great in terms of grip either.

Flinders Street station ramp

Agree? Disagree? Is it my shoes?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “Daniel’s theory of paving: The better it looks, the slipperier it is.”

I’ve never had a problem with tactiles. And I really don’t think the tiles at Flinders are at all good-looking; I’d rather even asphalt! (well, asphalt that doesn’t have chewing gum all over it.)

So I disagree!

Actually, I really hate the tiles at Flinders. They’re horrible. How can you possible suggest otherwise? (Careful, you’re getting me started.)

Doesn’t have to be slippery for people to fall over. Have people stopped falling down the escalators at Southern Cross or is it just not being reported as much?

I remember one local council putting in a whole load of brick pavers and having to blast them with ball bearings as they glaze was too slippery and people were falling over.

well the only time I ever fell on the track was when I tripped over the blue plastic knobbly thing which was loose.

I agree with you, Daniel, that the paving tiles that are being used in the CBD are lethal when wet. They are too smooth. If you look at the pavers that are used in most European cities, they have a slightly cleft surface that gives some grip when wet

Daniel you’ve raise one of my pet issues! In certain types of shoes and in the wet those tactile bumps for the vision impared are deadly. Some of the shared bike paths in the suburbs also have them and they’re equally deadly for cyclists. I’ve slipped on them in the city, at Flinders Street and on cycling paths. Fortunately I’ve not injured myself other than pride, but I’ve seen others not so lucky. Oddly, I think the metal ones are slightly less slippery than the plastic ones. It amazes me that they’re so prevalent given the negative impact to so many people (including the vision impared).

P.S. The whole of Flinder street needs a revamp – it’s look and function, compared with Spencer and North Melbourne, is terrible.

@Adrian – I agree, Flinders St has all the appeal and ambiance of a public toilet.

Another station which desperately needs some attention is Richmond. Absolute nightmare of a station, especially if there’s an event on in the precinct. The western Olympic Blvd entrance is far too narrow to handle any sort of crowd.

Fair comment. That said, I don’t think those bumps look good either! But they’re very uncomfortable and certainly dangerous.

I haven’t thought about the tiles much. Perhaps my choice in shoes gives me better grip.

Although I agree with everyone that has said Flinders Street tiles look bad. They look horrible, as does the Swanston Street concourse. Really a pity, the facade of the station is so beautiful, the Degraves Tunnel has so many beautiful deco features, the station is Australia’s busiest, and one of Melbourne’s best known land marks, yet every renovation the place has had in my lifetime at least has been botched by people that seem to have no regard for history, nor architecture.

The most recent complaint are the hideous reflective yellow and black signs warning people that they’re about to walk down a flight of steps. They are absurd. One step is worth warning people about, sometimes you can miss seeing a single step, a flight of steps however tend to be self evident. No need for a hideous safety sign.

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