CoM launches two projects aimed at enhancing the CBD

Two of City of Melbourne's key urban design initiatives are in the starters gates, with Lord Major Robert Doyle yesterday providing further information on the pair.

As of next month, the long-awaited upgrade to the southern end of Elizabeth Street will begin. Previously outlined on Urban Melbourne during its infancy, the project will seek to transform the area into "a more functional, safe and attractive gateway for the thousands of pedestrians who use it every day,"

Having 9,300 per hour cycle through the bottom end of Elizabeth Street during peak times, the $2.2 million upgrade will include removing auto traffic southbound between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street by October this year. In turn pedestrian space will be more than doubled.

Five key components constitute the Elizabeth Street upgrade:

  • Southbound traffic lane removed
  • New pedestrian area
  • Tram stop stays
  • Western footpath upgraded
  • Northbound traffic lane stays.

The Elizabeth Street upgrade joins projects such as the West Melbourne parks expansion project and Southbank Boulevard's pending transformation in consuming sections of the existing road network in order to create greener, pedestrian friendly outcomes.

The potential for green roofs in the CBD. Image: CoM

Greener outcomes are also what City of Melbourne has in mind with yesterday's announcement that Council will allocate $1.2 million from its new Urban Forest Fund in order to encourage the greening of the city.

Under the plan, "City of Melbourne will partner with philanthropists, property developers, community groups and other Government organisations on greening projects. The initiatives could include planting trees, creating parks, green walls, roofs and facades and storm water projects."

The image above is what City of Melbourne hopes to be the eventual outcome of the scheme, highlighting the 236 hectares of intensive (heavy) green roofs and 328 hectares of extensive (lightweight) green roofs earmarked as capable of being receiving the green treatment.

In order to facilitate the transition to a greener CBD and surrounds, City of Melbourne have what is thought to be a world first online tool which maps all the rooftops which have the potential to be turned into solar, cool or green roofs. 


Aussie Steve's picture

The way the City of Melbourne has purchased land and closed wide streets to create pocket parks is to be commended. It is a great way to create some much needed open space in our ever crowded inner city suburbs. And the plans for Elizabeth Street south are great, although I would have preferred the full closure of the street between Flinders Street and Lane i.e. no northbound traffic.

theboynoodle's picture

Is Northbound traffic necessary to maintain reasonable access to Flinders Lane? It would be nice to think that extending pedestrianization is a mid-term objective for Elizabeth street (all the way to Lonsdale, maybe?) but I guess that will have knock-on effects on office workers etc.

Adam Ford's picture

Native trees is a thumbs up.

But one side of half of one block is half arsed.
No reason not to do the lot.
Like zees ...

George D's picture

Did City of Melbourne give any reason for the Northbound traffic lane staying, other than to allow rat-running, people circling around the block, and delivery and construction truck movements during the middle of the day?

Adam, they've said that they won't touch the rest of the street until the Queen Vic Market upgrade happens.

johnproctor's picture

the main reason Elizabeth Street is staying open Northbound is because if it was closed to access Flinders Lane (or Collins Street) west of Elizabeth you would have to drive all the way up to Russell Street then down the length of the CBD.

So you can either have cars driving 1km on CBD Streets or 100m. To protect that other 900m the CoM have decided to maintain 300m2 of space on Elizabeth Street for cars.

Its not about prioritising cars its about minimising impacts to pedestrians on other stretches of road.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who would advocate banning cars on Flinders Lane between Swanston and Elizabeth... Leaving that bit of Elizabeth open makes that vaguely possible as a future scenario.

johnproctor's picture

you also have to remember that people who live and own shops in the city are people too. Many along Flinders Lane have been there for 20+ years and own cars. CoM have an obligation to their ratepayers if your local Council told you they were going to block traffic on a street and make you take a 1km detour (remembering 1km in the CBD might be 15-20 minutes) to get to your house/business with associated time or financial costs you'd be justifiably pissed.

I think its a pretty reasonable balance here between reducing overall VKT in the city, maintaining local access, while still providing 500m2 of additional space for pedestrians.

George D's picture

John, everyone who shops in the inner city has to walk. Everyone. Whether they arrive by car, bus, cycle, tram, train, or on foot, they all have to walk from where their mode dropped them to where they want to be.

This isn't Wangaratta, and you can't park right outside your business.

There's a case for making parking buildings accessible but shutting the minor thoroughfares to all but delivery vehicles. But the percentage of people arriving by motor vehicle continues to shrink. As the number of people who live in the city, cycle, arrive by tram and train all keep booming, it will become even more evident.

Adam Ford's picture

That's a pretty situation specific scenario for a very small set of stakeholders, such that if that IS the reasoning behind not closing anything northbound, then it shouldn't be.

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