For over a decade City Road has been the beachhead for rapid urban change in the City of Melbourne and over the same time the area has garnered a negative reputation for being an austere pedestrian environment and traffic sewer. Many might even call it a dull urban area.
Despite Citylink now taking the lion's share of vehicular traffic crossing from the metropolitan area from East to West and vice versa, City Road is still the major collector and arterial for areas such as South Melbourne and Port Melbourne as well as providing access locally in Southbank.
So how to improve the amenity for the local residents in the myriad of apartments that been built and occupied in the past 10 years in Southbank?
City of Melbourne has teamed up with Crowdspot to kick off a community engagement period running until the 16th of March for the upcoming City Road master plan. From the Participate Melbourne FAQ page:
What is the City Road Master Plan?
The City of Melbourne is leading the development of a draft City Road Master Plan that aims to better balance the road’s two key roles as both an important transport link and a people friendly place. This project is a key action from the Southbank Structure Plan (2010) and responds to the changing role of this road as Southbank grows.
The focus of the master plan will be on delivering public realm improvements within the road space and footpaths. It will explore options to change the layout and design of the road to address issues such as pedestrian safety, cycling access, transport movement & access, street character and quality, tree planting, water management and public transport provision.
Changes to planning controls that affect private land use and development are not within the scope of this project.
City of Melbourne is utilising Crowdspot's mapping technology to allow interested parties to pin point problems or praise on the municipality's Participate Melbourne platform. This is the first phase of engagement where people are encouraged to share their experience along the thoroughfare.
It's the depth contributors are going to describe the issues they feel need highlighting which is most impressive, for instance one of the pins on the King's Way tram stop describes how the tram stop and surrounding roads are regularly flooded and calls for the tram stop's amenity to be improved and even going to great lengths to describe the amount of pigeon poo in the area. Special mention to the contributor who mentioned the large volume of dog poo in a nearby park - it seems animal defecation is right up there in the worrisome category.
Overall however, there is a strong theme of highlighting all the vehicular issues right along City Road, and many people have highlighted how City Road acts as a barrier for pedestrians.
With rapid feedback in a more productive online environment as well as the environment in the public domain and open to monitoring and scrutiny, this may just keep City of Melbourne on its toes and the council will have no choice to review all contributions and verify any claims made and come up with strategies to combat them - this can only be a good thing in the long-run as the master plan is drawn up.
If you'd like to have your say, click here: http://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/city-road