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City Road set for a green overhaul, but will 207 City Road follow suit?

In welcome news that will go some way to placating Southbank residents and pedestrians, Melbourne City Council last week endorsed a seven-year capital works plan that will transform City Road.

Long considered an afterthought, Southbank's street level activation has lagged behind the rapid rate of development within the suburb, with City Road the prime example. After seeking public feedback and releasing a City Road master plan during 2015, Council has paved the way for $38.5 million in funding to flow into City Road's barren landscape.

Both City of Melbourne and VicRoads have been involved in the process to date, with the statutory body in full support of City Road's overhaul. Detailed design will begin in the latter stages of this year, with individual projects to be considered by Council as part of its annual budget and planning processes.

A revamped City Road beckons. Image: City of Melbourne

Highlights of Council’s plan for City Road's overhaul include:

  • Improved intersections and pedestrians crossings
  • Upgraded footpaths
  • New street furniture street furniture
  • A new bicycle route through Southbank catering to the growing number of people riding to and from the area for work and recreation
  • Extensive tree planting and better water management including permeable paving to reduce flooding and runoff to the Yarra
  • Transformation of unused spaces in and around the Kings Way Undercroft to provide more usable community space

What they say

The City Road Master Plan delivers $38.5 million in funding for capital works projects that will better connect Southbank to the city’s Arts Precinct, the Yarra River and our much-loved gardens.

This Master Plan recognises that Southbank is one of the highest-density and fastest changing areas in Australia, but that City Road must evolve with it. The City of Melbourne recognises that now is the time to invest in the transformation of City Road to meet the community’s requirements now and into the future.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle

We’ve consulted with the community about their experiences and expectations of City Road, and I believe our plans reflect the community’s needs into the future.

'he master plan, with its focus on encouraging more people to walk, cycle and take public transport, is consistent with Council’s Transport Strategy 2012.

Councillor Cathy Oke, Portfolio Chair for Transport
A refashioned City Road with the Boyd Community Hub. Image: City of Melbourne

Whilst City Road's pending facelift comes as welcome news, Southbank Residents Association are actively lobbying City of Melbourne in order to create a park on what was the site of the failed Regent Square apartment development behind the Boyd Community Hub at 207 City Road.

According to Southbank Residents Association President Tony Penna, City of Melbourne recently revoked the permit for the 250-apartment development backed by Mackie Group. It's expected that Council will this week consider the fate of the site, with one option being retendering the plot with future development in mind.

Tony Penna offered Urban Melbourne the following thoughts on the best use of 207 City Road:

The developers failure to develop this site in the time required is an opportunistic windfall to this Council (who inherited the Regent Square development plan) and also the residents.

The City of Melbourne (CoM) have their own target of 20sqm/resident of open space; Southbank barely scrapes in with 2.5sqm.

Our current population of around 15,000 is estimated to be around 25,000 in the not too distant future. In the absence of any realistic plan to provide open space for a growing population, this is a prime opportunity for the CoM to contribute to their open space strategy on land they already own.

This densely populated residential block doesn’t have access to green open space within reasonable walking distance (as defined in the CoM open space strategy) but moreover it would share the block with the community centre, thereby making this an absolutely ideal location.

The failed Regent Square proposal. Image: regentsquare.com.au
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