City of Melbourne (CoM) have ramped up their push to create additional public open space in two key locations. Announcements were made last week regarding a significant stretch of Southbank and Carlton's University Square.
Both intended developments are now available for viewing and comment via Participate Melbourne, Council's online platform which allows the community to better understand and contribute to the decisions that shape the inner city.
First up, Southbank's dearth of ground level cohesion and activation will in part be addressed with CoM releasing further information and initial plans regarding the intended transformation of Southbank Boulevard and Dodds Street, with the aim of creating a swathe of open space. This will be achieved by shifting traffic patterns and partially closing Southbank Boulevard.
As a result, 2.5 hectares of public open space is set to be created along the southern side of Southbank Boulevard, starting from the Melbourne Recital Centre and continuing to the banks of the Yarra River.
Lawn areas, new trees, children's play spaces, improved pedestrian connectivity and at least one kilometre of new bike lanes are slated as part of the $16 million overhaul, with traffic still accepted along Southbank Boulevard. Dodds Street is also earmarked to become a public space as part of the development, with the aim of creating performing and events spaces.
We know that backyards in the inner city are shrinking and more people are living in apartment blocks. In Southbank, 96 per cent of residents live in high-rise apartments with little access to outdoor space.
Our plan to transform the boulevard will ensure that nearby residents and workers are able to enjoy more open spaces for recreation, to meet each other and for public gatherings and relaxation.Arron Wood, Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio
With works intended to begin during 2017, feedback for the proposal can now be given via the project's Participate Melbourne webpage.
North of the CBD and University Square fronting Pelham Street and Grattan Street is set for change with CoM releasing details of a draft master plan for the overhaul as seen above.
In conjunction with the State Government and University of Melbourne, the square will be transformed with a decidedly more green slant. Expected in the redevelopment of University Square are 253 additional trees, 8,700sqm of expanded public open space, a water terrace, biodiversity corridor and public art installations.
All three parties have agreed to jointly fund the project which will also service the new Parkville rail station upon its completion. During previous community engagement sessions, the vast majority of respondents nominated closing Barry Street and narrowing Leicester Street in order to increase open space by up to 40 per cent.
With an average age of 25, Carlton has the highest student population in Melbourne. The expanded square will provide more spaces to cater for residents, students and visitors. This includes offering more active spaces with barbecues, solar-powered charging stations, Wi-Fi, permanent chess boards and movable seats.Arron Wood, Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio
University Square's full master plan will be available on Participate Melbourne from today.