Stuck in traffic: how to get our cities and economy moving

The strength of Australia’s economy depends on how well our cities function – yet right now, it’s as if we’re driving with the handbrake on. Cities are crucial to productivity. When they work well, they offer businesses the chance to bring together the biggest and best pool of available skilled employees. As the Business Council of Australia recently stated in its Action Plan for Enduring Prosperity : “cities play a significant role in supporting economic growth… [they] are very much engines of commerce, science, innovation and progress.” But the reported dismantling of the Major Cities Unit – which provided advice on developing Australia’s 18 biggest cities to the federal government – suggests that the new government may not understand how urgently reform is needed.

HSR - High Speed Rail or Highly Sceptical Rip-off?

Like clockwork, the bi-annual debate on the merits of High Speed Rail is upon us again. Usually coinciding with elections (state and federal) the debate is policy gold for the Greens as it's a big ticket item that, as a minor party, they'll never have to fund. Likewise for the major parties, it will take so long to become a reality, it's never part of their forward estimates either. Notionally it sounds like a good idea - Melbourne to Sydney in...

Harbouring doubts - are ferries for Melbourne viable?

Recently Urban Melbourne published an article discussing the new development at Wyndham Harbour . I must admit it looks spectacular. Talking some cues from Williamstown and some from Perth's Hillary's Harbour, it makes great use of one of the West's most underused assets: its coastline. However one thing does bother me about it's the land public transport forgot. There has been a proposal put forward to address this: a ferry service from Wyndham...

Tullamarine joins the 30 million passengers per year club

Asia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) Pty Ltd - the owner and operator of Melbourne's Tullamarine airport - released its July year-on-year passenger statistics yesterday. Standing out amongst all other statistics in the media release, was that Tullamarine has for the first time registered more than 30 million passengers passing through its terminals. Likewise more than 2 million passengers passed through the domestic terminals and as stated in media...

Comprehensive underground rail networks are fine, but what about the bus?

A lot of the Public Transport advocates were licking their lips on Monday when the former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett was quoted as saying "There's not a major world city that doesn't have one [an underground rail network]" . I've always admired the former Premier's drive, regardless of what happened under his leadership, Jeff Kennett is through and through a Melbourne #1 man and is not afraid to say it. What is Kennett talking about you...

Altona Smashed! - A Light Rail solution to a heavy problem

Despite the dramatic scene depicted in the image below, cars smashing though the fence are the least of Altona Station's problems. PTV released the numbers for daily passenger boardings a few weeks back, and unfortunately for this seaside sleepy hollow, it suffered a huge drop. A drop in popularity so large in fact, its enough to drive its most famous resident, Julia Gillard, back to Adelaide. * The patronage data, covering the years 2008/09 to...

Cycle routes that need improving: the Federation Trail

Recently at Urban Melbourne the transport focus has been on the big ticket modes: rail and bus. Whilst their mode share has increased steadily over the last decade, the underlying trend towards inner city living has seen a dramatic uptake for the humble bicycle. Fueled by rising petrol costs, an increasing interest in exercise, and a population explosion of hipsters in the inner north, Melburnians have been blessed with a plethora of new cycle...

Public Transport + Architecture = Seagull on a hot chip; thoughts on Flinders Street Station competition entries

Yesterday the Premier revealed the six short-listed designs in the $1million competition for Flinders Street Station's future. Despite the predictable yarn from the public transport advocates who have an inability to think beyond their next gunzelesque rant (refer to tweet) the amount of people engaging with the people's choice competition has been outstanding. Of course, first step towards.making the trains run on time is ensuring the station...

How to ruin an improving landscape: East-West Tunnel

Yesterday Premier Denis Napthine released further detail on the East-West Tunnel project which will extend the Eastern Freeway to an interchange with Citylink in Parkville/Travancore. My total disdain for prioritising this road lobby/union-pleasing project over the Melbourne Metro tunnel is well documented, however now I want to focus on the impacts this project will have around the redevelopment zones as outlined by the City of Melbourne and...

Charge it up - Decongesting The Hoddle Grid

One of the best things about working at an insurance company in the city was how close it was to Southern Cross Station - about 60 seconds. As my train trip was only 2 stops away, it meant I could get to work in less than 1/2 hour - door to door. I thought that was pretty good - there's nothing like an extra 30 minutes sleep on a cold, dark winter morning. My colleague whom I sat next to would regularly turn up late, cursing and blaming the...



Development & Planning

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 12:00
Architecture practice HASSELL is heading design efforts for a new office development with an end value of $163 million that will see job search firm SEEK take root within Cremorne. The atypically shaped campus-style building was lodged with City of Yarra earlier this month, nominating a large land parcel at 60-88 Cremorne Street as SEEK's new headquarters.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 12:00
Carolyn Whitzman , University of Melbourne Liveability is an increasingly important goal of Australian planning policy. And creating cities where residents can get to most of the services they need within 20 to 30 minutes has been proposed, at both federal and state level, as a key liveability-related mechanism.

Visual Melbourne

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 12:00
Part Three follows on from the Part One: Yarra's Edge and Part Two: Victoria Harbour. The focus of today's piece will be NewQuay and Harbour Town, the northern most precincts within Docklands. NewQuay NewQuay was the first precinct to open way back in 2003 and has probably evolved the most.


Transport & Design

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 00:00
Comment It was looking flakey already but now with the announcement over the weekend that the on-again, off-again rail port shuttles are back on the agenda, the West Gate Tunnel project has gone beyond barely scraping through the sniff test to stinking to high heaven.

Sustainability & Environment

Monday, August 21, 2017 - 12:00
The notion of Melbourne becoming a 20-minute City has been explored heavily in recent times. Seeking to provide Melburnians with the ability to 'live locally', the 20-minute City, in essence, strives to provide people with the ability to meet most of their everyday needs within a 20-minute walk, cycle or local public transport trip of their home.