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City Rd Master Plan released

13 Sep 2015

City Rd Master Plan released Image

By Sean Car

The City of Melbourne has taken a major step towards upgrading Southbank’s central spine, with councillors unanimously endorsing the draft City Rd Master Plan for community consultation.

The draft vision, which went before councillors at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on September 8, will now be put to a six-week community consultation period which gets underway this month.

Developed in partnership with VicRoads, the master plan has been devised with the intention of improving accessibility and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Key features of the plan include new crossings at Clarke St, Balston St and Alexandra Ave, community open space underneath Kings Way, slip lane removals at Southbank Boulevard and Southgate Ave and enhanced access to the Arts Precinct.

However, the plan notes that motorists could see their commutes increase by an average of one minute 51 seconds in the morning peak and one minute 37 seconds in the afternoon as a result of the changes.

While the project is expected to be “north” of $10 million, Cr Mayne said that the project had been long overdue.

“We’re going to need to commit to it and fund it promptly because it’s a very compelling project and I wouldn’t want anyone competing against it in future budgets,” Cr Mayne said.

While praising the work of planning officers for compiling the master plan, Cr Ken Ong said he hoped the community consultation would help “achieve an even greater outcome.”

“Southbank is part of the Capital City Zone and we need to reduce speed and calm everyone down,” he said.

“I look forward to the outcome of this community consultation because it’s not just about amenities. It’s about people.”

As a key priority plan in its 2015-16 Annual Plan and Budget, the City of Melbourne has stressed the urgent need to deliver on a number of actions as part of the Southbank Structure Plan.  

Following a public consultation process undertaken in 2014, the City of Melbourne noted that 90 per cent of experiences recorded of City Rd were negative.

The plan notes that between 2008-2012, up to 70 crashes involving cars, cyclists or pedestrians had been recorded, including two pedestrian fatalities on the section of City Rd between Southbank Boulevard and Fanning St.

The master plan proposes six key actions to be delivered over five-years:

  • Transform City Rd West (between Clarendon and Power streets) into “a great central street”;
  • Activate Kings Way undercroft as a community space;
  • Upgrade City Rd East (between Power St and St Kilda Rd overpass) to be safer and more accessible for pedestrians;
  • Connect City Rd with the Arts Centre, the Yarra River and Sturt St;
  • Reconfigure Alexandra Ave (between St Kilda Rd overpass and Linlithgow Ave) as a boulevard; and
  • Expand the cycling network.

The master plan’s vision has been developed to align with other projects in Southbank including Boyd Park, Southbank Boulevard Master Plan and the Arts Blueprint.

More than 100 new trees, 700 metres of separated bicycles lanes, street furniture, green median strips and widened footpaths are included in the proposal.

A new cycling route will be implemented along Balston and Kavanagh streets, which will connect with the future linear park at Southbank Boulevard.

The vision also includes plans to upgrade community space at City Rd Park on the corner of Queensbridge St, as well as provide more than 9000sqm of new open space underneath the Kings Way undercroft.

Council has proposed to transform the “redundant” taxi rank near Crown Casino, with a skate park, climbing wall, sports courts, and temporary art space and pop-up pavilions/studios among suggested uses.

Visual upgrades to the St Kilda Rd overpass, improved access to the Arts Centre and Sturt St, and the “potential for permanent open space” at the Testing Grounds site are also noted under the proposal.

Speaking at the meeting, Southbank Residents Group president Tony Penna congratulated the City of Melbourne’s acting manager of urban strategy Leanne Hodyl and her planning team for compiling a “brilliant document”.

“I have read it cover to cover and I was impressed with the detail and thought that had gone into this plan,” he said.

“I am quite excited about this project and what it will mean for the residents who live in the immediate environs of City Rd.”

The final master plan will be informed by the consultation feedback and will be presented to council for adoption in 2016.

The City of Melbourne is inviting anyone to share their thoughts on the draft master plan until October 21 by visiting the Boyd Community Hub for a drop-in session or online at www.participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/city-road

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