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Prof. Adams talks Southbank Boulevard

09 Mar 2017

Prof. Adams talks Southbank Boulevard Image

The City of Melbourne’s director of city design Professor Rob Adams gave an insightful presentation to local businesses on the future transformation of Southbank Boulevard last month.

Speaking at the Yarra River Business Association’s (YRBA) networking luncheon at Eureka Skydeck on February 23, Prof. Adams informed businesses that plans to create 2.5 hectares of new open space in Southbank were well advanced.

“The current budget has been formulated on the basis that the design and the tender will be done over the next nine months and then it will go to a build in the next calendar year,” he said.

As part of council’s strategy to provide more open space in Southbank, it will convert half of Southbank Boulevard and Dodds St (up to Grant St) into a linear park.

Having once provided a direct link into the city, the top end of Southbank Boulevard was closed in 2006 to make way for the construction of Queensbridge Square.

Prof. Adams said since the closure, it has gone from carrying 30,000 vehicles per day to 13,000 and this ultimately presented an opportunity to repurpose the space.

“You often explore a city by nature of walking around the city and discovering its spaces and places,” he said. “Most of that happens in the streets so good cities normally have a good street environment.”

“As you walk along it will have the character that is continuous from the gardens right through to the river. Within those spaces there will be different opportunities for tranquility, play, recreation, hospitality and the opportunity to spill those cafes outside the recital centre onto the street.”

Here is a snapshot of what Prof. Adams had to say around some of the key issues affecting the project:

On Crown Casino’s developer contribution:

“A lot of that investment will go into the bottom end of Southbank Boulevard from City Rd down to the river. We will have control over the design solution of all of Crown’s contributions.”

On the impact to traffic:

“One thing that is declining in the city is that businesses are on the increase; residents are on the increase; the general prosperity is on the increase but the number of cars in the central city is decreasing and that’s a fact.”

“We’ve completely modeled the peak hour and looked at the cars and, in fact, there are actually some improvements here that will help traffic move through here a little faster.”

On collaborating with the Arts Precinct:

“What we do with too many of our institutions is we internalize. We put all the interesting stuff behind closed doors where people can’t see it.”

“For the ABC to be able to be able to come out onto that space whether it be an orchestra or something like that to use that space is something that we’re looking at.”

On cycling:

“I hope I’m not letting the cat out of the bag too soon but we have been working really hard to get a bike route going through the park as a diversion,” he said.

“That doesn’t solve the whole problem but it takes a big chunk of the promenade out.”

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