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Where’s the “green space?”

11 Feb 2016

Where’s the “green space?” Image

The hope of added green space to Southbank’s Normanby Rd reserve along Whiteman St has failed to come to fruition.

Access to Clarendon St between City Rd and Spencer St was blocked for more than two weeks last month while Yarra Trams and Public Transport Victoria constructed new tram stops at the reserve.

The City of Melbourne last year approved Yarra Tram’s proposal to remove 25 car parking spaces as well as the shared path along Whiteman St to provide additional space for the new stops.

Yarra Trams’ original designs for the makeover showed added green space where the car parks and bike path formerly were. However, the space has instead been laid with a stretch of tanbark.

While the tanbark will provide for additional tree planting following the removal of 19 red river gums along Normanby Rd, original plans stated that “green space” would be provided at the expense of the removed public amenities.

A Yarra Trams spokesperson stated that it was respectful of the needs of the local community but didn’t address the loss of public space.

“After the main construction period, Yarra Trams will work closely with the City of Melbourne to reinstate trees and plant some additional vegetation in the area,” the spokesperson said.

“It is expected these finishing works will be completed in early 2016.”

Southbank Residents Association president Tony Penna said that, while it wasn’t a large area, any open space in Southbank needed to be maximised.

“The public open space that we’ve got needs to be used to its maximum,” he said. “Open space in Southbank is so scare so whatever we have left needs to be used efficiently.”

 The reserve has been widened to help make way for a third tram track, as well as a new central island platform for routes 96 and 109.

A separate adjacent platform on the new additional track has been constructed for the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant.

Cyclists and pedestrians will now be redirected to cross the tram reserve at the west end of the new tram platform to connect to the existing shared path located on the south side of Normanby Rd.

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