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Southbank Residents’ Association

10 Sep 2019

Southbank Residents’ Association Image

The Lord Mayor visits

We were delighted that the Lord Mayor Sally Capp was able to join us at our first committee meeting post our annual general meeting (AGM) last month.

As you may recall, we had an abundance of interest from the community to join our committee. This was a great opportunity for our new committee members to begin to understand the workings of council first-hand from the Lord Mayor.

It also showed the concerns and interest our Lord Mayor has for Southbank. Sally is often reaching out for updates on our interaction with council and any new concerns in our community. We are truly thankful to have such a close relationship with our Lord Mayor and it was a real honour to be hosting her at our first committee meeting for this new financial year.

Good news for some and not so good news for others … there have been some developments for our cyclists. During the consultation phases of the City Rd and Southbank Boulevard upgrades, it was proposed that Kavanagh St would be a cycling connector between the two. This would also assist with offering an alternative for speeding cyclists that use the promenade, which we know is a constant problem.

Melbourne Bicycle User Group (MBUG) used the public consultation opportunity to lobby for protected bicycle lanes. It conducted its own surveys by letterboxing a questionnaire to many, if not all, the buildings along Kavanagh St, where the response was overwhelmingly supportive.

Southbank Residents Association (SRA) was also presented with a proposal by MBUG for protected lanes from Power St to Southbank Boulevard, which in its proposal, left Southbank with a net loss of 15 car parks. However, none of them were residential permit car parks. In principle, we endorsed this for the interests of the Southbank cyclists as a potential solution for the promenade. The reason the stretch between Balston and Power streets was not part of its proposal is that it was widely believed that the Melbourne Square developers would be using much of the southern side of Kavanagh St as part of its construction permit. This has not eventuated and instead the developer is using its land to construct its development.

In August, a City of Melbourne traffic and parking officer contacted SRA to advise that works to install protected bicycle lanes were now progressing and soon council would be reaching out to inform residents. However, in its proposal there is now an overall net loss of 50 car parks, although apparently none are residential permit parks. Earlier this month, meetings were held with the owners’ corporation (OC) chairpersons of the immediately affected buildings and the SRA committee, where council provided a briefing on the proposal and its implementation.  

In short, council is proposing to remove all the angle parking and replace it with parallel parking. While there is a year-on-year reduction in vehicle ownership within the built-up areas of Southbank and the number of unused car parks within towers is constantly increasing (which together no doubt explains the increase in popularity of the car share schemes which are scattered throughout our neighbourhood), I am not sure a 50 park reduction is beneficial to the community’s needs. While I am in support of a safer cycling experience for our cyclists, I would like to think there is another way forward. I am not sure how many of our street parks are actually used by residents for either their personal parking or their visitors parking.

I am cognisant that as Kavanagh St continues to develop, particularly after completion of Boyd Park, Melbourne Square and Southbank Boulevard, that we will probably start to see the ground floor apartments become spaces of boutique consulting and retail business. If this is the case, then more, rather than less, street parking would be needed. But having said that, while the residential permit parks are proposed to be preserved, if not increased, I question the logic of that. Only older buildings, ready for occupancy before March 2010 are entitled to residential parking permits, yet they are the buildings where it was mandated that every lot has a minimum of one car park, sometimes two. Yet the new developments were rewarded with height for every car park they didn’t include. Many of the newer apartments don’t have a car park, especially the one-bedroom apartments. So, my logic tells me that the properties that would really benefit for parking permits are the newer, post March 2010 properties, yet they are not entitled to them.

SRA is a not-for-profit volunteer lead community organisation. If you support the work we do to maintain the liveability of Southbank through engaging with council and the state government, we would certainly welcome your support through membership. It is only $10 a year. You can sign-up at southbankresidents.org.au

 

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