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Packed to the rafters

17 Jul 2012

The cries for more open space in Southbank became even more justified last month as it was revealed the suburb is the most congestedin Melbourne.

The figures, released by RP Data show that Southbank has a congestion rate of 8900 people per kilometre. That’s almost 1000 more people per kilometre than the second-ranked Melbourne suburb, Carlton.

In the national stakes Southbank ranks 19th with every other place in the top 20 taken up by suburbs of Sydney. Number one is Elizabeth Bay with a whopping 20,165 people per kilometre.

It is a figure planners will need to look closely at because if Southbank reaches the predicted 74,000 residents by 2040, the figure will be an alarming 58,730 people per kilometre.

All suburbs on the list will inevitably change, but that number will surely see Southbank climb the congestion ladder and widen the gap between postcode 3006 and all other Melbourne suburbs.

Southbank Resident Group president Mabel Vargas said that, while the new figures weren’t surprising to residents, it believed the population density needed to be considered in future planning.

“No, there are no surprises here. Southbank’s development has increased dramatically in the last seven to 10 years without the proper infrastructure put in place,” Ms Vargas said.

“Southbank residents do not have the adequate facilities to cater for the current and growing population. All the land available in Southbank has been used for high-density buildings and someone has forgotten that all the people living here require the corresponding infrastructure.”

Ms Vargas also said the current residents were worried about future congestion, given the plan to increase Southbank’s population so heavily over the next couple of decades.

“Southbank residents are very concerned. There is an evident lack of planning and an aggressive development strategy, which do not go hand-in-hand,” Ms Vargas warned.

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