I can see clearly now, can you?
Driving around our lovely precinct, there are some things that are becoming clearer and changes are being made … have you noticed them too?
The new cafes are starting to get busier not just with tradies but with new and old locals.
There are two new sit-in café/restaurants opened this year and although still struggling with restrictions they are doing well.
I was pleased to see that the Waterside Inn has reopened selling Toasties (excellent!).
Thistlethwaite St, both east and west of Montague St, is completely changed now.
It’s similar to how Gladstone St has, and continues to. It appears that more residents will start to move in imminently with Montague Towers and the two blocks closest to Ferrars St nearly completed.
The towers that were going in on the old Carlin’s site on Buckhurst St are on hold and the site has finally been cleaned up and open-air, paid carparks have been instigated.
A much better look than the rubbish tip that they had become. And, of course, a place to park for those that don’t have car parks west of Montague St.
As an aside, it still amuses me that the planners still think that most new residents and workers will be riding bikes or (god forbid) motorised stand-up scooters.
For example, on-street parking in Gladstone St is completely full after 6pm and on weekends.
And finally, the Normanby Rd development is moving on at pace and I’m told that first residents are moving into at least one of the many towers in the next month or so.
With at least hundreds if not 1000s of new residents and workers coming into the precinct over the next six months we need to turn our thoughts to traffic management.
It would be interesting if we could see the precinct plans to see how traffic flow is, and will be managed.
I have been spending time in Southbank recently and can see the challenges of how traffic flow effects the amenity of the area.
There was that devastating accident on the corner of Power St and City Rd and during peak hour there are often large trucks completely blocking the intersections, so crossing on green lights becomes dangerous.
The reason is that Power St and City Rd are arterials to and from the freeways.
This too matters for the Montague Precinct as City Rd, Montague St (and don’t forget the Montague Bridge dramas) and Normanby Rd are major arterials.
Montague has few large trucks because of the bridge, but Normanby Rd is another matter.
There are numbers of smaller cross streets that potentially will have the same challenges as the Southbank examples.
It is so important that these areas are designed and managed well, and not just for bicycles either.
To that end and to give us all some comfort that this is being looked at …
Dear Fishermans Bend Taskforce, please release the Precinct Plans that were completed last year!
Residents and businesses deserve to know about the area they are not only living in but investing in too.
And on that note of hope, I hope you are all starting to see clearly what Montague will become and don’t feel too anxious about the future plans.
I know the constant noise is not improving and unfortunately will continue for some years, but hopefully the powers that be are listening and will start, even post-COVID, to provide some more detailed information and on-site communication to support the growing numbers in our very loved precinct of South Melbourne.
Take care all, stay safe and PLEASE if you are eligible, get vaccinated •