Victoria

Artist's impression unveiled for new public open space in Melbourne's Southbank precinct

THE City of Melbourne has unveiled artist's impressions of its $35 million plan to create new public open space in Melbourne's most densely populated suburb, Southbank, which will cover approximately 2.5 hectares of land on Southbank Boulevard and Dodds Street.

Southbank Boulevard looking west from St Kilda Road with proposed green tramway
Above: Southbank Boulevard looking west from St Kilda Road with proposed green tramway / City of Melbourne.

"In Melbourne and in other cities around the world, governments are looking to turn underutilised roads and car parks into important green space," Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said.

"The new public open spaces and neighbourhood parks we're creating in Southbank will improve public amenity for the 20,000 residents and 50,000 office workers in the city's most densely populated suburb.

"The new public space planned for the front of the ABC alone would be roughly the same size as the City Square. Dodds Street will be remade into a public space that can cater for everything from street performances to farmers markets and medium scale music festivals at the doorstep of the Victorian College of the Arts."

Southbank Boulevard and Sturt Street intersection with new Sturt Street tram stop
Above: Southbank Boulevard and Sturt Street intersection with new Sturt Street tram stop / City of Melbourne.

The Future Melbourne Committee will consider the Draft Concept Plan, which has been shaped and informed by extensive community and stakeholder engagement, this Tuesday night.

The Draft Concept Plan includes 10 key actions with a three-stage construction plan that will see the project completed in 2020. Key aspects include:

  • 1.05 kilometres of dedicated, separated bicycle lanes;
  • Water sensitive urban design and flood mitigation;
  • Upgraded tram and bus stops, including the potential for 'green' tram tracks;
  • Improved biodiversity through extensive planting and a new generation of diverse trees with seasonal variation and year-round interest; and
  • A neighbourhood space for Southbank.

Chair of the City of Melbourne's Environment Portfolio, Cathy Oke, said the project is part of an ongoing urban design program that has seen more than 80 hectares of underutilised asphalt and other infrastructure transformed into public open space over the last 30 years.
"Converting grey to green supports the City of Melbourne's strategies for managing the urban forest, climate change, water, biodiversity and wellbeing," Cr Oke said.

"Green spaces reduce stormwater volumes, reduce the impact of development on ecosystems, increase biodiversity, provide habitats for wildlife, keep our soil moist and reduce the urban heat island effect."

The reconfigured Southbank Boulevard will continue to accommodate current traffic volumes. In 1988, Southbank Boulevard carried 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles a day. The boulevard now carries 13,000 vehicles a day after direct access to the central city was closed following the construction of Queensbridge Square in 2001.

The new open space will support the increased residential population in Southbank, which is forecast to rise by 175 per cent over the next 15 years.

Southbank Promenade looking east to St Kilda Road
Above: Southbank Promenade looking east to St Kilda Road / City of Melbourne.
Fawkner Street to City Road rainforest
Above: Fawkner Street to City Road rainforest / City of Melbourne.

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