THE City of Melbourne will create a 375-square-metre pop-up park on the eastern side of Elizabeth Street between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street to provide a dynamic space for pedestrians over summer between December 2017 and February 2018.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the pop-up park, which will feature trees, planter boxes, artificial turf, and moveable furniture, is being created in preparation for a partial closure of the eastern side of the road in 2019.
"The pop-up park will create a pedestrian space on the eastern side of Elizabeth Street over summer before we close this section of the road permanently in 2019," Cr Doyle said.
"We expect the pop-up park to be well used by the pedestrians who access the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Street during the peak periods. I encourage all Melburnians to take advantage of the pop-up park this summer."
City of Melbourne crews are cleaning the area several times daily and, along with Victoria Police, are conducting regular monitoring and patrols. The footpaths in this area of Elizabeth are accessed by more than 9,300 people in the morning peak, while car use has declined to 73 vehicles in the morning peak.
The City of Melbourne's plan to create permanent public space in this section of Elizabeth Street has been postponed for 12 months to accommodate construction of a development at 276 Flinders Street featuring redeveloped child care facilities and new office space.
Stage one of the completed Fivex development features three new retail podium levels and a revitalised 16 storey office tower. The next stage (to begin in February 2018) comprises a five-level office building in lightweight steel and timber with sustainable features.
"The transformation of this former bank site will provide an additional 4000 square metres of new in demand office space for Melbourne," the Lord Mayor said.
"The business of the city is business and we need to ensure there is adequate supply of office space for those businesses, There's also increasing demand for early learning facilities and this space will provide a welcome boost to childcare provision within the CBD."
The Lord Mayor said construction on the new Fivex building will limit the City of Melbourne's ability to build the new public space immediately.
"The decision to postpone construction of the permanent public space is based on maintaining pedestrian safety around construction activities and allowing this important development for our city to get underway," the Lord Mayor said.
"We also need to prevent damage to new public space infrastructure that would likely result from construction vehicles in this space."
The City of Melbourne said it is committed to building the new $2.2 million permanent public space in the southern end of Elizabeth Street, with the permanent space to be delivered in 2019. The permanent works will include new street furniture, better lighting, new bluestone paving, drainage improvements and trees.
Fivex managing director Lesli Berger said their commercial development will provide a valuable economic boost to the area while the street upgrade will improve public amenity on Elizabeth Street.
"We're fully supportive of the permanent closure of the eastern side of Elizabeth Street. The combined impact of our $40 million development and the partial road closure will bring added vitality to an area that is such an important pedestrian gateway for the city," Mr Berger said.
Between 2004 and 2015 there was a 65 per cent decline in the number of motor vehicles using Elizabeth Street.