$25.6m Swanston Street redevelopment plan unveiled

A $25.6 million plan to upgrade and enhance Swanston Street has been unveiled by Melbourne City Council today, with Council due to consider and decide on the plan next Tuesday 2nd February.

A report on the Swanston Street redevelopment was released today, with the following recommendations:

  • $25.6 million plan to create a world-class promenade;
  • By 2012, private cars and taxis would be banned;
  • Creation of a seamless civic space created with dedicated bike lanes;
  • Construction of four new public spaces incorporating tram stops, new street furniture including public seating, ceremonial lighting, additional trees and planter boxes and public artworks;
  • Service delivery vehicles would continue to have restricted access, with a further review in 2012; and
  • Encouragement of additional pavement-based activity including outdoor cafes and innovative retail.

In a turnaround from his election campaign – the reintroduction of cars to Swanston Street – Lord Mayor Robert Doyle today was spruiking the benefits of the plan.  "This is the beginning of the renaissance of central Melbourne. The redevelopment of Swanston Street has seen us re-think the street's entire civic environment to create a coherent, consistent plan that ties the whole street together" Cr Doyle said.

Swanston Street currently attracts over 60,000 pedestrians between 10am and 6pm daily. "By 2012, this plan would see the street transformed into a world-class promenade - car-free, with more quality public spaces, encouraging an enhanced retail and outdoor dining offering" Cr Doyle said.

The redevelopment is proposed to be completed in three stages.

Stage One is expected to commence later this year with the construction of a new tram platform between La Trobe and Little Lonsdale Streets in front of State Library. The tram tracks  are to be lowered and granite and bluestone pavement will be extended to the platform edge. Works should be completed early 2011.

Stage Two consists of the construction of tram platforms at RMIT, the corner of Bourke Street and City Square. Service delivery vehicles access will be restricted to only the blocks without tram stops and delivery times will be limited to 9.30am–12 noon, 2pm-4pm and 7pm-7am. New lighting, additional trees, floral planter boxes and additional public seating installed. Taxis are to be banned after the completion of Stage Two. Construction is due to commence mid-2011 with completion in mid-2012.

Stage Three proposes enhancing the blocks between the tram stops and an assessment of further enhancements required.

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