Hawke St linear park plan still flawed, locals say

Hawke St linear park plan still flawed, locals say
Spencer Fowler Steen

West Melbourne residents and businesses are concerned about the latest designs for a new linear park along Hawke St, which will reduce parking by increasing green space and cutting down traffic to one lane in each direction.

More than 50 locals gathered at Apollo Café in early December to discuss the most recent changes to the City of Melbourne’s Hawke St proposal, which now retains a roundabout at the corner of Hawke and Adderley streets previously slated for removal.

Tricycle Developments director and local resident, Andrew Crawford, said it was good to see the council consulting with the local community, but that it was clear there was “significant concern” about the impact of the project on reducing available parking in the area.

“As a local business owner, we are seriously concerned about the reduction in parking, particularly in the lower end of Hawke St,” he said.  

“This will impact the local residents around us, our staff and our clients. It will make doing business in this part of West Melbourne harder – at a time when I thought the council was trying to reinvigorate activity off the back of COVID shutdowns.”

Stanley St resident Mary Masters told North West City News she also appreciated the council staff at the event, but said it did not “distract” from the fact the linear park was no closer to being delivered.

“It was confirmed [at the meeting] that the Hawke Street Linear Park is tapping into the very secretive Transport and Amenity Program funding, which includes a $50 million contribution each from City of Melbourne and state government to help mitigate the effects from the Westgate Tunnel Project,” she said.

“Most people seemed to be in attendance to understand more about the parking implications for the linear park proposal – Hawke St residents and businesses are concerned about the immediate impacts; residents and businesses from other streets are concerned about the knock-on impacts.”

“I think that most locals appear to be supportive of the park, but concerned that the proposal is not being considered in line with wider impacts for the rest of North and West Melbourne.”

Local resident Anthony McKee said he was both pleased and disappointed by the latest design proposals.

“I am happy the council has kept the roundabout in their latest design; it is a good traffic moderator, but I am disappointed we will potentially loose more carparks from our end of Hawke St. Parking is already a problem for us,” he said. “I would be happy if they built the linear park from Adderley St through to King St, I think those residents would benefit more from it than us.”

Former Lord Mayor and North and West Melbourne Association chair Kevin Chamberlin said the linear park proposal was “crucial” to the people of Hawke St and surrounds.

“The Westgate Tunnel currently under construction will dump significant traffic volumes into North and West Melbourne, and Hawke St is seen as one of the major links to the northern CBD, Carlton and the east,” he said.

“So, it’s really important that some amenity is maintained in Hawke St for the benefit of the people who live there. Hawke St is predominantly a residential environmentand should be protected.” •

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