New linear park for West Melbourne gets tick of approval

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Brendan Rees

The City of Melbourne has endorsed plans for a linear park in West Melbourne, which the council says addresses concerns about loss of parking, safety for all road users, and traffic management.

Under the concept designs, which were approved by councillors at their May 2 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, the Hawke St linear park will extend from Railway Place to King St, with the final design including the retention of the Adderley St roundabout after community concerns were expressed that it would be lost along with its traffic calming benefits.

Two-metre-wide separated bicycle lanes from Adderley St to Victoria St will also form as part of the street’s overhaul, which will see traffic cut down to one lane in each direction.

The northern side of Hawke St will make way for the linear park, which the council found to be the best option as properties on this side had vehicle access via rear laneways.

 

“This alignment provides an opportunity to create larger areas of continuous green space and to integrate with the two existing open spaces at each end of the street,” the plans stated.

 

Construction is expected to begin in early 2024 following several rounds of community consultation and workshops, with feedback being taken into consideration with the final concept design.

However, while residents and businesses welcomed more green space to the area, some were worried about a total loss of 47 parking spaces.

Mathew Trainor, who co-runs Tricycle Developments in Hawke St, said that while he “definitely applauded” having more green spaces, it must not come at the expense of the community, given more apartment buildings were going up, adding to competition for parking.

“I already have trouble with clients and customers being able to park to access us, and it’s only going to make that significantly worse,” he said.

 

I lease two buildings; I don’t get a single carpark. I have to park in the street and get up and move my car every two hours. I play Russian roulette with parking tickets.

 

Mr Trainor added there were many construction sites in the area, making parking a “nightmare”. “The other day I got detoured in my own street because of a crane and within a block I hit a second detour with another crane on another building site.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the linear park was a “significant addition to this wonderful neighbourhood”.

“I’m really pleased to support it … the Hawke St linear park is about improving amenity for people that live work, study and visit [the area].”

“[The concept designs] address two things in particular: one is the challenge of increased traffic that we expect as a result of the completion of West Gate tunnel and the desire to improve amenity, to manage that, and of course, the second part is the community consultation to date.”

“This concept plan represents the expertise that we have in our team and the feedback that we’ve had from community recognising the challenge ahead of us so it’s a great step forward.”

Resident Anthony McKee said he and other residents were happy overall with the council’s revised plan for the linear park, which will see it stop at Adderley St rather than Railway Place, as was formerly proposed, providing a better moderation of traffic, however, a lack of parking was “always going to be a problem”.

“The City of Melbourne recently spent millions doubling the size of our park on the corner of Hawke and Adderley streets, but parking is probably more important to us,” he said. •

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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