Residents give Hawke St linear park consultation “a gold star”

Residents give Hawke St linear park consultation “a gold star”
Spencer Fowler Steen

Despite initial concerns with the design for a new linear park along Hawke St, locals are giving the City of Melbourne (CoM) “a gold star” for its consultation with the community so far.

The updated plan for the street’s entire length removes 50 car parks to cut down traffic to one lane in each direction with new separated bike lanes in a bid to reduce traffic, improve cycling connectivity and increase greenery.

While the old plan eliminated a roundabout at Adderley St, current plans maintain the roundabout as well as existing parklets at Adderley St and Curzon St.

Hawke St residents and businesses shared their out-standing concerns and ideas with representatives from the council in February, with some questioning whether the linear park should be built between Adderley St and Railway Pl.

Local resident Anthony McKee said there was no need for a linear park there because a park already existed at Adderley St, and that there was no advantage to having a Hawke St bike connection to Railway Pl.

“It would save the council some money, and seriously, how many bikes need to get to Railway Pl? They’d have to go against one way traffic if they were riding to the station,” he said.

Others voiced their concerns that the design did not provide enough greenery for houses on the north-east side of Hawke St.

Local resident Sue Scarfe, who lives on the north-east side of Hawke St, said the linear park design stripped her side of the street’s existing plane trees which provided vital shade for the terrace houses.

She said representatives from the council had been receptive to the idea of cutting a metre off the existing footpath on the north-east side of the street to plant greenery to replace the plane trees.

“I’d give the council a gold star so far,” she said.

“I’m impressed with how much thinking they’ve done.”

 

Locals also raised the possibility of creating an indigenous-linked story running from the beginning of the park to the end, weaving together native plants, artwork, and history with the European style of Hawke St.

 

Locals also welcomed renaming the existing parks with indigenous names.

Another Hawke St resident, Bill Cook, said he was dissatisfied with the removal of the plane trees in the middle of the street.

“While they may not be growing to their full potential, they’re an asset to our street,” he said.

“New ones would take 20 or 30 years to grow.”

Businesses on Hawke St have previously expressed their dissatisfaction with the reduction in car parking.

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.   

Ms Scarfe also said the new energy-efficient lighting which had been installed in the street had created light pollution for residents that needed fixing.

“I said, ‘can you think of lighting the street and not our houses?’ They [the council] took that on board. The lamps need to have a narrower beam that doesn’t pour into houses,” she said.

While residents have previously expressed their desire for chicanes to slow traffic down in Hawke St, the council is not planning on implementing any chicanes or speed bumps.

The possibility of installing power lines underground in Hawke St, instead of overhead, was also raised at the meeting.

Locals were informed by the CoM that construction would likely start at the start of next year, but it remains unclear whether both sides of the street, or just one side at a time, will be closed during construction •

For more information:

participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/hawke-street-linear-park

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