Last year, Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle called the intersection of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane in the CBD an “ugly duckling” and a “crime hotspot.”
The City of Melbourne is hoping to change that reputation by giving the go-ahead to a redevelopment plan first proposed in July of last year.
Construction is set to begin later this year, and will close Elizabeth Street to southbound traffic at Flinders Lane. That strip of road will be converted into a partial pedestrian mall with greenery and permanent outdoor furniture.
A single-lane road, heading north from Flinders Street, will remain.
The announcement was made as part of the council’s 2017–18 budget plan, with an allocation of $1.5 million for the project. It hopes the changes to the T-intersection will reduce some of the litter and homelessness in the area.
Another road-replacing park is planned for a lane on Southbank Boulevard, with 2.5 hectares of green space. The council says Southbank is Melbourne’s most densely populated suburb and doesn’t meet the council’s suggested target of 20 square metres of public open space per person. The project will eventually cost $35 million to complete; the council allocated $11 million to the project in the most recent budget.
The two projects were announced alongside the release of the results of a census that focused on those living and visiting the CBD and surrounding suburbs. The census found that the residential population of the city centre is expanding at the fastest rate in metropolitan Melbourne, which has prompted the council to deepen their focus on the livability of the area.