Acland Street streetscape upgrade gets green light

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Port Phillip Council is proceeding with plans to transform Acland Street with a lively public plaza and a
“promenade” feel to encourage pedestrians to stroll along the iconic shopping, dining and entertainment
destination.

Council endorsed its Acland Street streetscape framework plan at last night’s Council meeting following an extensive, two-phase public consultation which attracted more than 1500 responses.

The streetscape also allows for the seamless integration of Public Transport Victoria’s (PTV) upgraded level-access Acland Street tram terminus.

“Council’s responsibility is the streetscape and we believe the spacious plaza will draw visitors wanting to enjoy attractions such as performances, exhibitions or pop-ups. Local villages are the heart of our neighbourhoods and we are looking forward to delivering a terrific outcome for Acland Street Village,” Mayor Bernadene Voss said.

“The terminus upgrade will be implemented by PTV to meet federal accessibility requirements and improve the efficiency of the busy Route 96 service, which fits with Council’s long-standing support for high quality public transport. An integrated approach is the best way of achieving an attractive, accessible and well-designed result for everyone wanting to enjoy Acland Street, including visitors with disabilities and those juggling prams, luggage or shopping,” Cr Voss said.

While a range of views was received, there was strong community agreement that the streetscape framework plan captured the essence of the unique St Kilda vibe (62 per cent of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed), supported great local shopping, dining and services (61 per cent) and provided a great public place for the activation of events and performances (66 per cent).

The new terminus will see Route 96 trams terminate just before the entrance to Acland Court. Extended
footpaths will be level with the tram platforms and the plaza, between Acland Court and Barkly Street, will be closed to traffic.

Cr Voss said the streetscape plan had been altered to reflect concerns raised during consultation about proposed one-way traffic access preventing traffic turning into Shakespeare Grove from Acland Street. After Council shared this feedback, PTV and Yarra Trams agreed to a 12-month trial of retaining Shakespeare Grove’s two-way access.

Parking or traffic problems are not expected to result from the upgrade. A traffic redistribution study,
commissioned by PTV and Yarra Trams, was reviewed by Council Officers and an independent consultant, who all found surrounding streets had the capacity to absorb any changes.

In a separate evaluation, PTV and Yarra Trams found a proposal by some traders for the tram terminus to be located at Luna Park to be unworkable, due to factors including safety and the need for a two-track terminus to accommodate 30,000 weekly tram passengers.

Council will now draft a Memorandum of Understanding with PTV to detail each organisation’s responsibilities and the delivery and co-funding of the project. Construction is planned to start in mid-2016 and be completed before summer.

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