Changes in Acland Street

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By Mary McConville

 

Plans are afoot to turn the southern end of Acland Street in St Kilda into an al fresco plaza with more emphasis on dining, socialising, public events and just general perambulating and with much less emphasis on motor traffic. The local tram route, No 96, will be shortened by just one stop. The chances are that it would end at Bedford St. instead of at its usual Barkly St. stop. The tram platforms on this busy route will be built level with the footpaths to make it easier for people with disabilities and parents with prams to get on and off. Things will change for motor traffic. Cars will still be allowed in Acland St. between Carlisle and Bedford Sts. and they will find themselves with maybe fifty less parking spaces.

Mayor Amanda Stevens was enthusiastic about the possibilities that the new arrangement could foster. She has had suggestions for markets, art events and installations and pop up stalls. She said that “The Fitzroy Street landscape upgrade, impending Palais repairs, new life saving club works and the unfolding vision for the Triangle site are all part of the exciting next phase of St Kilda’s history as a popular tourism spot and we are looking forward to receiving feedback from our community on the Acland Street plan.”

A draft of the plan was publically released in early November and the Council was open for feedback until November the 15th. On December the 8th the Port Phillip City Council plan to put it to a vote. If the planned changes are accepted then construction will probably begin during the winter months of 2016.

In previous years there have been several other proposals to change Acland St. In 2013, a projected plan was rejected due to hostility from local traders. Traders put forward alternative plans wherein the No. 96 tram route would finish outside Luna Park and O’Donnell Gardens. These plans were rejected as they clashed with other plans for that tram route. Cr Stevens said that PTV (Public Transport Australia) and Yarra Trams found that the Luna Park terminus “wouldn’t meet their operational, safety or accessibility requirements.”

Cr Stevens also said of the proposed plans that “while Acland St. is already a draw card, known for its many cultural and dining attractions we believe the proposed works will encourage even more locals and visitors to experience this unique destination and contribute to the exciting revitalisation under way in St Kilda. We believe it is a first for Melbourne to have state government, local government and private enterprise working together to deliver an integrated place-based approach to urban design and transport. Council has taken the lead on the streetscape. Route 96 is a State Government project delivered by Public Transport Victoria (PTV) in conjunction with Yarra Trams.”

 

 

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