The Argument to Defer the Acland Tram Stop Development

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Below is a copy of the speech delivered to Port Phillip Council on November 17th by the President of the Acland Village Traders Association, Palma Smith

 

Acland Street Traders and local residents are requesting that the decision to place a double tram terminus in Acland Street with the removal of parking and car access be deferred so that a truly independent evaluation and solution can be achieved.

The traffic management study that accompanies PTV, Yarra Trams and City of Port Phillip plans for the route 96 tram terminus in Acland Street are out of date, lack independence and fail to address access and residents issues. Furthermore, the plans for the tram terminus have changed since the ones originally submitted and a new traffic management study has failed to accompany the changes. Further the reports upon which City of Port Phillip are relying including the initial study done by Charter Keck and Cramer are statistically flawed and now out of date – meaning a new truly independent study must be commissioned.

Stakeholders including owners and tenants in Acland Street risk seeing a substantial devaluation in their properties and businesses if they accept the plans that are currently being suggested.

The 51 free parking spaces that will be removed from Acland Street have as yet not been replaced by City of Port Phillip which will lead to congestion in the back streets to the detriment of the entire surrounding precinct.

City of Port Phillip has not adequately scrutinized the engineer’s report on which it is relying in order to dismiss the idea of a super stop at Luna Park and no investigation has been conducted on re-routing and taking the tram line into Elwood. An independent engineer’s report such as one which has recently been submitted to PTV and City of Port Phillip on behalf of the Acland Street Village Traders Association, show that the 96 and 16 tram can shunt at Luna Park without disruption to the heritage and unique character of Acland Street. Luna Park is the best equipped location to act as a central transport hub for the wider St Kilda precinct.

There will be grade separation in Acland Street as a result of the trams needing to take up in excess of 50 metres when they are parked at the end of the line. This is so that the trams can align with the current Acland Street footpath. No details have yet been provided as to what danger this represents to pedestrians and cyclists when there are no trams in the terminus. The council will be facing significant liability claims as a result of injuries that are likely to be sustained as a result of this large pit in the centre of Acland Street. Any attempts to screen or put up barriers around this risk hazard, will definitively change and divide Acland Street.

A business impact study is required. How will the traders be impacted as a result of lost premium parking and parking turnover.  Added to this is the loss of traffic flow entering from the Barkly Street end of Acland Street. How significant will the limited access to 165 parking spaces at Belford Street and the 20 plus parking spaces in Shakespeare Grove (Shakespeare Grove will be converted from two way traffic to one way traffic) be to the traders? With loss of through traffic, businesses are considerably disadvantaged through loss of exposure to existing and new clientele.

The Traders and Residents are yet to be presented with accurate scaled drawings highlighting the position of all amenities surrounding the proposed tram terminus in Acland Street. Issues such as emergency vehicle access, delivery access, Traders’ access are yet to be adequately addressed. Proposed changes to the route 96 timetables showing exactly times and how many trams will be in Acland Street and for how long everyday are yet to be sighted.

When will works commence and how long will they take? Can traders be compensated for loss of income during the time they are disrupted?

The Traders would like to see an engagement process that genuinely attempts to find an improved outcome for the Acland Street Precinct – one that addresses activity and commercial improvement and truly benefits all stakeholders not just a select few. We encourage discussion of ideas more respectful of the neighbourhood characteristic and heritage we all covet.

 

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