The Junction – From Boil to Beauty Spot

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There is an ugly blight in the middle of Port Phillip – St Kilda Junction.  It divides our community rather than unite it.  It is a traffic sewer.  And of course, it is unpleasant and unkempt to look at.  At the moment the bad is being made worse by a slew of uncoordinated planning decisions.

Once upon a time, St Kilda Junction was a vibrant centre with majestic buildings.  In the 1960s that gracious centre was ripped asunder and destroyed for road widening so that cars from the south could pour into the city.  It was a disaster because it disfigured the landscape and made public transport less viable.  It is an alienating place for pedestrians and almost suicidal for cyclists.  The one good thing is that it separated cars and trams but the rest of the 1960s road widening was catastrophic.

But with a makeover we could, and should, change the Junction from a beast to a prince again.  A new Port Phillip Council will have to play Fairy Godmother, for the current Council has turned its back on the place.

There are several things that could be done.  Here are four ideas.  First we must engage with the State government to have a big conversation and planning for a better Junction that looks great and links pedestrians from Chapel St to Fitzroy St.  There has been a lot of dreaming work done but no one has yet nailed the State down to change our boil into a beauty spot.  Let’s start to plan now!

Control the towers!  Port Phillip has lost control of planning.  The only ways a council can stop the towers is by a planning policy called a structure plan.  Port Phillip has structure plans all through Port Phillip but not for the Junction and St Kilda Rd.  No wonder this is a problem area with new towers creating more traffic, wind tunnels and shadows.  This should be a top priority and the Council has been remiss.

Then there is the proposed underground rail between Footscray and Caulfield via the Junction. This idea has been shelved.  The plan was to have a big stop at the Junction.  No one is battling for this proposal, one that would take pressure off St Kilda Rd traffic and trams.  There is a conspiracy of silence on this idea.  Council has been too slack at the fight to come up an idea that will be the catalyst for change at the Junction.

Finally, we need to get some community infrastructure and make biking safe.

The Junction has been neglected by Council and the State.  It detracts from our environment when once it was a great place to be.  We need a new vision, control of the towers, and underground rail for all inner Melbourne.  The Junction should add to the community and not divide it.

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