Swanston Street U-turn

The population of Melbourne will surely be breathing a sigh of relief with the announcement today by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle that Swanston Street will become a car-free zone by 2012. Doyle, who has part of his mayoral campaign for election was pushing for bringing cars back to Swanston Street, has obviously bowed to the pressure of his fellow councillors on his remarkable about face even being a spokesperson for the latest proposal. Cr Doyle said the council did not want people driving into the city.

‘‘We would rather see people take public transport into the city, if they can to walk into the city and lots more people are cycling – we have seen huge increases in people cycling into the city in recent years, so no city in the world wants to bring more and more cars into its heart – that is exactly the opposite of what great streets do.’’

The $25.6m proposal includes four new “city square” type developments at tram superstops on Swanston Street and improved cycling access. It is certainly a pleasing outcome for all and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks.

Improving retail in Melbourne

I just recently discovered Linefeed and their latest post lists a series of ideas to improve retail in Melbourne (via Super Colossal). These ideas boil down to four distinct themes, being Local, Format, Kiosk and London Stores. Not sure if I agree with all of their ideas (they may be down to the fact that I’m not much of a shopper) but the thoughts behind Format and Kiosk do interest me the most.

Opening up Melbourne

Don’t forget that Melbourne Open House 2009 is on the 19 July 2009 (unfortunately I won’t be able to attend as I will be in Queenstown, skiing it up) as part of the 2009 State of Design Festival. Places and buildings that will able to viewed include: Arts Precinct, CBD Centre, CBD North, CBD West, Docklands, East Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, Denmark House, Central Pier Docklands, Treasury Reserve Walking Tour, Arts Centre, Storey Hall, Intercontinental Melbourne The Rialto, The Harbour Family & Childrens Centre, Radiation Therapy Bunkers – Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Federation Square – back of house tour, Fifteen Restaurant Kitchen Tour, Melbourne City Baths, Donkey Wheel House, The Gauge, Research Labs – Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia, KPMG House, Missions to Seafarers, Fire Services Museum of Victoria, Shrine of Rememberance, The Melbourne Athenaeum, Kangan Batman TAFE, Orica House (formerly ICI House), Collins Street Baptist Church, St Paul’s Cathedral, Manchester Unity Building, Melbourne Town Hall, Council House 2, Capitol Theatre, Russell Place Sub-Station, 271 Collins Street and 101 Collins Street.