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Swanston St face to change

Aun Ngo

Tue Apr 28 2009


PUBLIC transport and pedestrian access are among the top priorities international students want to see addressed by the Melbourne City Council in its proposed redevelopment of Swanston St.

The proposed plan, which will affect the stretch of Swanston St between Flinders and Franklin streets, is part of the council’s strategy for 2020 when one million people are expected to access the city each weekday.

Some of the design options included removing bicycle access, decreasing motor vehicle access, and widening the footpaths along Swanston St.

RMIT student Li Sher Tan, 21, welcomed the changes.

“A majority of people walk, cycle, and use the tram on Swanston St, so they should probably improve on those areas to cater for that many people,” she said.

Many of the students Meld spoke to were concerned about the impact the changes had on tram lines and pedestrian access.

Monash university student Fei Qian Chuah, 19, relies on the tram to commute to school in Clayton.

She said access to public transport was important for city-dwellers like her, who have to catch a tram from Swanston St.

“I always take the tram so trams are important to me for my own convenience,” she said.

Trinity College students Yvonne Mok, 19 and Jennifer Wong, 19 said wider footpaths would reduce crowding and allow more people to walk through the city.

But for 20-year-old Robert Yang from Melbourne University, the redevelopment plan seemed redundant.

“What are we changing it for? [Swanston Street] is pretty big already, and the streets in Tokyo are just as big and can support so many more people,” he said.

Mr Yang said the council should concentrate on providing better public transport first, such as increasing and improving train lines.

“Waiting 18 minutes for a train isn’t good enough,” he said.

Students can find out more about the proposed plans by logging on to the Melbourne City Council website.

The plans are also on display at the Melbourne Town Hall, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square, City Library, East Melbourne Library and North Melbourne Library.

Students can have their say by filling in consultation forms available online. Consultation forms must be received by 5pm Friday, 8 May 2009.

A final redevelopment plan will be endorsed later this year.