The Suburb Traffic Management Forgot — Rick Dipaola

The Suburb Cremorne, in Melbourne’s inner east, is a creative, eclectic suburb with much commercial activity including pockets of residential zones. It is undergoing a boom in development with many more commercial and apartment buildings proposed or underway. It is limited in size (800m x 800m), has two Collector roads in and out, features narrow and many one-way streets.  Cremorne has always been a highly walkable area however more recently car centricity is being encouraged and designed in. Cremorne streets inadequately cater for pedestrians due to insufficient width footpaths and generally provide unsafe local area traffic management due to large volumes of commercial traffic in local roads in residential zones that drive along or park over pedestrian footpaths. The primary ingress and egress of Cremorne is via Cremorne Street and Balmain Street. Both streets get backed up several hundred metres with delays of up to 30 minutes common to exit the area as the intersections are over saturated. Four recent development approved and pending (Seek, Nylex Site, Zig Inge and Parkmore Management) will provide an additional approximately 1400 car spaces and 1200 bicycle spaces on site.  This is just a small sample of the type and mix of buildings that will be rapidly increasing in Cremorne. This additional traffic will impose additional conflict, rat-running and delays to residents and workers. Yarra Council has not advised how it will manage this traffic or that a plan is underway. Residents, pedestrians and cyclists who live and work in Cremorne are not catered for. This is due to a lack of traffic management  to protect residential zones from large volumes of rat-running traffic, a lack of amenity, inadequate width footpaths, insufficient parking, and inadequate compliance of private garbage trucks collecting outside legal hours. Modes of travel and induced demand Transport modes are changing and the workforce preferences for more flexible modes such as ride share, public transport or active transport have been especially embraced in Cremorne.  One business advises the mix of modes of their commercial tenant of fourteen staff included one person who skateboards to work, six that ride, five via public transport, one walked and one rented a local car space.  Two of the staff would take their skateboard and tricks bike out at lunch time to jump kerbs.  However, the number of parking spaces set as minimums for planning do not appear to reflect preferences, trends or innovations.  Yarra Council therefore creates induced demand for car travel. Council Traffic Management City of Yarra’s traffic management has generally been limited to installing speed humps in Cremorne. This approach is reminiscent of traffic management 30 years ago and does not address the primary issues facing a suburb with competing requirements in a confined area. A  coherent, sensible, comprehensive strategy that truly caters for all parties in accordance with Councils policies that state to make Yarra a safe for all modes of transport, provide a safe street environment, protect the amenity of residential zones, and reduce conflict is what is required. Progressive Councils such as Maribyrnong recognise the importance of protecting residential zones (by banning trucks in residential streets) and providing dedicated spaces that are not car-centric. The Answers There are many examples of how to reinvigorate eclectic, mixed use, heavily trafficked areas such as Cremorne. It simply takes a coherent, sensible, comprehensive strategy, the will and leadership, competent advice, a Council willing to educate itself on progressive traffic management strategies, and to categorically protect the amenity and safety of residential zones on local roads, to make such things happen. Such elements to achieve the required results include:

  • Protecting residential zones on local roads, particularly interfaces with commercial zones;
  • Planter boxes that straddle the kerb and reduce lane width to 2.7m to 3m instead of installing speed humps, thereby slowing vehicles and providing shade and greenery;
  • Implementing Shared zones, particularly where large commuter foot traffic is experienced in local roads including residential zones;
  • Truck bans in local roads in residential zones to protect residential amenity, particularly outside of standard work hours so the local road is not used as a rat-run (e.g. Gwynne Street south of Balmain St, Green Street north of Adelaide Street);
  • Implementing a truck management strategy that defines which roads trucks can use that provide routes through commercial zones, not residential zones;
  • Implement a Public Acquisition Overlay that ensures when new developments are built, set back is provided to allow for wider footpaths over time;
  • Support ‘play streets’ to temporarily close streets to through traffic so kids and parents can play outside like we did as kids (;
  • Review minimum parking standards in new buildings and view travel more broadly to cater for drop off zones and all other transport modes.

The above should be considered the minimum to improve pedestrian safety and address and provide a minimum standard of local traffic management.  It will ensure collector roads are better utilised, and discourage large vehicle volumes on local roads in residential zones. None of these ideas are new, however some Council’s are yet to realise that meeting the requirements of residents and businesses, and to meet their own obligations and commitments to provide a safe street environment for all that protects residential zones and allows dedicated commercial routes is not resolved by installing a speed hump.

  • In Cremorne, a local network has formed consisting of professionals who are experts in transport and related fields, who live and/or work in the suburb, are knowledgeable in international examples of best practice solutions and understand the fine grain lived and worked experience of Cremorne.  It is a missed opportunity when a Council does not engage with, or tap into such invaluable experience and knowledge, to the detriment of its community.
  • Instead what tends to happen is the same old Council engineers write the same old Briefs with the same old Scope to the same old Traffic Consultants who respond with the same old answers, and a speed hump is installed.
  • Inner city residents and workers require their Council to deliver on their obligations to their community to provide a safe street environment, to address fundamental ongoing conflict issues, in order to provide a coherent, sensible, comprehensive implementation strategy that delivers on its statutory obligations.

What Council’s Should Do

  •  Tap into local knowledge and expertise to provide solutions. Do not hold a meeting to tick a box that ‘consultation’ has been carried out without resolving the safety or conflict issues raised;
  • Advise the funding available to tailor solutions to the budget, or commit to applying for funding;
  • Engage an independent expert(s) to review the data and provide recommendations, do not solely rely on Council engineers;
  • Council should not write a Brief containing tasks to a consultant that has no first-hand knowledge of the area, instead request a comprehensive solution to address conflict, safety and routing issues for all residents and businesses from the consultant;
  • Recognise residential zones on local roads must be provided protection as the most ‘sensitive use’.


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