A less-disrupted life in the city

By David Schout

Ever been blocked from accessing your CBD residence during a public event, without prior notification? Or caught unaware by noisy construction work?

How the City of Melbourne communicates with the public during city disruptions could be changing.

The council has sought the views of CBD residents, workers and business owners about how it can better communicate during times of inconvenience.

In a four-week period throughout May and June, council project workers and consultants sought the views of various affected parties in the first step towards developing “digital solutions to help people navigate city disruption”.

The workshops and interviews that took place had the ultimate aim of “improving how city works are planned and co-ordinated”.

In a workshop attended by CBD News on May 24, respondents were asked to think of various scenarios where they have been inconvenienced during a disruption.

These included public transport interruptions, roadblocks during public events and unannounced construction work impacting everyday life.

From there, ideas were sought on how the council could better communicate planned disruptions, giving locals and workers the opportunity to plan around the disturbance.

Jenny Eltham, president of CBD residents’ group EastEnders, was one of the workshop attendees and expressed frustration at a lack of prior warning before large CBD events that prevent access to the roads and streets required to enter a residence.

“I think, ‘well why can’t I go to my own home’?” she said. “There are situations when we don’t know it’s happening and we need to go home.”

Another source of irritation centred on continued unannounced construction work.

“One of the things EastEnders has been frustrated with is the absolute random digging up of pavements for a variety of reasons,” Ms Eltham said. “The noise and disruption is ongoing.”

Several attendees expressed a preference for the City of Melbourne website to be the first port of call for updates and ideas on how to navigate disturbances.

Council project workers told attendees the aim of canvassing public opinion was “the first step” in creating an information service or portal that works for everyone, something they acknowledged was a “difficult task”.

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