By Sean Car
CBD North residents continue to express concerns over the City of Melbourne’s proposed road and traffic changes as part of its renewal of Queen Victoria Market (QVM).
It comes after the council issued a public notice in September to discontinue parts of Franklin and Queen streets, which will form part of the future mixed-use southern development site on Franklin St and provide new market infrastructure on Queen St.
The changes would also see the removal of the roundabout at the intersection of Franklin and Queen streets, and Franklin St (between Queen and William streets) become a single, westbound-only lane.
The council also announced on October 14 that it would be starting community consultation on the use of Market Square – a new 1.5-hectare public open space on the land occupied by the current market car park. The community’s input will help shape a charter to design and manage the space.
The southern development site on Franklin St will feature a high-rise development including shops, commercial space, apartments, community facilities and 500 market car parks on freehold land. An additional 500 market car parks are currently being built into the Munro Development on the corner of Queen and Therry streets.
A submission to council signed by some 35 local residents last month expressed major concerns with what it described as a “failure to account for the impact of traffic congestion and pedestrian conflict.”
“Council has revealed no traffic strategy to manage the changed circumstances for these streets under this proposal, particularly in light of the massive development that has occurred around the market precinct in the past decade with more residential and business buildings under construction or being planned,” the submission stated. “It also fails to take account of the popularity of the weekly night markets, which draw large crowds and heavy traffic usage of the existing at-grade carpark.”
Local resident Bob Evans, one of the 35 or so to have signed the submission, said the council’s current plans, in addition to ongoing development of CBD North, made for “a recipe for congestion.”
“I can’t see it playing out well and all I can see it doing is adding to congestion because none of the roads out of the market in this proposed plan are going to solve that problem,” he said.
“We need to protect the amenity of the area. It’s really going to be problematic I think and we want the council to actually step back for a minute and to have a harder think about the bigger picture of the market in context of its vicinity and the residents.”
A regular shopper at the market since 2001, Mr Evans also questioned the council’s approach to consultation on matters relating to it renewal.
“We literally heard about it [proposed road changes] two days before the public notice came out,” he said.
“While there is talk of consultation, it’s not an open conversation and it would be much more helpful for everybody concerned if the council could be more open about what their plans are.”
The Market Square charter will be open for community input until November 1.
This initial round of consultation will be followed by a second round of community consultation in the first half of 2020 on the design of Market Square. To have your say visit participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/queenvictoriamarket