Melba Ward analysis

In order to better understand the context in which we were designing Streets Without Cars, the studio collectively documented every street in the City of Yarra. Each student was given an area to map and document in order to learn as much as they can about the nature of the streets in the area. Once this research was complete, each student was to pick a street from this area to be a street without cars.

The map below shows the City of Yarra in the context of Melbourne.

20140909 melba ward S4 #1

Students divided into groups that would each tackle a district within the City of Yarra. My group was given the Melba Ward which is identified on the map below.

20140909 melba ward S4 #2

The group then divided their districts further into pieces that would be explored by individuals. My area, show on the map below, runs up the northeast side of Melba. It includes a large part of Richmond and a little slice of Burnley.

20140909 melba ward S4 #3

The first task was to map the parks, trees, property types, transport routes and road types in this area.

20140909 melba ward S4 #4

20140909 melba ward S4 #5

20140909 melba ward S4 #6

20140909 melba ward S4 #7

From this study we can see that there are a variety of parks that dominate the western side of the site. This means that many of the houses in my area are within walking distance to nice, usable park lands. This suggests that a Streets Without Cars project in this district is not required to fulfil functions the existing local parks already provide.

Around 70% of the property in the area is for residential use. However, what is interesting is the commercial activity in the northern areas, and how they are mixed in with residential properties. Perhaps a Streets Without Cars intervention in this area could capitalise on this mixed use zoning.

The primary transport use in this area is via car. What little public transport is available is only on main roads. However, given the shape of the area, this means that most places are within walking distance of public transport.

The next task was to document the streets in this area in finer detail. The streets were analysed by drawing 1:200 sections and noting information about each street, like the extent of parking, trees and bike lanes.

Analysis of every street from my area of the Melba Ward in .pdf format (16Mb) can be accessed here.

The detailed street analysis showed that:

  • The average street width is 9.7m.
  • The average asphalt width is 6.7m.
  • All streets (excluding alleyways) have footpaths.
  • 60% of streets have parking.
  • If a street has parking, there is an 80% chance it is parallel parking.
  • Only 3% of streets have dedicated bike lanes.
  • 40% of the streets have trees.
  • Around 75% of trees are mature. The remaining 25% are young trees.

Image sources

  1. City of Yarra location, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
  2. Melba location.
  3. Study area.
  4. Parks and trees.
  5. Property types.
  6. Transport types.
  7. Road types.