The site chosen for my Streets Without Cars thesis research and design case study is Pigdon Street, with the stretch between Bowen Crescent to the west and Arnold Street to the east being the initial chosen site boundary. The approximately 280m long section of Pigdon Street is intersected by the north-south running Garton Street and Arnold Street, with two smaller unnamed laneways running north-south further intersecting the site.
Pigdon Street is bordered by a mixture of one and two story Victorian terraces, brick veneer and Californian Bungalow type dwellings to the north and south. The Victorian terraces are predominantly 5 – 7m wide and represent the largest portion of the overall building fabric. This area of Princes Hill is also predominantly residential, with the exception of the social housing units and large retirement home to the north east of the site, bordered by Holtom Street West, Arnold Street and Wilson Street. The Princes Hill Primary School in the north eastern corner of the site is the only other major building.
The site has a mixture of both well established and immature street trees. Pigdon Street has very well established Palm and Oak tree canopy cover. Although Arnold and Garton Streets have very limited tree cover, recently planted trees will provide additional canopy in the near future. The 35 properties facing onto Pigdon Street within the site do not seem to have sufficient private open space to support large trees in comparison with the properties further to the south.
This end of Pigdon Street has access to Princes Park to the west and and Park Street Park to the north, which creates a very visible and distinct visual and physical border to the site. As mentioned above, the properties along the Pigdon Street have very limited private open space, in particular the small Victorian terrace houses, which have little or no private gardens at all. It can be argued that the need for a private garden can be substituted with access to two of Melbourne’s great public parks, however they do stand in contrast to the properties to the south of the site, which all have very well established and extensive private gardens.
This area of Princes Hill does feel particularly green, with the immediate access to the public parks to the north and west, and extensive tree cover along Pigdon Street. The large nature strip running east-west also provides an additional green corridor running through the site.
With almost all properties having a rear laneway or alleway access to their garages, car parking does not seem to be an issue, with plenty of on-street car parking available. Although the site has limited non-resident car parking, with only small sections at the west end of Pigdon Street, and additional sections along Arnold and Garton Streets, there seems to be areas where a restriction has not been designated, implying free parking. This seems to be used by residents as their primary parking area, with their garages at rear being used for other private uses and additional private open space.
Major bicycle lane corridors run along Pigdon Street and Garton Street, with particularly wide and well separated bike lanes along the former. The Park Street bicycle path runs in the green corridor to the north of the site and is amongst the most used corridors within the Carlton North and Fitzroy areas.
The street profile along Pigdon Street is an interesting one, and as previously noted, one of the major reasons for my decision to choose the street in the first place. With a cross sectional width of 40.5m, Pigdon Street has reasonably wide 4.5m side walks on each side. The 12m wide central median strip is a unique feature of the site as it provides residents along Pigdon Street with a semi-public green open space. The road verge is also interesting, with 3.8m wide bicycle lanes being almost half a meter wider than the adjacent 3.4m wide car lanes. The asphalt itself represents 48% of the street’s cross sectional area, with side walks at 22% and the median strip at 30%. On the asphalt, it seems that the bicycle lanes are given the greatest share or priority.
Having conducted this detailed study along Pigdon Street, a number of initial research direction ideas and areas of opportunity were highlighted:
- The nature strip, which presents itself as a great green corridor running through the site, can be perhaps utilised further and become an important link to stitch together the other major green corridors to the north and west of the site.
- The lack of private gardens and private open space for the properties on Pigdon Street is also an area where research and community consultations could focus.
- The lack of commercial, hospitality and community oriented spaces is also an interesting character of this Princes Hill enclave, creating an opportunity to test and analyse the impact such uses may have on the chosen case study area. Or more broadly, why do they currently not exist within the site, and what type of building uses and typologies would residents rather have?
You can download a .pdf version of the above maps here (45Mb).
- Figure ground, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
- Building types.
- Tree types.
- Green space types.
- Green space and tree overlay.
- Street use.
- Site area.
- Street section.