Lulie Street traffic conclusions

The traffic survey undertaken for Lulie Street, Abbotsford, identified three significant patterns.

First, the majority of the traffic using Lulie Street passes through, compared with arriving at or departing the street. Only a small percentage of vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian journeys start or finish within the site area.

  • During peak periods, 94% of all traffic passes through the street. This equates to 546 of 582 vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians each hour.
  • During off-peak periods, 82% of all traffic passes through. This equates to 166 of 202 vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians each hour.

20141002 lulie traffic conclusions #1

Secondly, the predominant mode of transport using the street is the car.

  • During peak periods, 65% of all traffic, whether passing through, arriving at or departing the street are cars. This equates to 378 of 582 total users each hour.
  • During off-peak periods, 56% of all traffic, whether passing through, arriving at or departing the street are cars. This equates to 114 of 202 total users each hour.

20141002 lulie traffic conclusions #2

Thirdly, there is very little difference between the volumes of traffic travelling south towards Johnston Street and north towards the Eastern Freeway. Peak and off-peak times demonstrate relatively even percentages of traffic travelling in both directions.

  • During peak periods, 58% of all traffic travels south towards Johnston Street and 42% north towards the Eastern Freeway.
  • During off-peak periods, 46% of all traffic travels south towards Johnston Street and 54% north towards the Eastern Freeway.

20141002 lulie traffic conclusions #3

The following conclusions were established based on my observations:

  • There is a significantly lower volume of vehicles and bicycles arriving at or departing Lulie Street, as opposed to passing through. This indicates that Lulie Street is primarily used as a thoroughfare. Perhaps the street is used as an alternative route to avoid the traffic congestion on Hoddle Street.
  • Despite Lulie Street’s close proximity to Victoria Park train station, the street is dominated by vehicle use with cars being the most common form of transport along the street.
  • The volumes of traffic travelling towards Johnston Street and the Eastern Freeway are similar, supporting the notion that Lulie Street is often used as a rat run.
  • Vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian movement through the street is considerably higher during peak times than off-peak times. Based on my observations, around 8.00 – 9.30am would be considered morning peak and around 4.30 – 6.00pm evening peak. The majority of vehicles that arrive at the street park along it or in the $4 per day car park in the morning and then catch the train.

Image sources

  1. Traffic arriving, passing through and departing, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
  2. Volumes of bicycles, vehicles and pedestrians.
  3. Direction of traffic flow.

Lulie Street traffic analysis

The following data was collected during 6 x 1 hour observation sessions of Lulie Street, Abbotsford, conducted over a one week period in late August.

20141002 lulie street traffic #1

The traffic survey identified the number of vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians passing through, arriving at or departing the street. The direction in which people were traveling was recorded; towards the Eastern Freeway (north bound) or towards Johnston Street (south bound). More detailed information was also collected, including the average time spent in the street and the average speed at which people were passing through. The accompaniment of pets and prams was also noted.

Image source

  1. Traffic survey data, copyright the author.

Lulie Street

20140915 lulie street #1

Lulie Street in Abbotsford runs north-south, parallel with the Hurstbridge train line and Hoddle Street. Victoria Park oval is situated on the east side of the street and is bound by Abbot and Turner Street. At the north end, the street curves to the right (becoming Maugie Street) where it borders the Eastern Freeway and at the south end it intersects with Johnston Street.

The surrounding context of Lulie Street is made up of a mixture of residential, commercial and industrial land uses.

20140915 lulie street #2

Lulie Street is 420m long. There are 3 streets (Maugie Street, Abbot Street and Turner Street) and 2 narrow laneways (Federation Lane and Little Turner Street) that enter Lulie Street from the east. There are 16 dwellings that front onto the street, each house a two storey Victorian terrace.

The street is approximately 20m wide, 14m of which is dedicated to north and south bound vehicle and bicycle lanes, and a mixture of parallel and perpendicular car parking. Mature oak trees are planted within the asphalt along the west side of the street. Overhead power lines run along the street on both sides.

20140915 lulie street #3

The Study Area

I have chosen to focus on the section of Lulie Street between Abbot Street and Turner Street for my Streets Without Cars studio project.

20140915 lulie street #4

There is a long strip of land owned by VicTrack running along the west side of Lulie Street. The space is currently used for the storage of rail materials and equipment, the delivery of parcels and goods (Victoria Park Freight Centre) and $4 per day parking. There may also be plans to delay the development of the land in preparation for the proposed Doncaster rail.

Based on my observations, I believe there is a severe divorce between the Victoria Park train station and Victoria Park oval. I am interested in strengthening and enriching the connection between the two by introducing more community-focused uses in the area.

20140915 lulie street #5

Ian Shears from the City of Melbourne spoke to the studio about the function of streets, and presented us with case studies that encapsulate the key characteristics of a well-designed street. Ian recommended that we choose untapped and under-utilised streets for our design interventions in order to explore their potential as rich and engaging streets. This advice has fuelled my street selection.

I believe Lulie Street has great potential for more community use and can play a more central role in enhancing connections with the area’s beloved Victoria Park.

Image sources

  1. View of Lulie Street facing north, copyright the author.
  2. Aerial view of Lulie Street and surrounding context, copyright NearMap.
  3. Experiential photos of Lulie Street (1), copyright the author.
  4. Proposed study area of Lulie Street, copyright NearMap.
  5. Experiential photos of Lulie Street (2), copyright the author.

Langridge Ward analysis

Our Streets Without Cars studio was divided into three groups, each assigned to one of the three wards within the City of Yarra: Nicholls, Langridge and Melba.

DT-research activity #3

I chose to investigate the Langridge Ward, which includes the suburbs of Collingwood, Abbotsford, Clifton Hill, Fairfield and Alphington. The overall character of the ward differs from suburb to suburb, with main roads signalling a change in atmosphere between areas. As is expected, urban densification increases the closer one reaches the city, which means there are higher levels of open, green space located within the more suburban areas.

The following categories of information were analysed as a group over the entire Langridge ward:

  • Street types – There is a higher density of streets towards Melbourne’s CBD. Hoddle Street is the main arterial that runs in the north-south direction and the Eastern Freeway is the primary route in the area for east-west traffic movement.
  • Building types – The most common building type within the ward is residential, although relatively high levels of mixed use buildings are dispersed throughout. Building types are often clustered, with greater volumes of commercial, retail and industrial buildings located closer to the city.
  • Locations of parks – There is greater public green space in the north of the ward, such as Yarra Bend Park and other nature reserves surrounding the Yarra River and Merri Creek. Mature trees occur more frequently in wider streets, so as to prevent root damage to properties and roads.
  • Public transport networks – Suburbs closer to the city with denser road networks are serviced by more public transport routes. The outer suburbs to the north of the ward are more reliant on cars, as public transport opportunities are fewer.

Each ward was further divided into approximately 40-60 streets amongst each group member. I chose to examine a Section 1 (see image below), which encompasses parts of Alphington and Clifton Hill. We were then able to conduct detailed street analysis surveys for our given section, which involved photographic, sectional, dimensions, planting, parking and building types surveys.

20140915 langridge ward #2

After visiting and recording information about the streets within my given section, I have chosen Lulie Street in Abbotsford for my Streets Without Cars studio project.

20140915 langridge ward #3

A .pdf file showing all street analysis surveys from Section 1 can be viewed and downloaded here (12Mb).

Image sources

  1. City of Yarra wards, copyright Warwick Mihaly.
  2. Langridge Ward, copyright the author.
  3. Lulie Street, copyright the author.

Federation Square and Birrarung Marr

Federation Square

Jeff Kennett, former premier of Victoria, announced an architectural design competition in 1997 for a new civic square in Melbourne, which received 177 entries from around the world. The aim of the project was to better connect Flinders Street to the Yarra River and to complement the neighbouring heritage buildings.

20140825 birrarung marr #1

The winner of the competition was LAB Architecture Studio. Originally estimated to cost between $110 and $128 million, the project experienced repeated cost blow outs and construction delays. The final cost of the project was over four times the initial budget, coming in at approximately $467 million. Construction began in 1998 and the building opened in 2002.

20140825 birrarung marr #2

Federation Square has been described as being part of a deconstructivist style; post-modern architecture that involves the manipulation and distortion of the structure.

Champion's Bar at Fed Square.

Demonstrated throughout the design of the square, director of LAB Donald Bates places emphasis on various aspects of human interactivity. The square is enveloped by the surrounding buildings in order to create a sense of intimacy and security. Buildings are designed with multiple axis points; each entrance serving as a transition zone, encouraging a more “incidental and accidental passage”.[1]

20140825 birrarung marr #4

The materials used are bluestone that matches the footpaths in Melbourne and ochre-coloured sandstone blocks from Western Australia that invoke a sense of the Australian outback. Various local artists designed pieces for the project, such as the plaza paving, which was designed as a huge urban artwork by artist, Paul Carter.

20140825 birrarung marr #5

Facilities within Federation Square include:

  • Melbourne Visitor Centre – contains an interactive news display promoting current events.
  • The Edge – theatre space that seats 450 people.
  • Zinc – event and function centre.
  • National Gallery of Victoria – houses Australian art collections.
  • Australian Centre for the Moving Image – 2 cinemas and interactive presentations.
  • Transport Hotel Bar – 3 storey restaurant, bar and lounge.
  • SBS – television and radio headquarters.
  • Melbourne Festival Headquarters.


Awarded the “World’s Fifth Ugliest Building” in 2009 by Virtual Tourist, many people took a dislike to the aesthetics of the newly built project. Over time Melbournians have learned to love the building, as evidenced by the 80 million plus people who have visited it since it opened.[2] Also a sign that public opinion is changing, Federation Square made an appearance on The Atlantic Cities’ 2011 list of “10 Great Central Plazas and Squares”.

Birrarung Marr

Formally a rail yard, Birrarung Marr is an inner-city park created as a result of the reorganisation of infrastructure and land uses near Federation Square. The site is a contemporary landscape consisting of dramatic earth forms, formalised water courses, feature display planting and linking bridge structures.[3]

20140825 birrarung marr #7

Costing approximately $15.6 million to construct, Birrarung Marr was established through a joint venture with the City of Melbourne and the State Government of Victoria. Construction began in 2000 and the park opened in 2002.

20140825 birrarung marr #8

The area encompasses 8 hectares of land and is described as a “festival park” that can accommodate sporting and cultural events, such as Circus Oz and Moomba.

20140825 birrarung marr #9

Birrarung Marr was imagined as a series of open terraces, each with a robust surface to accommodate different events, such as grass, gravel and shell-grit.

20140825 birrarung marr #10

The park contains:

  • Federation Bells – inverted bells controlled by computer that sound 3 times a day.
  • Speaker’s Corner – historically used for public lectures, protests and demonstrations.
  • ArtPlay – historical railway building converted into a children’s art and cultural centre where workshops are held.
  • William Barak Bridge – allows pedestrian access over CityLink and railways.
  • Angel – sculpture by artist, Deborah Halpern.

20140825 birrarung marr #11

Federation Square East Development

An extremely sought-after piece of land, according to a list compiled by the industry group of 20 publicly owned Melbourne properties, Federation Square East is worth $4.6 billion.

20140825 birrarung marr #12

LAB Architecture Studio were commissioned by the state government to propose a design that utilised the space above the Jolimont rail yards. The design included a market hall, retail outlets, a corner hotel and commercial developments surrounding a major green urban park used for festivals, exhibitions and entertainment. The proposal was modelled on Chicago’s Millennium Park, a big tourist attraction also developed in order to cover an unsightly rail yard and to connect a body of water to the city. Opposition leader at the time, Ted Baillieu, ridiculed the proposed redevelopment. A flythrough of LAB’s proposal can be viewed here.

20140825 birrarung marr #13

Donald Bates believes that allowing developers to take over the site will not benefit Melbourne in the long run: “I think the government has been trying to look at ways to develop it without spending any public money, but I think there is a risk of an over-commercialised project.”[3]

Controversy over a new public design proposal is not always a bad thing. Community reaction can spark conversation between stakeholder groups regarding the creation of spaces that address the needs of the users. Similar to the principals adopted by Streets Without Cars, this dialogue results in a deeper understanding of community character and in turn, makes for a more versatile design.


  1. Scott McQuire and Nikos Papastergiadis; The Evolution of Federation Square; Australian Design Review; October 2012
  2. Ibid.
  3. Melbourne CBD Waterfront. Birrarung Marr, Federation Square. Australia; A + T Architecture Publishers; May 2012
  4. Aisha Dow; Federation Square extension plan unveiled; The Age; November 2013

Image sources

  1. Aerial view of the south of Melbourne’s CBD, copyright Michael Evans.
  2. Aerial view of Federation Square, copyright the author.
  3. Champion’s Bar at Federation Square, copyright the author.
  4. Time Out Cafe at Federation Square, copyright Fed Square Pty Ltd.
  5. Federation Square tiles, copyright Farsouth.
  6. SBS Headquarters, copyright Donaldytong.
  7. Aerial view of Birrarung Marr, copyright John Gollings, Ron Jones and the State Library of Victoria.
  8. Shell-grit surface at Birrarung Marr, copyright Ben Wrigley and Swaney Draper.
  9. Birrarung Marr, copyright Luke Tscharke.
  10. Children’s Play, copyright City of Melbourne.
  11. Federation Bells, copyright James Henry.
  12. Google Earth map of the south of Melbourne’s CBD, copyright the author.
  13. Chicago Millennium Park, copyright the author.