Spring Street

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Spring Street is located in Fitzroy and runs between Kerr Street and Rose Street. Running parallel with Nicholson Street, it combines industrial, commercial, office and residential building types to generate a diverse street typology.

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With a width of 9m, Spring Street is primarily used by residents and businesses that face the street. A quiet street in the heart of Fitzroy, the site offers a great opportunity for redevelopment.

SPRING STREET

Rose Street and Kerr Street provide high volumes of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers that use them on a daily basis. With direct access from Nicholson Street and Smith Street, Spring Street is often forgotten about.

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Kerr Street is a much wider street at 20m, which enables higher volumes of traffic. It is a main street used as a thoroughfare between Nicholson and Smith Streets. It contains a mixture of residential and commercial building types.

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This is prevalent with Rose Street too, with the Rose Street Artists’ Market being held on Saturdays and Sundays. With this existing program so close to Spring Street, I aim to address their disconnection from one another.

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Characteristics that resonated with me in Spring Street were the combining elements from Fitzroy’s industrial history with the emergence of residential pockets that have been developed in spaces that are still otherwise operated for commercial use.

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Located in close proximity to Nicholson Street, Johnston Street and Smith Street, there is a merging of interesting urban elements, which were starting points in narrowing down my street selection.

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Vegetation is also an area that I am aiming to focus on, with a lack of green space in close proximity to the street. Scatterings of trees can be seen on surrounding streets, but they do not offer significant greening to the urban environment.

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Fitzroy typically utilises its main streets as social hubs, filled with commercial programme enabling community engagement. Residential development ties in to these streets to generate a diverse typology. I believe this philosophy can be carried into Spring Street to create a new establishment.

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In moving forward, I want to create an environment where residents and businesses can interact. Challenging the notion of place, Spring Street is an investment looking to the future, inviting the existing community to come together.


Image sources

  1. Spring Street view, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Site overview.
  3. Spring Street analysis.
  4. Surrounding streets overview.
  5. Kerr Street analysis.
  6. Rose Street analysis.
  7. Building typologies.
  8. Surrounding vegetation.
  9. Residential / industrial.
  10. Industrial / commercial.

Alexander Street

Street analysis

The part of the Langridge Ward within the City of Yarra which I have visited is bounded by Hoddle Street to the east, Victoria Street to the south, Wellington Street to the west and the Eastern Freeway / Alexandra Parade to the north. It contains a mix of residential typologies, with commercial and retail typologies along Johnston Street and a broad variety of industrial uses.

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The most common street typology featured a 12m wide road surface and 2m wide footpaths, with either parallel parking on both sides or a combination of parallel and diagonal parking.

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Typical street

The industrial street typology featured a one way 7m wide road surface and 1.5m wide footpaths, with parallel parking on one side and, depending on the land use, off street parking.

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Typical industrial street

Street selection

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Alexander Street has been selected for its relative tranquil atmosphere, a particularly quality given its proximity to both Hoddle Street and the Eastern Dreeway. It is somewhat unique, with a 22m fence to fence street width, which would be better suited to a more publicly oriented and less car dominated street. The northern end of the street terminates at a service lane connecting Hoddle Street to Alexandra Parade, which could potentially be manipulated to close off the street or permit one way traffic. Either scenario would greatly change the type of traffic entering the street. There is also a public park in a council-owned residential allotment in the middle of the street which is frequented by many of the residents. This indicates a desire for public recreational space among the community. For this reason Alexander Street will present the ideal location for my Streets Without Cars development project.

Vegetation mapping

In mapping the Langridge Ward, we researched and documented the location of public green space and street vegetation. The vegetation map below shows the public green space across the ward and corresponding usage and street trees.

20140915 alexander street #6

Observations:

  • Mature trees occur in well presented streets, perhaps due to a City of Yarra scheme that allocates funding towards maintenance of heritage listed mature trees.
  • Mature trees occur more frequently in wider streets. This is likely due to the selection of smaller trees in narrow streets which minimise property damage caused by tree roots.
  • The City of Yarra uses different species of trees in order to differentiate parts of the city, industrial, residential and commission housing.
  • We also noticed there was a distinct trend in the number of trees per block depending on the land use.

Number of trees per block (block = 5000sqm)
Industrial blocks = 3 trees
Main roads = 20 trees
Residential blocks =- 40 trees
Commission housing = 60 trees
Parks = 40 – 120 trees


Image sources

  1. Langridge Ward map, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Typical street.
  3. Typical industrial street.
  4. Alexander Street.
  5. Street selection.
  6. Vegetation map.

Rushall Crescent

Street analysis and selection

As with any design project of any nature, great design results come from a sensitive understanding of the sites with which we intervene. The unsolicited agenda of the Streets Without Cars study project in particular meant we were given the opportunity to select our own street to redesign as opposed to inheriting the site from a client. For me, the area I chose to investigate was a section of the Nicholls Ward in the City of Yarra that includes Collingwood, Fitzroy and North Fitzroy.

20140915 nicholls ward #1

Divided by Alexandra Parade and Smith Street, Collingwood, Fitzroy and North Fitzroy whilst geographically close, offer a distinct difference in street composition and street character. As expected, North Fitzroy is predominantly residential whilst Collingwood and Fitzroy share mixed representation between residential, industrial and retail streets.

20140915 nicholls ward #2

The diverse streets and industrial visual character made picking a Collingwood or Fitzroy street an enticing proposition. What’s not to love about adding a bit of polish to a run-down stretch of street and calling it a job well done? For whatever reason, riding through the streets of all three suburbs had me more partial to the northern side of Alexandra Parade, despite Collingwood and Fitzroy’s industrial charm.

North Fitzroy has the rare nature strip only every so often and yet, its streets feel greener. They’re most definitely wider in general, which on paper means more asphalt, but in conjunction with their large, mature trees means more canopy coverage and more generous space between buildings. And obviously, residential streets are more likely to be less dominated by car and public transport networks than busier retail streets. Strangely enough this makes wide residential streets an illogical product. Why have wider roads only to support less traffic volume? In the context of the project’s agenda however, this extra unnecessary width is a luxury – more space to win back for the pedestrian.

20140915 nicholls ward #3

Rushall Crescent

Rushall Crescent of North Fitzroy jumped out in particular because of its nature strips. There’s your standard 1200mm strip on the western residential side and a massive 10m behemoth of a nature strip on the opposite eastern side, adjacent to a gated retirement village. The road itself caters to cars, bikes and occasional buses, and offers plenty of on street parking – important in the context of North Fitzroy’s illusive to find garage or carport. It also happens to run parallel to the Merri Creek and directly link St. Georges and Brunswick Roads to Heidelberg Road, operating as a traffic highway between these areas. Talk about a confused stretch of asphalt. Or an overachieving stretch, your choice.

The generous nature strip in conjunction with its proximity to the Merri Creek (albeit separated by the retirement village) were Rushall Crescent’s most immediate drawcards, but it was the curious traffic conditions that sparked my enquiry most. Rushall Crescent is not your average residential street, which is why it was selected as the departure point for traffic analysis toward producing a propositional outcome.

What anomalies contribute to Rushall Crescent’s character? Why is it different to your average residential street? And how do these irregularities give us an opportunity to develop a distinctive proposition for Streets Without Cars relative to its individual context?

Note: due to subsequent traffic and community analysis, I made the decision to refocus my attention on the adjacent Falconer Street, which intersects with Rushall Crescent and runs south away from Rushall train station.


Image sources

  1. Street selection, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Street character.
  3. Street analysis.

Lulie Street

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Lesney Street

20140915 lesney street #1

Lesney Street is 270m long and runs east-west between Church and Mary Streets. It is intersected in the middle by Brighton Street, which runs south towards the Yarra River. The street is located next to a below-grade train line. The closest train station is East Richmond Station, which is located on the opposite side of Church Street.

The street is predominantly residential in character, with all 17 dwellings located on the south side of the street. Dwellings are a mixture of one and two storeys. On the north side of the street there is a narrow planting strip, then a step drop down to the train tracks. The street is 7m wide, 5m of which is asphalt. It is a one way street running from east to west. Close to the interaction with Brighton Street, there is a narrow footbridge over the train tracks that connects to Swan Street.

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Green embankment
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Pedestrian footbridge

Observations of the street and its context include:

  • Traffic along Church Street can be really busy, especially during peak hours.
  • Lesney Street receives traffic noise from cars, trams and trains.
  • The industrial and commercial buildings on the north side of the train embankment overshadow the residential area on the south side.
  • The green embankment bordering the train tracks is not properly maintained, with many plants appearing to be dead or dying.
  • There is potential in extending the street north past the embankment and repurposing this reclaimed space.
  • The pedestrian bridge is 2.8m wide and 30m in length. It is heavily used by pedestrians wanting to access Swan Street.

Image sources

  1. Lesney Street site plan, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Green embankment.
  3. Pedestrian footbridge.

Melba Ward analysis

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Melba Ward analysis:

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Building types
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Parks and trees

There are only two public parks / reserves located in this area, the Carin Reserve and Dame Nellie Melba Memorial Park. Carin Reserve is a small semi-public park with a modest playground.

20140915 melba ward #4
Transport

The area can be easily accessed by tram routes that run along Bridge Road, Church Street and Swan Street. There is no complete bike route within the residential area, however low car speed makes it generally safe to cycle.

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Street types

The area is a residential pocket bordered by commercial main streets, and can be easily accessed by car or tram.

20140915 melba ward #2

This part of the Melba Ward is bordered by Bridge Road to the north, Church Street to the east, Burnley Street to the west and Swan Street to the south. It consists of mainly residential buildings, with a perimeter of commercial buildings facing onto the main streets.

Other observations include:

  • Parallel parking is the most commonly used parking type.
  • The majority of streets are planted with trees.
  • Street types are mostly residential streets and laneways.

The residential area is located adjacent to busy main roads and likely receive traffic noise from cars and trams. There are few parks and green areas, limiting local residents’ opportunities for outdoor activities. The commercial perimeter of the study area provides convenient access for residents to cafes and shops.


Image sources

  1. Site map, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Building types.
  3. Parks and trees.
  4. Transport.
  5. Street types.
  6. Analysis. 

Burnley Street

I have picked Burnley Street, Richmond, as my Streets Without Cars project site, comprising the east and west lengths of the street running either side of the Burnley Street overpass.

East Burnley Street

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DT-street analysis

West Burnley Street

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DT-street analysis

Site location and surroundings

Burnley Street is interestingly sandwiched between a big parcel of industrial area to the west and a residential area to the east.

Model

The street comprises the southern section of Burnley Street either side of an overpass connecting at the sound end to Barkly Avenue and CityLink. The northern end of the street intersects with Madden Grove, which is heavily used by car traffic to skip busy Swan Street, and access Swan Street or the city more rapidly.

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Street Plan

Model

Quick facts about the site:

  • It is divided into two one-way routes: an industrial street heading north and residential street heading south.
  • Both sections have medium traffic flow, but intersect with busy main streets to the north and south.
  • There is substantial car parking on both sides, plus an additional area under the overpass bridge.
  • The streets operate as a social boundary between the adjacent residential and industrial areas.
  • Athol J. Brown Reserve in the northeast corner of the site is rarely used.

Details of site

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20140916 burnley street #9


Image sources

  1. Panaroma of East Burnley Street, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. East Burnley Street.
  3. Photo of West Burnley Street.
  4. West Burnley Street.
  5. Site surroundings.
  6. Street location.
  7. Site plan.
  8. Photos of area under the bridge.
  9. Photos of site details.

Melba Ward analysis

20141002 melba ward #1

Looking at 46 major and minor streets (excluding unnamed lanes) within the southeast section of Melba Ward, a number of observations can be made:

  • The south end of this zone is split by the east-west train line, segregating it from the rest of the Richmond / Burnley area. Flyovers, bridges and subways have been built to restitch the two parts, but there is still a significantly lower level of social outdoor activities within the southern area.
  • A large portion of the southern area has been industrialised, with larger scale factories, warehouses and enterprises compared to the single / double storey houses of the north. Through the typologies mapping of the area, a variety of uses were observed.
  • CityLink is built along the south edge of the Melba Ward, between it and the river. This has caused many green areas e.g. the Main Yarra Trail to lose their direct connection to the local residential community. Many streets e.g. Barkly Avenue, Burnley Street and Loyale Grove, have been built specifically to connect Richmond with the toll road. These cause heavy traffic (especially commercial trucks ) to move through the area daily.

20141002 melba ward #2

 

You can download a .pdf of my Melba Ward analysis here (14Mb).


Image sources

  1. Key Plan of Melba Ward, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Overall Impression of Melba Ward.

Railway and Brunswick Streets

Railway Street in Fitzroy North sits perpendicular to Brunswick Street and directly parallel to Holden Street. The street contains private residences on the northern side and public parking along the southern side which abuts a public green space and cycling track.

20140911 railway and brunswick #1

What attracted me to this quiet, one way street was the potential of the underutilised grassed area next to it. I was curious about the remnants of an old railway line which sporadically appeared within the green space, like a wound splitting the ground.[1]

20140911 railway and brunswick #2

I questioned the apparent lack of interaction with this public grassed area from residents whose properties line Railway Street. The consideration of this grassed space as an extension of Railway Street led me to also include the adjacent section of Brunswick Street in my analysis and future proposal space.

20140911 railway and brunswick #3

There are 17 dwellings along Railway Street, however only 6 of these have a Railway Street address. The remaining residences face onto Brunswick, Holden or Porter Streets. Opposite Railway Street is a heritage listed former electric railway substation. Up until recently the building functioned as an elderly residential village, Casa Elda Vaccari hostel, run by Southern Cross Care. The building was sold in June 2014 and has since remained vacant.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The following images are a series of mapping studies representing the characteristics of the street:

20140911 railway and brunswick #5

2 CAR+BIKE+PED+BUILDINGS

5 BUILDING FOOTPRINT

4 BUILDING TYPES

5 BUILDING FOOTPRINT

5 BUILDING FOOTPRINT

5 BUILDING FOOTPRINT


Footnote

  1. Architect and academic, Nigel Bertram, gave a lecture recently (18th August 2014) for the Australian Institute of Architects, entitled Urbanism: The Fine Grain. In it he spoke about his project, Box Hill Gardens, a small scale urban design project that repurposes bricks from an existing building on site. This project is a strong example of embedding the history of a site into a new masterplan.

Image sources

  1. Railway Street, sourced from Streets Without Cars; Nicholls Ward analysis.
  2. Unused railway track, copyright of author.
  3. Brunswick Street, sourced from Streets Without Cars; Nicholls Ward analysis.
  4. Former Casa Elda Vaccari building, 863 Brunswick Street Fitzroy North, copyright of author.
  5. Street dimensions, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  6. Car, bicycle and pedestrian lanes.
  7. Car parking.
  8. Building types.
  9. Building footprints.
  10. Street and private trees.
  11. Parks and gardens.