Melbourne City Council has been trialling a partial closure of Elizabeth St as a proposed open public space closing a single direction of the closest block to Flinders St (Station). But as implemented it’s making less room room for pedestrians rather than more.
At the terminus of the tram tracks the intersection of Elizabeth and Flinders Streets are a pedestrian dominated environment with the all-ways crossing moving people in and out of Melbourne’s main train station. With overcrowding of the footpaths throughout the day this could have been an opportunity to reclaim some space but instead the “park” intentionally prevented through movement of pedestrians with a congested layout and a long line of fences corralling the area.
Rails were placed similarly when the road was open to separate pedestrians transferring from trams and the through traffic.
With the area supposedly a “pedestrian space” it seems ridiculous to block access to the trams but a larger fence was installed the entire length of the block. As a terminus the trams are travelling slowly and if it was necessary to demarcate the space clearly and prevent people running across the tracks a line of fences with gaps between could have put the message across instead of forcing all passengers to squeeze through the narrow walkways against the tram.
Hopefully after the building works are completed something more practical can be designed for the space with enough space for the cyclists to dismount and walk across to the station, not like this brazen cyclist ignoring the signs and just pushing through.