Spencer Street could be closed to tackle ‘dangerous’ intersection

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Tributes for Josie Edden, who died after being hit by a garbage truck last year. Photo: Penny Stephens The corner of Collins and Spencer streets, where young barista Josie Edden died last year. Photo: Eddie Jim
Nanjing Night Net

Melbourne City Council planners will investigate closing parts of Spencer Street at the “dangerous” Southern Cross Station intersection.

The council will spend $750,000 on a master plan to improve pedestrian safety at the busy junction of Collins and Spencer streets, where young barista Josie Edden was killed last year after falling into the path of a garbage truck.

Lord mayor Robert Doyle said Town Hall was already working with Metro Trains to reopen a historic pedestrian tunnel that runs from the station, underneath Spencer Street, to Little Collins Street.

“I think that would be a great thing to do, to use a piece of infrastructure like that to move people into the city without them risking that intersection,” Cr Doyle said.

“I think we all know regrettably of that awful tragedy of that young woman who was killed on that corner. You’d hate to think – was that an avoidable death?”

The Spencer and Collins intersection has been identified as one of the most severely overcrowded locations in central Melbourne.

On weekday, between 8am and 9am, more than 4000 travel through it – a rate that is comparable only to intersections near Flagstaff and Flinders stations.

Council planners will talk to VicRoads about creating more space for pedestrians by closing down one of two lanes travelling in each direction on Spencer Street.

They will also explore the closing the road for a couple of hours during peak periods, with vehicles being diverted through Wurundjeri Way or elsewhere.

But on Thursday the lord mayor said he thought even a partial road closure would be “pretty hard” given Spencer Street’s role as a major conduit to the inner west.

Widening pedestrian crossings and redesigning tram stops are more likely to be adopted. The operators of Southern Cross Station will be approached about removing the glass wall which separates the station from most of Spencer Street, improving direct access to Little Collins.

The plan was outlined as part of the council’s 2016-2017 budget, which despite coming in a council election year, was dubbed “very responsible” and “a bit boring for an election budget” by councillors.

The big spend was $8.45 million towards the revamp of the Queen Victoria Market.

It is the council’s first budget since the state government introduced its controversial 2.5 per cent rate capping policy.

However thousands of property owners in the central city will still experience massive increases, well above 2.5 per cent, due to rapidly-rising property values in their area.

For example in Kensington residential property prices increased annually by 10.4 per cent and in North Melbourne they increased by 7.9 per cent annually.

For more information on the budget, or to have your say, visit melbourne.vic.gov419论坛/budget.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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