Koonda Lat Pipe Bridge Crossing Merri Creek

Koonda Lat Pipe Bridge Crossing Merri Creek

Monday, September 15, 2014

Garage Sale SUNDAY 21 Sept 10-3pm

Hi All

Sally and I are organising a garage sale for this Sunday 21st September from 10-3pm.  Come and join in you never know who/what we might attract.  Outside 13-15 Bridge Street.
The sale is advertised on Gumtree already.  Unfortunately we clash with the climate change march in town - but some can go there and others stay here.

Cheers

Anne-Marie and Sally

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Plot, Plot, Scheme, Scheme - Landscaping the Precinct

"Muahaha, muahahahahahaha" was the general thrust of this meeting at Paul and Mandy's place
Earlier this year, a group from Bridge St met to get together an application for the "Transforming Darebin Streetscape Competition."  The competition was to have a street in each of the wards of Darebin - ours is Rucker - designed and landscaped by Wes Fleming of Fleming's Nurseries.  Sadly, we didn't get the guernsey, but here is the thrust of the concept we submitted, albeit broadened to take in our whole neighbourhood:

The gardeners among us have found that regularly being at the front of one’s property, caring for or otherwise chilling out beside a garden bed, vastly increases opportunities for positive, casual interaction between neighbours.  We would like to consolidate our recent efforts to better know one another through establishing a neighbourhood landscape to care for together.

NEEDS

The new residents of the Parade Apartments will have little private open space and garden areas to enjoy and will benefit immensely through an attractive communal open space on the street.  They will also find more opportunity to get to know their neighbours through ad-hoc interaction and community working bees convened to maintain and further develop the landscape of the street.

While both the Station precinct and the Creek are developing an attractive landscape of mostly indigenous species, the streets that links the two physically and visually - Bridge, Charles, Union and South Park Streets - are mostly populated with Crimson Bottlebrush callistemons and ageing paperbarks near the end of their life cycle.  These combine to present a dry, exposed, monotonous streetscape with little shade, variety or visual interest, with a few exceptions.  The habitat is a monoculture and encourages only a narrow range of fauna.  The road reserve is wide and the combined pavement and bitumen creates a significant “heat island” effect in summer, while the absence of overhead canopies provides little shelter from the elements in other seasons.

With the closure of access to Charles Street by north-bound traffic on Merri Parade, all streets in our neighbourhood are increasingly an avenue for through-traffic, particularly in peak hours.  While Council has offered some welcome assistance through threshold treatments and other design solutions, further assistance is required in signaling to drivers that the area is residential, requiring a respectful, low speed transition of local traffic.  This will be particularly necessary with the doubling in local population this year and the commensurate increase in residential traffic.

VISION:

SHADE:

We would like shady avenues with substantial, interlinking tree canopies over the road to provide relief from the elements and attract bird life, linking the Merri Creek with the Merri Common as a walking route for pedestrians and a foraging route for local species.  

CHARACTER:

We would like significant specimen trees to soften the impact of the high-rise development, provide habitat and deliver a ‘precinct’ character to our neighbourhood.  In some places, we would like to replace the lawn of our nature strips with dense, hardy indigenous ground covers, shrubs and features to increase the interest and attractiveness of our landscape while minimizing maintenance requirements.  We would like to alter the regimented lines of the streets to incorporate more curves and irregular features, breaking sight lines from one end of the street to the other and creating visual interest.  Likewise, we would like foot paths to meander in the landscape.  We would like footpaths and roadways to receive similar material treatments to provide consistency in design and indicate to drivers that the area has a mixed-use purpose (cars, bikes, scooters, pets, kids, pedestrians) and a traffic-calming requirement.

SHARED UTILITY:

We would particularly like to retain formal lawns at the eastern end of Bridge Street to accommodate the train replacement bus stops and use by neighbourhood kids.  We would like to utilize the run-off from our rooftops to feed rain-garden beds and swales to help maintain nature strip vegetation and slow the progress of stormwater through the precinct.  We would like to establish areas for children, families and pet owners to enjoy open spaces through small play and recreation areas.  We would like to accommodate roadside spaces for bin collection and adequate access to vehicles.  We would like to optimise car parking in the new landscape through clearly delineated bays to maximize capacity for residents in this increasingly high-density area.  

So Now What?

Since we've missed out on being led by the hand through the process by Wes Fleming (dang it), we need to establish whether this is something we'd all like to do off our own bats, either for our individual streets or as a whole community.  

Council have encouraged us to do so and have provided us with some guidelines under the "GreenStreets Streetscape Strategy 2012-2020."  It's basically a framework for designing, planning and then getting permission to alter the nature strips and street trees in our streets - I've added links in the sidebar to further details.  Beyond this, we can work with the Council's traffic department to work out parking bays, restrictions and any proposed changes to the shapes of our streets.

I'm going to put this out there to the Bridge St residents, but wanted the broader group to know also - if you're interested, and you have enough neighbours on your street who are also interested, we can combine our efforts to get things planned and completed.  Let me know your thoughts (comments below, or to the email address in the header).