The World Heritage listed Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens are a magnificent Melbourne asset, but their position on the edge of the CBD, where busy bike routes converge, has been, well, awkward.
For a start they situated plumb in the middle of the Queensberry Street-Gertrude Street connection between the Yarra and the Moonee Ponds Creek, and there has never been a proper connection across the Gardens.
On the west side, the hectic route along Rathdowne Street has its natural space commandeered by car parking.
Across on the other side of the Gardens, bikes and pedestrians are duking it out on the share path along the footpath, a serious niggle for all concerned.
And then, at the south end, there is a forlorn section of shared path on the footpath to get bikes from the end of La Trobe Street through to Nicholson Street.
All very messy.
The opportunity to sort this all out has arrived in the form of the review of the Carlton Gardens Master Plan.
As a World Heritage listed site, these reviews are mandatory every seven years, and significantly, the area surrounding the site is also required to be part of the analysis.
This means that the problems that exist on Rathdowne and Nicholson, as well as between Queensberry and Gertrude, can be recognised, and incorporated into future planning.
It is no doubt the case that these problems are on the City of Melbourne’s radar, probably already the subject of conceptual solutions.
It would be great for riders, and all users of the precinct, if this master planning opportunity could tie these elects together and formalise a solution.
And one final thing. There is part of the heritage of this area that has been forgotten, or maybe suppressed — it was once the place for bike racing.
Surely there must be some way that this heritage can be recognised?
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