We led a consortium to develop a traffic management plan designed to minimise the impact of motor vehicles on the Moonee Ponds Activity Centre, on the edge of inner Melbourne. Our work included the development of a set recommendations to better integrate bus and train travel, relocate car parking into the least damaging areas of the activity centre and create a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly centre.

The Moonee Ponds Activity Centre (MPAC) is rapidly transforming into a high density residential and commercial centre. Its wealth of public transport options and its position on the edge of Inner Melbourne underpins the interest in MPAC’s growth.

Moonee Valley, as part of a Pilot Program with the State Government, has undertaken work to identify opportunities to improve MPAC’s role as a Major Activity Centre. This Strategic Transport Plan outlines a long-term vision for the future transport network of MPAC that aligns with the aspirations outlined in MV2040. This Strategic Transport Plan provided a suite of options to enhance the quality of the public realm, provide more green space, greater opportunity to linger and relax and an easier, more attractive place to walk, cycle and connect with public transport.

Our assessment of the Moonee Ponds Activity Centre (MPAC)

The entire MPAC street network is a legacy of a past era in which motor vehicle traffic was the priority. The road space allocated to motor vehicles, and the prioritisation they receive at intersections, combined with the intrusion of car parking threatens the current and future liveability and sustainability of the MPAC.

  • Car parking supply is greater than existing demand, with almost 30% of spaces empty during peak demand.
  • Many of the intersections are at capacity already and the quadrupling of the MPAC residential population by 2040 means existing car use levels cannot be maintained in the future.
  • Current Victorian Planning Provisions are likely to oversupply car parking in new residential developments, reducing housing affordability and increasing local congestion.
  • There are currently over 4,000 households in Moonee Valley that do not own a car. Over 700 of these households live in Moonee Ponds.
  • The quality of pedestrian access is limited and reduces the attractiveness and viability of walking within the MPAC.
  • Pedestrians experience significant delays at intersections (particularly Moonee Ponds Junction) and require greater priority in areas of high volume. A person walking over Moonee Ponds Junction from Puckle to Dean Street would, on average, have to wait almost two minutes at traffic lights alone.
  • A large number of vehicle cross-overs within MPAC create a disjointed pedestrian experience.
  • A severe lack of access to green, open space, and no natural ‘heart’ or anchor diminishes the quality of the MPAC’s public realm.
  • Queens Park is cut-off from the MPAC by a wide barrier of vehicles travelling at high speed on Mount Alexander Road.
  • Lack of public transport integration and disability access within the MPAC reduces travel options.
  • The MPAC street network discourages cycling due to a lack of connected bicycle facilities.

Our recommendations to make MPAC a better place

Public realm

  • Create an ‘anchor’ around the Pratt and Puckle Street intersection, to act as the MPAC’s central meeting place, community anchor and key commercial core.
  • Create a series of pocket parks through the vehicular traffic closure at the northern end of Pratt and Shuter Streets.
  • Transform the land currently acting as a car park at Hall Street and Shuter Street, replacing lost parking below ground at Shuter Street.

Pedestrian

  • Connect existing laneways, to create a more cohesive network of usable laneways for improved pedestrian permeability, and urban vibrancy.
  • Pedestrianize laneways and streets such as Hall Street (providing improved pedestrian movement between MIRVAC sites and offering space for people to linger).
  • Widen and enhance the vibrancy of existing footpaths, including Puckle Street.
  • Improve pedestrian crossing sequence at controlled intersections through the MPAC.

Public transport

  • Simplify bus operations in Moonee Ponds by pairing routes that run through, rather than terminate at, MPAC.
  • Reduce the role of the non-DDA compliant bus interchange in Mount Alexander Road, replacing with bus stops that improve bus integration within MPAC and Moonee Ponds train station.
  • Separate tram and motor vehicles along Mt Alexander Road and Ascot Vale Road, improving tram speeds and reliability.
  • Improve access to public transport for pedestrians and cyclists.

Cycling

  • Integrate cycling with public transport, via protected bicycle infrastructure connecting to Moonee Ponds Railway Station, and the junction tram stop.
  • Provide secure bicycle parking at the Railway Station and tram stop, as well as shorter-term bicycle parking opportunities throughout the MPAC.
  • Provide protected bicycle lanes on Taylor Street, around Queens Park, along Puckle Street and Dean Street and within the new Racecourse development.
  • Boost provision of bicycle parking in new residential developments, to one per bedroom.
  • Improve the cycleability of all roads within MPAC.

A conceptual re-design (cross-section) of Puckle Street with protected bicycle infrastructure, wider footpaths and the introduction of much-needed greenspace is shown below.

A re-designed cross-section of Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds

As part of this project, we also provided an artists illustration of what Puckle Street could look like, and is provided below. Puckle Street currently has one lane of traffic in each direction and kerbside parking on both sides of the street, no green space and no facilities for safe cycling.

An artists illustration for a future Puckle Street

Motor vehicles

  • Maintain and strengthen the vehicle circulation plan that enables vehicles to access properties and car parking but reduces the negative impact of through traffic.
  • Reduce speed limit to a default of 30km/h, with selected access streets providing additional designs to reduce speeds to enhance road safety and liveability of the MPAC.
  • Extend 40km/h along Mt Alexander Road from The Strand to Ormond Road. This is consistent with the SmartRoads, and Vision Zero approach adopted by the Victorian Government.
  • Consolidate off-street parking towards the periphery of the MPAC.
  • Reduce off street parking requirements for new developments.
  • Reduce on street, kerbside parking to enable wider footpaths, more open, green space, café seating and the completion of a sustainable mobility network.
  • Install dynamic, real-time signage to help direct motorists to more easily find an available parking spot.
  • Leverage off the future MVRC redevelopment road network to improve vehicle movement away from the junction and into the proposed traffic circulation route.

Many of the above recommendations cannot be implemented by Council alone and will require collaboration with various state agencies as well as large landholders within the MPAC.

The map below offers an illustration of the changes suggested as part of this project to make Moonee Ponds a more vibrant, sustainable activity centre.

Feel free to get in touch at info@sensibletransport.org.au if you’d like to learn more.