Sunday, June 23, 2013

Colour, cranes and mid-winter blue

This weekend, Jeffrey Smart died. The papers were full of his urban images. I love the strong colour in his work and that he addressed stark urban subjects, like containers. Colour was central to his work. This is in my mind as the Port of Melbourne Corporation invites people's views about crane colours as part of the Port expansion project. There are a bewildering 18 colour options offered. The Port of Melbourne's publications have always drawn on the very strong colours of gantry, container and ship. But it seems that at this stage the public's preferred option is for disguise, camouflage and grey. Don't know about you, but grey and camouflage communicate uncomfortably about navies and war. I much prefer to look the Port to look like the Port. The mid-winter sun on the Port this morning confirmed just how much I like that red.
Since we (in Port) are going to see quite a few of these gantries along the eastern side of Webb Dock, it is worth expressing an opinion on the crane colours since your opinion is being invited.
What do you prefer?
You can try out all the crane colour options at the Port's Capacity Project page and indicate your preference.

Down river from the Bolte Bridge

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Banks of the Yarra

Last week I loved listening to My Brown Yarra sung by Homebrew Verandah Music in Federation Square. If you don't know this affectionate homage to our River written by Frank Jones for the Whirling Furphies, the chorus is 'when I die, put me in a barra, wheel me down to the banks of the Yarra.'
Yesterday, I sat on Needles Beach on the banks of the Werribee River and this is what I saw.

Today, I positioned myself under the Westgate Bridge on this little beach to watch for the arrival of the new portainer cranes destined for Swanson Dock.
While waiting in the company of much more patient fishermen, I picked up just a fraction of what the river  conveyed to this little beach in last week's rain:  43 plastic bottles, these assembled straws and endless broken pieces of polystyrene - but no portainer cranes came into view.

The cranes are now coming up the river tomorrow at 13.30.
What you can do:
Pick up litter anywhere anytime to prevent in ending up in our beautiful river and bay and support the government's Cleaner Yarra River &Port Phillip Bay: A Plan of Action 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

For sale: Montague

A property at 123 Montague Street is offered for sale by CBRE by international public expression of interest.
The property, advertised in today's Age, notes that an application for 680 apartments and 3,000 sqm of retail has been lodged.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Carlins: 6 to 78 Buckhurst St

The Age's Marc Pallisco reported on Saturday 1 June that Carlins has lodged an application for a staged development of 4 towers,  the tallest of which will be 38 storeys, for their massive site on Buckhurst St. The proposed development includes 1023 flats.
The application, lodged on 27 May 2013,  is listed on the Minister's Planning Permit register with scant further information at this time.
As you can see from the photos below, the site is large and Buckhurst St is very wide. It was envisaged as the main street and community heart of Montague in the City of Port Phillip's plan for the suburb.
Since a different future to that imagined by Port Phillip is unfolding, where is a precinct plan to show the role of streets such as Buckhurst in the new Montague, and how positive community benefit will flow from the many developments now under consideration by the Minister for Planning?
Buckhurst St frontage

Buckhurst St frontage

cnr Kerr and Buckhurst St

Connecting Fishermans Bend with the rail network

Urban Melbourne responded to Jason Dowling's  article in The Age today on the future traffic load on the Westgate Bridge by highlighting the contribution that rail will and might make on these scenarios.
UM prefer PTV's  (Public Transport Victoria) long term plan for a connection from Southern Cross to Fishermans Bend - a Mernda to Fishermans Bend line - to a second bridge crossing.
PTV's plan says
The Fishermans Bend area will undergo significant redevelopment in the coming decades and become an important new hub in the expanding CBD. This area will need significant additional public transport capacity and connections as it develops and it is anticipated that the initial enhanced bus network will not be sufficient to support the longer term needs for passengers wishing to access the area. This project enables a fast and frequent train service to be provided [p130 of 140]
Urban Melbourne cautions against thinking that further road based projects will ease current or future congestion. However, given the current debate on the merits of the East-West Link relative to the Melbourne Metro, it is hard to muster any confidence that there is the vision or the will to plan for a liveable future for our great city.