Cambridge Street is a north-south street in Collingwood:

Location of Cambridge Street in Collingwood. Image credit: Apple Maps, highlight from Streets Alive Yarra.

Cambridge Street Reserve

Cambridge Street Reserve is located just south of Peel Street, opposite the Two Birds Cafe. Council has expanded the reserve by reallocating asphalt to grass and trees, with a massive increase in green open space:

Cambridge Street Reserve. Image credit: Herschel Landes.

Image credits: Nearmap.

Cambridge Street – northern section

The northern section of Cambridge Street is a relatively wide local access street. The public street space appears to be used predominantly for car storage. 

Looking north on Cambridge Street to Stanley Street. Image credit: Google Maps.

Cambridge Street forms part of the Foy & Gibson precinct, a complex of heritage listed former factories and warehouses associated with the former Foy & Gibson department store. The conditions on Cambridge Street are very similar to nearby Oxford Street which runs parallel to Cambridge Street.  

During the COVID-19 lockdown in April 2020 informal observations revealed that very few cars were parking on the street, suggesting that parking on Cambridge Street is predominately used by businesses and not widely used by local residents. However, pre-COVID the parking was typically occupied.

Cambridge Street on a Saturday afternoon in April 2020 during COVID-19 lockdown. Image credit: Bronco Tango.

The Southern end of Collingwood is facing increased residential densities though land use change and new apartment developments. The Collingwood precinct also has the lowest amount of public open space in the City of Yarra, with just 0.34 ha of open space [Source: Draft Yarra Open Space Strategy 2019].

Given this, there is a strategic need to reallocate vacant and underutilised open space to higher and better uses. There is an opportunity to repurpose the wide street spaces to public open space while also offering a traffic calming solution to support broader safe street aspirations. There are many ways this could be approached:

  • Idea #1: shut the northern end of Cambridge Street for a pop-up-park and work with landowners and tenants to maintain vehicular access to buildings required. Even better, aspire to extend the park as land-use changes. 
  • Idea #2: make Cambridge Street one-way and utilise parking and road spaces for a pop-up park. 
  • Idea #3: shut the northern Cambridge Street while maintaining vehicular access for a pop-up park. 
Image credit: Bronco Tango via Cr Bosler’s page on Facebook.

Local champion

Your local champion for Cambridge Street is Alex Runne. View all of Streets Alive Yarra’s champions on our supporters page.

Myself, my partner and our two children call Cambridge Street home, having purchased one of the street’s warehouse conversions a couple of years ago. We fell in love with the historical significance and beauty of Cambridge Street, and the Foy and Gibson precinct more broadly years before we moved in. The precinct is an amazing place to watch the rhythms of city life unfold, from a lively daytime population of workers and residents, to the near silence outdoors after 5pm. The street is right in the mix of the creativity and energy of Collingwood, but also remains ensconced in this small, historically preserved pocket of the city. I’ve got particular passions for continuing to grow the green spaces of Collingwood for the better health and recreation of our densely packed neighbourhood, and for maintaining the historical integrity of the Foy and Gibson precinct; one of the best preserved and most beautiful examples of Melbourne’s industrial past.

Alex Runne