Cremorne is designated as Council’s Local Area Place Making (LAPM) precinct #20 (Balmain), bounded by Punt Street, Swan Street, Church Street and the Yarra River.

Image credit: Google Maps

Context

Cremorne is an attractive place to live and work because:

  • It’s very close to the city centre of Melbourne
  • It’s serviced by Richmond Train Station and multiple lines on the metropolitan train network, as well as trams on Swan Street and Church Street
  • It’s adjacent to the M1 City Link freeway and the bicycle path along the Yarra river
  • A large variety of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants are located along Swan and Church streets
  • It has as Walk Score rating of 89, which is very high
  • It’s a mixed use area with both residential and commercial zones

Problems

Cremorne suffers from multiple problems related to place making, transport, mobility and safety, including:

  • Lack of public open space, both for residents and the thousands of new office workers
  • Severe congestion, with traffic backed up several hundred meters on Cremorne Street and Balmain Street
  • Rat running through quiet residential streets, attempting to avoid the congestion on Cremorne Street
  • Narrow footpaths, causing people to walk on the street with cars
  • Lack of protected bicycle lanes, causing people to cycle in the traffic lane with cars

Root cause

The root cause of these problems is the poor allocation of space on our streets. The following image shows how street space is dominated by cars, which are a geometrically inefficient method of transporting large numbers of people. No street space is allocated for bicycle lanes, which are more efficient at moving people. A more detailed version would also show how little space is allocated for footpaths. Many footpaths in Cremorne are too narrow. The image was generated using the ‘allocation of space‘ method defined by the Copenhagenize Design Company:

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Trends

The problems described above will only get worse because Cremorne is booming, with high rise commercial and residential towers being built in many locations.

The SEEK office on Cremorne Street will soon be joined by many others. Image credit: SEEK.

Previous studies

Council conducted an Urban Design Framework review in 2007 (Cremorne and Church Street UDF) and a LAPM analysis in 2013 (LATMS-20-Final-report). These reports recommended significant traffic calming and improved bicycle routes. Unfortunately Council did not allocate enough budget to implement all the recommendations.

Image credit: Cremorne and Church Street Urban Design Framework

Suggested solutions

Building upon the Urban Design Framework and the Local Area Place Making reports, Streets Alive Yarra proposes the following solutions:

  • Define clear guidelines for transitions between commercial and residential zones (and ideally height limits), based on guidance from ‘Soft City’, to provide certainty for both developers and residents.
Image credit: Island Press
  • Decrease motor-vehicle commuter congestion to Cremorne and within Cremorne by improving Melbourne-wide public transport, by building the Melbourne Rail Plan 2050.
Image credit: Rail Futures Institute
  • Decrease motor-vehicle commuter congestion to Cremorne and within Cremorne by building the VicRoads Principal Bicycle Network, including an east-west bicycle superhighway along the full length of Olympic Boulevard, Swan Street and Riversdale Road; and a north-south bicycle superhighway along the full length of Church and Chapel Streets.
Image credit: VicRoads TEM Vol 3 Part 2.18
Conversation starter for access loop in Cremorne. Image credit: Ratio.
Map of the one way loop in Cremorne. Image credit: Ratio.
  • Decrease motor-vehicle commuter congestion to Cremorne and within Cremorne by reforming how parking is managed and priced. All free time-limited parking bays would be replaced with permit zones. Visitor access to permit zones would be governed by a new class of paid visitor permit.
  • Improve walking and cycling within Cremorne by calming all streets to 30 km/h. Cremorne is only 800 m wide so this change can improve safety without detrimentally affecting travel times.
Image credit: Google Maps and Thanks for 30
  • Improve pedestrian commuter access between Richmond Train Station and Cremorne Street by converting the small triangular car park (on VicTrack land) into a small plaza and wider footpath.
Image credit: Apple Maps and Streets Alive Yarra
  • Improve the shopping experience on the direct perimeter of Cremorne, on Swan Street and Church Street, by widening footpaths to allow expanded footpath seating.
Image credit: Shiftspace Design
  • Improve amenity and place making near The Cherry Tree Hotel by adding pedestrian crossings.
  • Improve access to Gosch’s paddock by building a pedestrian overpass (over Punt Road) at Blanche Street.
  • Increase public open space by converting the car parks on either site of East Richmond Train Station to public plazas with grass and trees.
Image credit: Apple Maps and Streets Alive Yarra
  • Increase green open space by converting the Kangan TAFE car park to a park with grass and trees.
Image credit: Apple Maps and Streets Alive Yarra
  • Enable trees to grow properly, and de-clutter our footpaths, by undergrounding cables.
Image credit: Danae Bosler via Facebook
  • Convert Blanche Street into a shared zone, and convert the existing raised platform at Blanche/Cremorne into a raised pedestrian crossing (wombat crossing).
Example wombat crossing in Collingwood. Image credit: City of Yarra.

  • Convert some other narrow streets with high pedestrian activity into shared zones, as described in the Urban Design Framework:
Image credit: City of Yarra Cremorne UDF

Detailed design proposals

Detailed design proposals are available for:

Funding

Funding can be sourced either from developer contributions, or by pricing on-street parking at market rates, in accordance with Yarra’s recently adopted Pricing Policy.

Opportunity

Cremorne is the focus of a Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) project titled ‘Cremorne Place Implementation Plan‘, which is being conducted in partnership with the City of Yarra. This is an opportunity for Cremorne residents and ratepayers to work with the State Government to improve our neighbourhood.

Image credit: VPA

In December 2020 the VPA published the Cremorne Place Implementation Plan:

Image credit: Victorian Government

You can download and read our submission to the VPA, on ‘Issues and Opportunities’ in Cremorne:

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Our submission on how to reform how parking in managed in Cremorne is also available:

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Further guidance

Further guidance on how to improve cities and neighbourhoods is available in ‘Transforming Australian Cities‘:

Conclusion

Cremorne is a great suburb and can be even better. Development is booming, giving us a wonderful opportunity to trial best practice concepts for urban design, place making and reallocation of street space. Let’s make best possible use of the Cremorne Place Implementation Plan, and transform Cremorne for the better.

Local champion

Your local champion for Cremorne is Alyson Macdonald. View all of Streets Alive Yarra’s champions on our supporters page.

I’m a long time Cremorne resident and have witnessed much change since first moving here in 2000. Love to explore all Yarra’s nooks and crannies on foot or by bike. I now have a primary school-aged child, which puts street safety in a whole new perspective. 

Alyson Macdonald