How can we revitalise our shopping streets?

Shopping streets are public places, the core of 20-minute neighbourhoods, where we as a community build wealth, access goods and services, meet and socialise. They also act as transport corridors, moving people between suburbs. Our challenge is to make our shopping streets better for business by attracting regular, repeat patronage from local residents.

Animation credit: Tim Read MP

Proposed design

We advocate for Yarra’s shopping streets to be upgraded with wider footpaths, bicycle lanes, level access tram stops and more trees. Cars share a lane with trams and shoppers park on side streets. For our 20 metre wide tram-based shopping streets, we call this the ‘Melbourne Shopping Street’ reference design.

Carlisle Street is a good example of the ‘Melbourne Shopping Street’. Image credit: Google Maps.

Place making

The ‘Melbourne Shopping Street’ reference design delivers more place making than existing conditions, with wider footpaths and more trees.


The ‘Melbourne Shopping Street’ reference design offers more ‘movement’ capacity than existing conditions, because it prioritises the two modes with the highest people carrying capacity – trams and cycling. Other possible street layouts carry fewer people, because trams are slowed by cars and because a sub-standard bicycle lane won’t attract many people. Our better for trams page describes how trams can travel faster when cars can’t overtake, and the best-practice bicycle lane transports more people than either a parking lane or a peak-hour car lane.


The ‘Melbourne Shopping Street’ reference design offers more parking for shoppers than existing conditions, by using the first 5-10 bays on each side street (i.e. this is more metered parking for shoppers than was previously directly on the street). Combined with the improved place making, the outcome is better for business.

Image credit: Revitalize, or Die


The ‘Melbourne Shopping Street’ reference design delivers a safer environment for all users, and aligns well with Safe System, as shown by Safe System assessments conducted by both VicRoads and Streets Alive Yarra.

Safe System assessments of various options for 20 metre wide tram-based shopping streets.

Built form

The ‘Melbourne Shopping Street’ reference design aligns with the ‘Linear Barcelona Model’ as proposed in ‘Transforming Australian Cities’:

Excerpt from the proposed design and development overlay (DDO) for transport corridors, from ‘Transforming Australian Cities’


Cross-sectional dimensions of the ‘Melbourne Shopping Street’ reference design are shown below:

Cross sectional view of a 20 metre wide tram-based ‘Melbourne Shopping Street’. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra & Streetmix.

Guidance from Boroondara

The City of Boroondara is proposing to revitalise Glenferrie Road with wider footpaths, more trees, level access tram stops and protected bike lanes.

Image credit: City of Boroondara

Guidance from Auckland

Auckland City Council’s Business Case for Walking showed a very similar design for a shopping street:

Image credit: Auckland City Council

Detailed designs

The following pages describe specific streets in more detail:

How you can help

You can help by appearing on the Streets Alive Yarra website as a champion for your local street, neighbourhood, or school.

Let’s build a beautiful, liveable and accessible city