Swan Street is a shopping street in Richmond. It can be better for business by becoming the core of a 20-minute neighbourhood where local residents regularly visit, shop and linger; with wider footpaths, more trees, and level access tram stops.

Existing conditions and proposed layout for Swan Street, looking west toward the city. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Problems

Swan Street doesn’t have level access tram stops, which are necessary to enable people in wheelchairs to use trams. Also, Swan Street is a known black spot for people walking and biking, as shown by data from WalkSpot, BikeSpot and VicRoad’s own crash data. The danger discourages local residents from walking or biking along the street, nudging them to use cars, which adds to congestion. This isn’t acceptable for a nominated Strategic Cycling Corridor or the core of a 20-minute neighbourhood.

Solution

Owing to geometric constraints, the only practical way to comply with both the Disability Discrimination Act and the Strategic Cycling Corridor designation is to relocate shopper-parking to side streets and to reallocate the space to wider footpaths, street trees, bicycle lanes and level access tram stops.

Swan Street could look like Carlisle Street. Image credit: Google Maps.
Swan Street could be configured similar to this proposal for Glenferrie Road. Image credit: City of Boroondara.
Swan Street could have wider footpaths, trees and raised bicycle lanes. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra and StreetMix.

Safe System

The proposed design aligns with Safe System, the core of Australia’s and Victoria’s road safety strategy:

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Parklets

The City of Yarra has adopted a parklet program, enabling traders to occupy a parking bay for outdoor dining.

Image credit: City of Yarra

Unfortunately the state government Department of Transport does not allow parklets on declared arterials such as Swan Street. This places traders on Swan Street at a disadvantage to those on streets where parklets are permitted, such as Brunswick Street, Gertrude Street and Smith Street. The Mayor has written to the Minister for Roads, asking for parklets to be permitted on arterials. You can support this by emailing the Minister and asking for the same.

Image credit: City of Yarra

Protected intersection

At the intersection between Swan Street and Church Street, a protected intersection should be used. The image below shows how this could look:

  • People walking can cross at the yellow.
  • People cycling can cross at the green.
  • People driving are guided around the red barriers.

Once constructed, this protected intersection would no longer need a paid crossing supervisor during school times, further decreasing costs for taxpayers.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra, with background from Apple Maps

Support from RACV

Note that the RACV supports wider footpaths and separated bicycle lanes for Sydney Road in Brunswick, and that the same logic also applies to Swan Street.

Image credit: RACV

Design guides

Learn more from this collection of design guides, including the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide:

Image credit: NACTO

Local champion

Your local champion for Swan Street is Jeremy Lawrence, Yarra resident. View all of Streets Alive Yarra’s champions on our supporters page.

Swan Street is a great shopping street and can be even better. I’d like Swan Street to be the core of the Richmond, Cremorne and Burnley neighbourhoods; and easy to access with cycling and walking. I’d like my child to be able to safely walk along Swan Street to get to the library, or safely cycle along Swan Street before going up Coppin Street to the new Richmond High School. I’d like traders on Swan Street to thrive on regular repeat business from local residents, the lunchtime crowds from growing nearby offices, and the weekend crowds to the sporting precinct. I’d like commuters from the eastern suburbs to be able to choose to cycle to the city, because there is a safe route all along Swan Street to the CBD.

Jeremy Lawrence