Current display apartments right on the ramp boundary line

Current display apartments right on the ramp boundary line

The Main Yarra Trail at Walmer Street, Abbotsford and the connecting bridge across the Yarra face major issues with a proposed development, please read on for additional information including Defend the Yarra River petition, update from Richard Wynnes office and Adam Careys article from The Age

1. Petition: Stop the Destruction of the Yarra River Bank by Defend The Yarra River

The plans involve RAISING Walmer St by two metres, to accommodate the two car tunnels, installing steps up to "upper plaza" and removing the bike/disabled ramp. It will be replaced with a series of long, narrow, two way, 360 degree switchback shared paths, at several different gradients.

2. Update: Re: Salta development at Walmer Street (29 May 2016)

I received the following response from Richard Wynnes Office:
Thank you for your email to the Minister for Planning. The Minister appreciates the time you have taken to express your views and our office will process your correspondence at our earliest convenience. In the meantime, you might be interested to know that at the urging of the Minister, Salta has agreed to hold community meetings where interested persons can voice their concerns about the project and hear what Salta are proposing to respond to those concerns. If you would like to register to attend such a meeting, please contact Lloyd Elliot, Director at Urbis (Salta's planning consultant) to register for a session and be kept up to date.
Lloyd's details are:
lelliott[AT]urbis.com.au
Lv 12, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia.
Ph: 03 8663 4888
m 0405 031 725
Please share these details and encouraged as many poeple as possible to register and let the Minister and Salta know the impact of this development is not acceptable

3. The Age: Unhappy trails: Bike riders fear Yarra path will be choked by new apartments Adam Carey, Transport Reporter for The Age (22 May 2016)

Melbourne's premier riverside cycling trails could be interrupted by plans for a private car park.

More than 500 cyclists ride along the Main Yarra Trail where it meets Victoria Street in Richmond each morning, many of whom roll directly over the old Walmer Street bridge, according to annual bike traffic counts.

Cyclists on the bridge at Walmer Street. Photo: Simon Schluter

Cyclists on the bridge at Walmer Street. Photo: Simon Schluter

But that could change if dual apartment towers are given the go-ahead for an underground car park entrance.

The direct connection over the bridge would be replaced by a U-shaped choke point that would discourage riders from using the trail, cycling advocates say.

Developer Salta proposes to turn the southern part of Walmer Street – a short dead-end road for cars but a trail access point for bike riders and pedestrians – into an underground car park entrance.

A new "plaza" for cyclists and pedestrians would also be built on top of the entrance way, requiring traffic on the Main Yarra Trail to wend its way through a new switchback ramp.

Cycling groups have condemned the plan, arguing it would jam up one of Melbourne's best-loved off-road bike trails.

"The connection to the Walmer Street bridge and the Yarra Trail has been badly botched," Bicycle Network chief executive Craig Richards said.

"The Yarra corridor is a fantastic natural asset for Melbourne and the trail is how most people get to experience it – there is no way the community will accept the access being choked by the current design of the apartment complex," he said.

Mr Richards criticised a traffic impact study attached to the proposal, which noted that Walmer Street is used by just 45 vehicles per day but ignored the hundreds of cyclists who use it. He called on Planning Minister Richard Wynne to reject Salta's design.

One part of the proposal currently awaits a decision by Mr Wynne; the other awaits a ruling following a recent VCAT hearing.

An artist's impression of Salta's proposed development, viewed from Victoria Street

An artist's impression of Salta's proposed development, viewed from Victoria Street

Mr Wynne, who is also the MP for Richmond, said the Andrews government had encouraged Salta to address community concerns about development near the Yarra Trail.

"I will assess this project based on advice from my department and VicRoads in the next few months," Mr Wynne said.

"Development approvals need to enhance their surrounds and not impact amenity. The future of the Yarra Trail will of course form part of my decision."

Salta's managing director, Sam Tarascio, defended the design, arguing that while riders would have to navigate a new switchback, the plaza would be better for cyclists overall.

The new ramp would comply with disability access standards, unlike the current one between the bridge and the riverside trail below, he said.

"We've gone to great lengths to make a good environment for cyclists – the plaza will create total separation between bikes and cars," Mr Tarascio said.

Chris Star, a spokeswoman for the Yarra Bicycle Users Group, predicted that the proposed plaza would become congested with riders, walkers, residents and cafe patrons.

"It potentially could turn into another mess like you've got with the Capital City Trail in Southbank," Ms Star said. "You've got mixed use, and 'Oh, we can all share', but it just turns into contested space."

The area already sees conflict involving cyclists. The recent bike count also recorded 25 riders with punctured tyres from tacks.

How cyclists would access the Main Yarra Trail if the developer's proposal goes ahead.

How cyclists would access the Main Yarra Trail if the developer's proposal goes ahead.