You’d be hard pressed to find a Melburnian who hasn’t been caught outside by a freak storm and side of flash flooding in the CBD. Arguably the worst street to be caught on is Elizabeth Street. The street itself was built over a historic creek and is actually the lowest point in Melbourne’s CBD – land rises both east and west of Elizabeth Street, and more gradually to the north towards Vic Market.
As a result, flooding can be a serious issue – so Melbourne City Council has decided to do something about it.
There are plans to upgrade the southern end of Elizabeth Street where it intersects with Flinders Street. The biggest change will be the removal of the southbound traffic lane for the 120 or so metres between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street. The goal is to improve access to pedestrians and reduce congestion – because everyone knows that turning left onto Flinders from Elizabeth takes so goddamn long.
Footpaths will be extended, trees will be planted, lighting will be improved, and there will be an expanded pedestrian pavement area (the council is saying pedestrian areas will increase by 400 square metres) with new street furniture to increase public space. There will also be extensive drainage works and the installation of a new underground drainage network to help with flooding.
While this isn’t the elaborate “pedestrian priority” proposal for the entirety of Elizabeth Street we heard about last year, it’s something. Work on Elizabeth Street will begin mid-year and is expected to be completed in late 2020.