PBA Transit, in collaboration with Booz & Company, developed transport strategies to improve access to and enhance the attractiveness of the Major Activity Centres of Diamond Creek and Eltham in Melbourne’s northeast. The focus was to improve local economies and develop sustainable transport options for the two centres, one of which has the fewest public transport services of any Major Activity Centre in Melbourne.
The project involved significant stakeholder consultation, including with the retail traders’ associations and the local community. An evidence-based approach was used to establish priorities as part of developing options for the centre. The research found that over 50% of existing customers walked to each centre. The improvements most supported by stakeholders and the community focused on making the centres more attractive places to walk around and spend time in. The project also identified opportunities to develop car parking on consolidated sites at the edge of each centre, while better managing car spaces in the heart of each centre.
The project’s approach to stakeholder and community consultation and priority-setting enabled a range of options to be identified and evaluated. These options offered significant improvements to transport and access to the centres, while reducing the impact of car parking and congestion.
Scope of Works
PBA’s tasks included:
- Collecting and analysing baseline data
- Conducting in-centre surveys
- Conducting four stakeholder workshops
- Engaging with local councillors
- Developing and assessing options
- Conducting ‘Main Street BBQs’ to canvass identified options with local communities and stakeholders
- Researching, writing and presenting the report.
The local mayor of Nillumbik Shire Council (also the president of the Chamber of Commerce) was elected on a policy to ‘build more car parking’. This meant that evidence for alternative strategies had to be robust and thoroughly researched and documented.
Engaging with the retailer communities required careful management so that expectations were clear. The retailers also required robust evidence to convince them that the various options would increase footfall and improve the value of the centre to their customers.
It was important to build local community awareness and buy-in, so the Main Street BBQs (held on two Saturdays) were used to present options for review and comment by the community.