Lower Cuba Street

7 February 2011

Now that buses are using the new route through Willis and Manners streets, work is under way to make lower Cuba Street greener, smarter and more pedestrian-friendly.

Graeme Welch (Downer) keeps cafe and business owners up to date about progress

Graeme Welch (Downer) keeps cafe and business owners up to date about progress

Over the next six months, the area will be gradually transformed as a shared space where pedestrians will have priority. The area, which will be all on one level, has been designed so it can be closed to traffic for big events like Cuba Carnival but at other times will provide some parking.

Thirty-six trees, areas of native plants and grasses, and seating will help define where vehicles can and can't go. Drivers will have to keep their speed down to walking speed (a maximum of 10 km/h) and take extra care.

Council Infrastructure Director Stavros Michael says shared spaces like this are working well in Australia and Europe, and for anyone who wants the security of a car-free environment, there will continue to be pedestrian-only areas adjacent to the shops.

The work has begun at the Wakefield Street end where the kerbline is being extended to help create a better pedestrian link to Civic Square.

Excavation work is also being carried out nearby so new ducting can be installed beneath the street to carry existing and future electrical, fibre optic and other cabling.

Stavros says the contractor, Downer, is very keen to do all it can to minimise any disruption.

"They are doing the construction and paving work in stages to ensure people can always get to businesses and shops in the street and very noisy work like concrete cutting won't be done between midday and 2.00pm," he says.

There will also be other work associated with the Golden Mile project happening over the next few months that couldn't be done until the buses were using the new route. This includes the kerb extension under way at the intersection of Manners and Victoria streets and similar extensions planned at the intersection of Cuba and Dixon streets and near the Curry Club on the corner of Dixon and Victoria streets.

Work in lower Cuba Street began in mid-January and is expected to be complete by the end of July.