We have conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the Acland Street project 12 months post-construction. The evaluation includes information about:
- transport conditions
- public space
- economic effects
- footpath trading
- reliability and punctuality of Tram Route 96 as well as maintenance
- the Shakespeare Grove two-way trial
- Council’s activation program.
Key findings of the evaluation included:
Over 80 per cent of survey respondents showed clear support for the upgrade and believed the plaza had a positive impact on accessibility, safety, amenity, and atmosphere of the area.
Pedestrian counts indicate that the works have affected the concentration of pedestrian movement throughout the day, with reduced activity in the mornings and increased activity on weekends, in the weekday afternoons and into the evenings.
- Yarra Trams confirmed that due to the upgrade, tram punctuality is higher and fewer tram services are being terminated short of the terminus.
- The greater capacity of the terminus resulted in a reduction in services turning around early on Route 96. This equates to around 30 additional trams reaching the terminus, or capacity for more than 4000 extra passengers arriving and departing Acland Street each month.
- Traffic analysis has shown redistributed traffic from Acland Street post closure is now re-directed via Blessington Street / Chaucer Street / Shakespeare Grove, particularly identified during northbound AM peak. This is cumulative with the additional traffic causing delays at the intersection of Barkly Street/Carlisle Street and traffic in Chaucer and Blessington streets operating in excess of the upper limit for a street classified as local within the road network.
- The Acland Street Village Precinct experienced greater growth in local spending than benchmarked regions. Total spending grew at around $330,000 or 1.5% per month. This compared favourably with the modest upward trend, around 0.2% per month, in the benchmarked regions.
- There was no evidence the construction works conducted between June and November 2016 affected the upward trend of expenditure. Moreover, the 'finished product' was correlated with a boost in spending.
- Twenty-three trading zones have been adjusted on Acland Street. Together, these trading zones have increased 110 percent (+137m2). The patron capacity of these trading zones has increased 89 percent (+165 patrons).
- Through the activation program, 58 free community activations and events were facilitated in the plaza, totalling 153 days of activity. This included the Spring Fling opening event held on 12 November to celebrate Spring in the new Acland Street Plaza.
- Post the activation program, between December 2017 and March 2018, 16 community, commercial or trader activations have taken place in the plaza, totalling 68 days of activity. This has included Christmas events, a Valentine's night movie screening, Tesla Motors summer tour, a St Patrick's Day event, NGV Triennial activation and radio promotions.
Following trader and community feedback on the maintenance of Acland Street, an intensive clean of was conducted in April and December 2017. At the same time an intensive clean was applied to the pavement. The level of service for cleaning was also increased.