Blocked in their paths: residents face game day chaos 

Blocked in their paths: residents face game day chaos 
Brendan Rees

Residents in the vicinity of the MCG have continued to be left frustrated as road closures on game and major event days leave some unable to access their homes. 

The closures have led to up to a 45-minute delay of residents accessing their homes post-AFL games with Lansdowne St, Clarendon St, Wellington Pde being among those temporarily blocked from all traffic. 

The East Melbourne Group (EMG) said the issue was ongoing, causing a major inconvenience for residents despite cars, motorbikes, and e-scooters all exiting the stadium.

While the EMG has been told the road closures were a safety measure, it said “it is just chaos, and a small number of residents are being denied the right to access their homes”. 

“There is a simple solution: give residents access via producing their driver’s licence (proving their address) and safely send them to their homes.”

One resident spoke out about the issue, saying while not every event at the MCG led to delays, it had ramped up in recent weeks, including a time when they were returning home from hospital after their daughter gave birth to her first child.  

“We were coming back into the area via Landsdowne St, and there was traffic chaos, nobody could turn into Wellington Pde,” the resident said, requesting anonymity.

“We said to the traffic controller that we lived there, and she said so do hundreds of others. It was bedlam everywhere.”

The issue comes after East Melbourne residents lashed motorists last year for blocking their driveways and parking on nature strips during game days at the ‘G, causing “significant damage” to the ground and some trees.

Victoria Police said police officers only attended and facilitated pedestrian crossings for pedestrian safety during events at the MCG but confirmed they “do not block traffic or man traffic stations”.     

“Citywide Traffic Management is contracted by the MCG to undertake the traffic and street closures during events,” Victoria Police said. 

“Only certain matches due to crowd size dictate what and how many roads are closed.”

The issue was raised at an EMG community meeting with police, as well as City of Melbourne representatives on July 31. 

Concerns of crime in the area was also discussed including reports of thefts, an aggravated burglary, car windows being smashed, drug activity, and anti-social behavior. 

“There was a commitment by all parties to work together to mitigate this problem,” the EMG reported after the meeting. 

“Victoria Police reiterated that it was very important for all residents to report criminal behavior either by calling Triple Zero (000) in an emergency or 131444 in a non-emergency”. 

“The City of Melbourne advised that they were working with agencies to ensure wrap around services are provided to those in need.”

In one incident, a resident told Inner City News that their number plates had been allegedly stolen from the garage of their apartment building in Gipps St in July. 

The resident had sighted a man earlier in the evening standing at the front of complex with blood on their face, after trying to call all apartments via the intercom before leaving.  

The EMG’s amenities convenor Jenny Owen said the meeting achieved “some positive outcomes” for the community, noting it was important for all parties to cooperate and provide a safer community.

Ms Owen said a public meeting would be held in future with Victoria Police, the City of Melbourne, and the East Melbourne community “to work on strategies to make our suburb a safer place to live, work and play”. • 

Residents can report non-urgent crimes via police.vic.gov.au/police-assistance-line-and-online-reporting

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