Carlton and Parkville reunite! Grattan St reopens after six-year wait

Brendan Rees

After six years of construction works, Grattan St, a major thoroughfare in Parkville, has finally reopened, providing a huge relief for residents and businesses.

It also marks an important milestone in the progress of the Metro Tunnel project as the street sits above the new Parkville Station, which is set to open in 2025.

The state government announced on June 16 that Grattan St had fully reopened to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians between Royal Parade and Leicester St, the first time traffic has flowed since 2018. During Grattan St’s closure, motorists had become accustomed to “rat runs” and peak hour delays in the area.

The new streetscape includes separated bike lanes, more bike hoops, more than 100 trees, nearly 3000 square metres of plants, and connecting utilities.

From mid-July, bus routes 401, 402, 403, 505 and 546 will also run along Grattan St.

Minister for Transport Infrastructure Danny Pearson said the reopening would provide better access for thousands of medical staff, students, patients, and family members.

“The Metro Tunnel is not just about transforming our rail network, it’s also creating great public spaces and making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians,” he said.

Once complete the Parkville Station will provide an important connection to the health and education precinct for the first time, with entrances on the doorstep of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and the University of Melbourne.

Parkville Station is almost 270 metres long, 30 metres wide and sits 30 metres below ground.

In a statement, the City of Melbourne said protected bikes lanes would be installed on Grattan St between Bouverie St and Royal Pde. They will be located next to the footpath, with separator kerbs and parking providing a buffer from traffic lanes.

Hook turn movements have been introduced at Cardigan, Lygon and Drummond streets while traffic lanes have been reduced from two to one in each direction, and some lanes at intersections have been reduced from three to two in each direction.

A new bus stop will also be created between Swanston and Bouverie streets, and the number of parking spaces reduced by 18, to accommodate for the increase in people travelling to the area by public and active transport.

Works will be completed in the coming weeks.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the riding lanes would improve safety for all road users.

“We’re improving the journey into the city for people travelling from the north. New protected riding lanes on Grattan St will connect to the popular Swanston Street and Rathdowne Street routes, and will soon connect to our new Arden Street lanes,” she said.

“With thousands of extra people expected to move through the area every single day, it’s important we deliver a safer route for riders, pedestrians and drivers.”

Parkville Association president Rob Moore said he was glad Grattan St had been reopened as initially guaranteed despite extensive lobbying to keep the street closed.

“I know the council were very much in favour of the reopening and did all possible to ensure it happened,” he said.

“The work done by the builders has been incredible and the landscaping will look superb once it regrows. A special thanks to Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece for following through on this as a local he understood the importance to Parkville residents both as a quicker way to Carlton but more importantly to enabling some of the 'rat runners' through South Parkville to go elsewhere.”



In a statement, the Carlton Residents’ Association (CRA) said it welcomed the integrated mobility options now available on Grattan St.

“It provides for train, bus, cycling and walking plus one lane of vehicle traffic each way. We look forward to further such initiatives across our suburb and city,” it said.

Incoming Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said the reopening was a “real cause for community celebration”.

“The good people of North Melbourne, Parkville and Carlton are reconnected once again. It will be easier than ever to grab a coffee or catch up with friends in your favourite location in these beautiful areas,” he said. “I acknowledge that there were some people in the community who didn’t want Grattan St reopened to private vehicles. In the final analysis, the city had made a commitment to reopen the street to private vehicles, it was in the contract with Cross Yarra Partnership and so that’s what has been delivered upon.”

Cr Reece said the City of Melbourne would also “monitor how the new arrangements work and we’re obviously hopeful that they work well; we will keep a very close eye on is how traffic volumes across the area with the introduction of the new West Gate Tunnel Project”.

“We are concerned about what it is going to do for traffic volumes in Melbourne and so we will continue to monitor that closely and will respond accordingly if needed.”

But overall Cr Reece said, as a Carlton resident who lives off Grattan St, he “couldn’t be happier to see this important road reopened”.

“It’s been an absolute nightmare and now the communities of North Melbourne, Parkville and Carlton are connected once more. It’s a great day for inner city communities.” •

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