Monday, February 8, 2016

Station St, Cottesloe

The Town of Cottesloe wants to do up Station St and is asking for ideas so I thought I'd take a squiz.

The street is essentially a vast central expanse of asphalt with narrow footpaths and stunted street trees jammed up against the buildings down the sides.

The message is unmistakeable: "This is a car space, pedestrians should make their own arrangements".

This simply needs to be reversed. It needs to become a people space into which cars are allowed if they behave nicely.

Claret Ash (Fraxinus angustifolia 'Raywood')

There are various ways you can do this. The quickest and cheapest way is to give up every fourth parking bay* to large-canopy shade trees such as Planes or Liquidambars.

Plant the trees toward the road-end of the parking bays too.

This will do three things:

a) give the trees sufficient space to develop full canopies

b) psychologically narrow the roadway resulting in traffic calming

c) give a more balanced look to the space generally as it takes back some of the roadway and gives it to the sides.

Even if the Council did nothing else, Station St would become a beautiful space, somewhere people will want to hang out and shop. 

It may even start to compete with Napoleon St as the "go to" spot in the CBD.

* Often when you suggest this, retailers get nervous. They think giving up car bays for trees will result in fewer customers. The reverse actually happens. The vastly improved feel of the space attracts people and it's people who spend money, not cars.

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