Project Update - July 2022

Central Hobart Precincts Plan

Over the past few months the City has been engaging on a discussion paper to inform the development of a Central Hobart Precincts Structure Plan.

The purpose of the plan is to guide future growth to strengthen what’s great about Hobart and build on its position as a vibrant, flourishing, sustainable and globally appealing capital city, without compromising those qualities that already make the city unique.

It will also look at how we provide open space, and the community, transport and commercial infrastructure required to meet the needs of a growing population. The plan will cover 64 blocks in Central Hobart, including those within the Elizabeth Street Retail Precinct.

More information about this project can be found at Your Say Hobart

What does this mean for the Elizabeth Street Retail Precinct (Midtown)?

The Central Hobart Precincts Structure Plan will establish a broader context in which Midtown will sit. We want to make sure that whatever decisions are made about Central Hobart complement and build on the extensive planning and community involvement undertaken in planning Midtown's future.

In May 2021, we announced that we had secured funding to construct block one of the Midtown Precinct (between Melville to Brisbane Streets). While the City had planned to commence construction in 2022, through our work around the Central Hobart Precincts Structure Plan, we are undertaking a holistic look at Elizabeth Street's functions, including how to improve connections from the waterfront to North Hobart.

A Master Plan for Elizabeth Street was flagged in the CHPSP discussion paper and will likely be a key recommendation in the CHPSP proper. This project will take into account of all the engagement and design concept work done on Midtown to date and we anticipate that the fundamentals of the current design, focusing on improved pedestrian amenity, will largely remain the same.

Given this work, we are temporarily pausing proceedings in Midtown to complete further investigative work. This pause does not change our commitment to Midtown, and the City will be finalising the design for Block 1 in 2023 to be ready for construction in 2024.

Patrick Street Intersection

Importantly, planned pedestrian crossing improvements at the Elizabeth/Patrick Street intersection will continue, with works commencing this spring.

These works will make it safer for pedestrians to cross Patrick Street at Elizabeth Street. Improvements include: level pedestrian crossings, kerb extensions and plantings.

Midtown Expanded Outdoor Dining Trial - Evaluation

The program provided temporary expanded outdoor dining and street seating space, greening and bicycle racks in Elizabeth Street between Melville Street and Brisbane Street. Many cities worldwide delivered expanded outdoor dining areas to support the hospitality sector to continue trading safely during the pandemic.

This pilot program has provided the opportunity to learn how providing more outdoor dining space can contribute to city life, support local businesses to recover and prosper in the COVID-19 environment, and assist with the ongoing need for physical distancing. Since May 2021, the City has been collecting community feedback on the trial via an online survey. The survey has been promoted through an on-site QR code, and so far has received 685 responses.

We are now directly approaching business operators and building owners for their feedback on the dining decks from a business perspective. The survey area includes all business owners/operators and property owners in the blocks bounded by Bathurst, Patrick, Murray and Campbell Streets.

The Department of State Growth is also commissioning PlaceScore to follow up its initial ‘place value’ assessment, undertaken prior to the installation of the outdoor dining areas.

The evaluation of the Expanded Outdoor Dining Trial in Midtown will also include consideration of the following:

  • Micro-mobility trial data;
  • Human movement data (using mobile phone data to understand how people move around the city);
  • A technical review of the current temporary bike lane trialled as part of this project;
  • Car parking demand and use data;
  • Maintenance considerations and occupancy/use.

What will the evaluation results be used for?

The results of this trial will help us to understand whether additional outdoor street activation, including outdoor dining, can contribute to city life, improve the overall vibrancy of a street, and, importantly, encourage people to spend more time in the block and support Midtown's various local businesses.

The trial has also provided the opportunity to test many of the design concepts developed in the longer-term streetscape upgrade, prior to final design and future construction.

This will include looking at how we can best use the street and road real estate. Considerations will include footpath widths, green spaces, outdoor dining areas, parking (including drop off and loading zones) and other mobility needs, such as public transport, cars, bicycles, and an increasing micro-mobility demand.

The above considerations will ensure that we maximise the effectiveness of the limited street width (from building edge to building edge) to support a thriving inner-city area. More broadly, we will use the results to inform the general guidelines for outdoor dining in Hobart, including the provision of on-street dining spaces, where the footpaths cannot accommodate dining provision

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