Chapel Street Ferry vs. Route 77 tram

  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
There was an interesting story on Nine News tonight about a proposal to run a ferry service from the City Wharf (at Southbank) direct to a new dock to be built at the Chapel Street bridge.  I didn't actually see much of the story apart from the promos but it was interesting nevertheless; didn't hear how much the proposal was to cost but the idea was to brighten up the Toorak Road end of Chapel street which I must admit has been looking really dismal with lots of shop vacancies lately.  Personally I think it's got more to do with competition from Chadstone but the ferry proposal could possibly have merit.

My only thought was "Why not reinstate Route 77?".  For those who don't know, Route 77 was a tram that ran from Flinders Street Station along the same route as 70 (in the days before the new route 70 past the Tennis Centre) until it got to Church/Chapel street where it turned right and joined the 78/79 Prahran/Richmond North tram.  I pointed out to my flatmate one day when were on the 78 that the curves are in fact still there so it wouldn't take much to reinstate it; cheaper than a ferry I'm sure and a direct tram from the City to Chapel Street; maybe even use some of the spare W's in storage specifically for the purpose.


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  glennofootscray Junior Train Controller

Location: Footscray
Chapel Streets biggest issue is the lack of parking combined with the huge rents that landlords demand, making it difficult for small retailers in business.

This scenario is being played out in most retail shopping strips, small independent retailers develop in an area and make it 'funky, edgey and cool' then the landlords crank up the rent, make the business marginal, the businesses move on to somewhere cheaper, and the infill is either large chain retailers, franchises or empty shops.

This is also happening in Bridge Rd, Richmond, Brunswick Rd, Fitzroy and Acland St, St Kilda. So Chapel St is not alone.

DFOs like South Warf are also taking a lions share of visitor/tourist dollar from the suburbs as well.

So reinstating the 77 in the end, will not save Chapel St.

regards Glenn
  msilsby Deputy Commissioner

Location: Canberra
The problem with Chapel street is that the council refuses to acknowledge that cars are the problem.
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
The Masterplan for Chapel Street is designed to encompass the whole section between the Yarra River & Dandenong Rd with the ferry part to be part of the grand plan. The article in The Age yesterday provided some detail about what this master plan involves, as does a page on the Stonnington Council website. I'm not so old that I don't remember the Route 77, and the curves at Swan Street are still in place. I'm thinking that some of the bigger pieces of this plan are already underway. Tram track has been renewed this year between Dandenong Road & Commercial/Malvern Rd & the section between Commercial Rd & Toorak Rd will be done over the whole of this week starting Monday. It's also mentioned that Stonnington Council will be resurfacing Chapel Street between High Street & Commercial Rd.

Personally I think the ferry service could work, but it's only for novelty value. It's much easier to access Chapel Street by train, and the masterplan shows linkages between existing train stations and Chapel Street. And if you want the tram, that's available too. Anyway, we'll see what happens with the ferry, I'm sure Melbourne High School will really want a ferry wharf opposite the schools north gate. Maybe the rumoured WWII bunkers and tunnels under the school can be turned into cafes and shops.

The Age article:

Stonnington Council News - Chapel Street Masterplan with a link to the plan:
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Yeah all valid points.  Chapel Street has been suffering at both the Windsor and the Toorak Road ends for some time now.  Toorak Road is much harder because the area around the Jam Factory is 'high end' and they charge astronomical rents accordingly - the last twelve months has seen a steady stream of established businesses leaving the area and every fourth or fifth shop is either vacant or coming up for lease.  The new (2 years old) Vogue shopping centre is also looking dreadful, I've been into Big W quite a few times there and there's almost no tenants left on the same floor, I would hate to be a commercial landlord right now because it's obvious retail is in a big slump.

And yes, personally I think car congestion doesn't help the situation - it gets worse at some times rather than others.  I think with the advent of these high density towers around Vogue we're seeing the traffic get worse as people drive in and out.  I think the problem is as Glen says, strip shops get really fashionable, the rents go up and that kills the same edgy, funky vibe that attracted the young 'uns to begin with.  Witness Brunswick Street Fitzroy, I think it's gone full circle in the last 12 years or so and now it's just looking like every other strip with chain shops and nothing that interesting or edgy about it.  The Windsor end of Chapel Street has also gone full circle like this too and there's lots of larger retail spaces that have been vacant for very long periods of time, they just can't find tenants.  There's only so many cafes they can squeeze into that area!

What to do?  Well you could try the 77 for a while and see if it works but it would be an issue of rolling stock provision when the fleet is already stretched and also - who pays?  The State Government? Stonnington Council?  Landlords?  Retailers?
  Aussie Steve Deputy Commissioner

LACK OF PARKING!!! There are plenty of empty car spots all along Chapel St in the many multi-deck car parks. There is plenty of car parking in the precinct, it's just that people would prefer not to pay and use on-street, rather than off-street.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
There has been a trend over an extended number of years for tram routes which make turns at intersections to be withdrawn in favour of those crossing straight and passengers changing over where possible.  

The 77 was withdrawn allegedly as part of a drive to reduce costs when patronage was falling and there hadn't been investment in the tramways for perhaps 20 years.  If it were to be reinstated now it may be at the expense of something else as the city intersections (particularly Flinders / Swanston) are said to be near  or at maximum capacity.  Running more trams will only cause delay to them all.

For those who wish to travel by tram the connections via multiple routes from the city onto the 78 and 79 are good.

For those who prefer something a bit different then a ferry service might work.  Other initiatives haven't been terribly successful but have survived witness the Southbank - Williamstown ferry; only once an hour, $28 fare and gets canned in bad weather.  Compared with a train every 20 minutes, Myki fares which cover you elsewhere often at no additional cost and stopping in many more places.

You need to plan ahead before using these ferries; you can just turn up and go on the train or trams.   I know which I would rather use.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Gwiwer: Also things like the bicycle punt across the Yarra at Spotswood, ferry services have a history of failure in this city.  The bicycle punt is really half-a*sed, sometimes it's running, sometimes it's not (even when they advertise that it is).  It's a shame they never built pedestrian/bicycle access over the Westgate, I've walked across the Harbour Bridge and it's a must-do when you go to Sydney.  I suppose in the sixties/seventies when they built the Westgate they probably thought 'what nuff nuff would want to walk?'.
  LamontCranston Chief Commissioner

Make it a clear way - cars parked on the curb force traffic onto the tracks slowing the trams slowing the traffic.
There are plenty of multi level garages, never mind the 4 trams and railway line.

glenno: couldn't catering to too niche a market also play a factor in that? Manabar on Brunswick St aimed at 20-something videogame nerds, not many of whom go out clubbing or have the money for $25 cocktails.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Extending clearways is never going to happen under this government. Don't forget, they were virtually elected on the promise of removing extended clearways in that same area, so making more is highly unlikely.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Extending clearways is never going to happen under this government. Don't forget, they were virtually elected on the promise of removing extended clearways in that same area, so making more is highly unlikely.

Whilst I agree that there won't be a change in the clearway hours, I thought they were elected on a platform of improved public transport - before there was a change of premier and an immediate jump into car-oriented stuff.
  Peter Spyker Train Controller

What sort of moron would drive to Chapel St, anyway? Whenever I go there - at any time of day, or even at midnight - traffic along there is a gridlock.

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