Kerb ramping


Gwynne Street Pocket Park Through a Transport Management Lens






Gwynne Street Pocket Park

Covering just one square kilometre, Cremorne ‒ the site of Ratio’s head office ‒ blends the commercial with the residential. It serves as a home-away-from-home for employees in the area who enjoy diverse streetscape typologies encompassing repurposed factories, Victorian weatherboard homes and iconic shopping strips. The implementation of a pocket park on the Stephenson Street/Gwynne Street intersection provided a lesson in pedestrian management during the implementation of public infrastructure.

Gwynne Street Pocket Park

The Victorian Planning Authority and the City of Yarra have spent years actively engaging with the local community to provide a roadmap for the Cremorne precinct. The plan outlined individual strategies to support ongoing development whilst maintaining the unique and vibrant atmosphere characteristic of Cremorne. The plan revealed opportunities for repurposing existing land for public open space, and to improve streets by offering better access to public transport and improving the safety of travellers.

Public and Open Space

A key theme highlighted in the Cremorne Place Implementation Plan was to increase open space catering to the growing community, including a pocket park on the Stephenson Street/Gwynne Street intersection. The project aimed at upgrading and expanding the existing open space at the intersections of Stephenson Street with Dover Street and Gwynne Street ‒ two locations that see thousands of workers and residents pass through every day.

Three key themes were identified as part of the pocket park project:

  1. Trees and greenery – the need for shade and greenery, including a mix of trees, including a focal Jacaranda tree, and native planting.
  2. More useable space and more facilities – a place to sit, relax and meet, with facilities including bins, sheltering and open space.
  3. Improved pedestrian path connectivity – places that feel safe which include appropriate lighting, signage and buffering between vehicles and vulnerable users. This saw footpaths widened, extended and appropriate ramping included to cater for all road users.

These themes help encourage active transport users, increased pedestrian use of open space and improve the safety of all road users.


New infrastructure is accompanied by a wealth of construction, traffic management and disruption to road users so the safety of vulnerable users, particularly pedestrians, needs be closely observed.

Where footpaths and pedestrian crossings are impacted, appropriate measures, such as those outlined by AustRoads should include (but are not limited to):

  • Traffic management workers to ensure the separation of pedestrians and vehicles
  • Provision of temporary footpaths with a minimum width of 1.8 meters
  • Temporary kerb ramps and road crossings as near as possible to the original crossing
  • Appropriate surfacing to allow for prams, wheelchairs and mobility aids
  • Illumination of temporary paths to the same level of lighting on the original paths
  • Safety fences or cones to provide a barrier between pedestrians and worksites
  • Where pedestrians must be diverted onto existing roadways, pedestrian paths should be separated from other traffic with appropriate mesh fencing with a separation of 1.2 meters between pedestrians and other road users provided where speeds exceed 40km/h

These measures are to ensure the transport network can continue to operate safely and efficiently for all transport users.

While of a much higher standard than many construction sites elsewhere in Melbourne city, some examples of missed opportunities during the Stephenson Street / Gwynne Street pocket park are as follows:

Providing kerb ramping close to fencing, scaffolding and signage prevent those with prams, wheelchairs and other mobility issues from safely using available ramps.

In addition, a lack of kerb ramping provided on the opposite side of the street, results in pedestrians using the roadway until an appropriate ramp can be found, generally in the form of a nearby driveway or side street. In built-up industrial areas such as Cremorne, these ramps are far and few between.

Providing road signage and temporary blockages on pedestrian footpaths reduces existing footpath widths below the desired 1.8 meters, preventing appropriate passing room for pedestrians and through movements for those with prams, wheelchairs and other mobility issues.

Not only does it reduce the overall width of the footpath but provides additional safety issues during periods of low light or for those with vision impairments.

A lack of appropriate signage and barriers reduces the overall safety of pedestrians who are left to use the existing road carriageway as footpaths and put them in close proximity to vehicles and other road users.

Uneven surfaces inhibit the use of prams and wheelchairs, and seriously impact the safety of pedestrians with mobility issues, in particular vision impairments.

Provisions for Pedestrians

Although there are several safety issues, a conscious effort was made to protect pedestrians while construction was underway on the Stephenson Street/Gwynne Street Pocket Park, and site management remained at a relatively high standard.

Many construction sites lack the necessities to protect pedestrians and provide appropriate access to and from nearby destinations with insufficient infrastructure including:

  • Closed-off footpaths leading to dead ends
  • Footpaths narrowed to be unusable by those with prams, wheelchairs or mobility aids
  • Lack of kerb ramping or ability to traverse from one footpath to another
  • Inappropriate surfacing
  • Minimal or no lighting
  • No protection through cones or fencing
  • Insufficient protection between pedestrians and other road users
How can we improve?

The key to appropriately maintaining appropriate pedestrian infrastructure to the standard of the City of Yarra during the Stephenson Street/Gwynne Street Pocket Park is industry awareness and enforcement by local councils and government.

To design for everyone, we need to design for our most vulnerable road users.

Ratio specialises in transport and placemaking projects and understands the value of undertaking projects which address the needs of all users of our streets. Members of our transport and urban design team have worked on a variety of projects, encompassing:

  • Active and Sustainable Transport Studies
  • Local Area Traffic Management Studies
  • Road Safety Audits & Safe System Assessments
  • Event and Construction Management Plans
  • Signage and Line Marking Documentation
  • Placemaking Strategies
  • Movement and Place Studies

Reach out to to learn more about what our Transport team can bring your project.