The City of Melbourne is seeking community feedback on their five-year plan to expand Lincoln Square, an historic public space in the inner-northern suburb of Carlton. The release of new concept plans for the area follow on the heels of 2016 works to redevelop Swanston Street plaza, which – similar to Lincoln Square – is a popular thoroughfare for nearby university students.

Lincoln Square was originally laid out alongside the University of Melbourne Square and Argyle Square in the 1850s, making it one of the oldest parks in Melbourne. The playground that was erected there circa 1907 is thought to be Victoria’s first playground. Today, it is the only playground in the catchment area.

The proposed redevelopment of Lincoln Square will see the park expanded by approximately 15 metres into the roadway in Lincoln Square North and Lincoln Square South, representing an approximate 28% percent increase in the square’s available open space. A new kerb stand-out will be constructed at Bouverie Street to improve pedestrian connection, a pedestrian path will be added along the northern edge of the Square, and a new play space will be created to complement the existing playground.

“We plan to create a wonderful new place space around the 150-year-old Moreton Bay Figs,” says Cathy Oke, chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio. “With a growing number of children living in apartment blocks, it’s important we create a place where local children and families can connect.

Parking in the area will be reconfigured so that the park’s expansion will not result in loss of existing spaces. More and safer cycling traffic will be facilitated through the addition of a bike lane to connect Lincoln Square South to Swanston and Pelham Streets.

“With the population of Carlton expected to increase by 60 percent by 2026, now is a good time to improve Lincoln Square,” says Oke.

“A significant number of pedestrians walk through Lincoln Square to get to key destinations such as [the University of Melbourne], with over 900 pedestrians in the morning peak and 700 pedestrians in the evening peak alone.

“We want to make it safer and easier for people to move through Lincoln Square by upgrading the lighting, park entrances and pathways, including providing a new pathway along Lincoln Square North.”

The Lincoln Square landscape concept plan is intended to set the direction work for improvement works over the next five years. Community feedback is currently being sought here.