After months of planning, the Clovelly Road Better Block demonstration day happened on the 27th October – this thanks to the hard work of many people and the tireless efforts of Phil Stubbs, the Better Block coordinator.
The event seemed to be a great success, judging by the community interest on the day. The principle behind the demo day was to ‘install’ a representation of the kinds of improvements Randwick Council could consider for this rather bland section of the Clovelly Road ‘gun-barrell’ transit corridor.
This included vegetation, street furniture, services like bus stop libraries and bubblers, street art, designated bicycle parking zones and community perma-culture gardens.
By the time traffic-slowing attendants arrived and a huge semi-trailer rolled in at 7am (the latter carrying 8 x 400 litre trees and hundreds of shrubs), the street’s footpaths and roadway had magically already been spray-painted with beautiful stencil art.
Between 7am and 10ish, many bodies were scampering up and down the Better Block area – carrying shrubs, street furniture, display posters and all sorts of fittings and fixtures. I was thrilled to be on the back of the semi-trailer, hurling plants at all of our helpers.
The layout in the Better Block area was essentially designed to create ‘bulb-outs’ from the footpath into the roadway, within which stalls and street furniture would be placed. These bulb-outs were separated by the major trees and framed by smaller shrubs, as was the entire length of the reclaimed roadway area.
Part of the concern in planning for the day was that the Better Block event not present as an annual street fair. The organising group was very careful to highlight the point of the day – to achieve permanent streetscape change – in their signage and advertising. Any uncertainty regarding the reasons for the event were also hopefully negated by the material in the pop-up gallery that was set-up in a vacant shop in the Better Block zone. The gallery showed examples of many other Better Block events that have occurred worldwide and lots of photos of particular components important in the creation of exciting and liveable streets.
After Randwick Council is presented with the various petitions and survey material gathered on the demo day, they will hopefully be interested in examining how the event’s installations could be transposed into permanent solutions.
You can keep up to date with our latest on the Clovelly Road Better Block at http://www.facebook.com/ClovellyRoad