Project: Lighting the Way from princess Street to Percy Street
Organisation: Brimbank City Council
Grant fund: Public Safety Infrastructure Fund
Grant amount: $250,000
In 2017, Brimbank City Council was awarded a $250,000 Public Safety Infrastructure Fund (PSIF) grant for their ‘Lighting the Way’ project and contributed an additional $1 million to transform a dimly lit laneway in the St Albans town centre to improve perceptions of safety and encourage more legitimate use of the space.
The Princess Street laneway runs between two large car parks in a busy shopping and community service precinct in the town centre near the train station. The laneway regularly experienced dumped rubbish, graffiti vandalism and property damage, and was actively avoided by locals at night due to a lack of lighting and reports of antisocial behaviour.
Following safety and lighting assessments of the area, council applied for a PSIF grant to improve lighting and pedestrian accessibility, as well as new amenity to help activate the space and increase feelings of safety. Victoria Police indicated support for the proposed upgrades and the benefits new lighting would provide to local policing operations.
Council engaged many local partners throughout the project including the St Albans Business Association, local police, St Albans Community Centre, VicRoads and surrounding retailers. A significant focus of this engagement was to drive community understanding and support to change the Princess Street area from a vehicle zone, to a shared vehicle and pedestrian space. By working closely with stakeholders to provide greater insight into this key design approach, people better understood the intended outcome and were more prepared for the changes.
Guided by Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles (CPTED), the project successfully delivered:
- new lighting along a laneway and walkway linking through to residential areas
- new road paving to create a safe shared zone for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles
- landscaping works, including 27 new trees and a large garden bed
- custom street furniture
- street signage and line marking to assist safe pedestrian movement
- rubbish removal.
Council held a community event in May 2019 to celebrate the completion of the project with live music, street performers, food by local vendors and fun activities for kids.
The Lighting the Way project has significantly increased lighting levels throughout the busy public space, improved visibility and increased perceptions of safety. Council attributes the design improvements to creating a more lively atmosphere, helping people to feel safer moving through and spending time in the area.
In 2019, the project was awarded the ‘Great Place’ award from the Planning Institute of Australia (Victoria) . The award recognised the transformation’s role in attracting more people to the space and using crime prevention measures and environmental attributes to promote a sense of community and safety.
The project was also shortlisted for the 2019 Australian Urban Design Awards.