Dorset Square provides new shopping experience – in the car park!

Knox City Council had a vision to improve the look, feel and function of the Dorset Square car park in Boronia, Melbourne.

Car park redevelopments are common in Council capital works programs.  Most Councils elect to re-sheet and line-mark, and then move on.  However, Knox City Council had a vision to improve the look, feel and function of the Dorset Square car park in Boronia, Melbourne.  Specifically they backed a Water Sensitive Urban Design solution that came with savvy thinking by their engineers, Storm Consulting.

The result is a standout car park re-development in the heart of a busy shopping complex that showcases Council’s commitment to water quality improvement.

Prior to the upgrade, the car park was unsafe for pedestrians and suffered an urban heat island effect during summer.  In winter the surface was subject to local nuisance flooding because of pit blockage by wind-blown litter.  It was a hostile environment for shoppers.

As part of the re-construction, Council wanted to include a shared zone for vehicles and pedestrians.  This mean removing existing kerb and channel and required a clever design response to get water into stormwater pits.

Two key WSUD elements were included in the design, permeable drainage and interconnecting tree pits.  The permeable drainage conveys the flow across a level surface into stormwater pits.  This resolves the issue created by removing the kerb and channel.  The interconnecting tree pits provide a visual relief across the stark car park pavement, and they also provide cooling shade.  The soil media in which the trees grow is where water quality is improved.

Storm worked closely with Council on this project which resulted in an excellent meshing of civil, environmental and landscape design.

Dorset Square won the 2009 Award of Excellence for Urban Re-development as conferred by Stormwater Victoria.