Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What is happening at Port Melbourne? Basically nothing.

Maybe there are monsters roaming the streets which remain just out of sight but everyone knows they are there so no one dares venture out at night, lest they be torn limb from limb.
We own a restaurant [Paris Grill] opposite the beach which we opened a few months ago expecting to take advantage of a veritable avalanche of customers enjoying our beautiful bay for both summer and winter.
Great theory, but absolutely wrong.
Quiet would be an understatement. Not just for us but for nearly every one of the restaurants within coooee. We do a walk around each night to gauge how everyone’s doing and sad though it be, staff often outnumber customers for some of the larger, well known and GOOD restaurants.
There are only four major considerations for a profitable restaurant – d├ęcor, service, food and customers. All eight of our immediate beachside restaurants look good, provide good service, serve great food at acceptable prices but just don’t have enough customers.
Our other restaurant in Fitzroy [Mon Ami] is over-full most nights with the same food, same service and a similar feel, yet in Port Melbourne we are surprised to see someone walk past after dark.
What happened to winter evening promenades by the beach? Where are the 4 million Melbournians? What has Port Melbourne done to reap the wrath of so many? Is someone not telling us we have collective BO?
Who is responsible?
We personally have seen big chunks of the world where people celebrate their sea, river, lake or indeed any puddle. Paris has the Seine, Chamonix has its beautiful grey blue glacial river, Sorrento has the Tyrrhenian Sea and Cassis the Mediterranean, but none have the waterfront or beaches to match Melbourne.
Yet we ignore the sheer pleasure of being able to winter promenade along the beach in Port Melbourne where we have action – ferries, ships, restaurants, trams, views, wine, coffee, lunch, dinner, wind, cold, excitement, sunsets and its all here at Port Melbourne all the time.
Where is everyone?
In other parts of the world strolling and chatting followed by some sort of repast is an art form yet in bayside Melbourne we seem to stay at home and watch TV. Go figure.
Get out of your air-conditioned cocoons and enjoy the winter-scape which our beautiful Melbourne does so well. Embrace the cold as if it was your long lost sister – enjoy the warmth of a relationship with the elements whilst looking forward to an embracing Aquavit or Gluhweine or dinner or coffee or even a splash of icy seawater on the face.
Aren’t we lucky.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Reducing speed limits - will it work?

It seems that around 2 pedestrians a year die by being hit by a car in our city of umpteen million people. I would suggest we are at greater risk choking on our Weeties.
Of course reducing speed would cause fewer accidents, this is a no-brainer, but at what point do we enter padded cells so we can’t hurt ourselves or others. Just dropping speed limits cannot change behaviour by dropkick drivers or suicidal pedestrians but it does cause frustration and turns normal law abiding people into law breakers. Just ask anyone who uses the ring road with its variable speed limits.
But, there are times when reduced limits are vital, such as Acland Street in St Kilda which needs to be 30km/h because mobile phone infused people just wander aimlessly across the road playing chicken with cars.
We drive through the city every night about 11pm between Fitzroy and St Kilda. Every night we see multiple cars run red lights. Every night we see idiot pedestrians run the suicide gamut across the traffic ignoring the fact that a ton of metal tootling down the street will turn them into a strawberry blob. ‘She’ll be right mate, I’ve only had a couple of drinks, a few drugs and my lobotomy scars have almost healed.’
Just last night we came across two girls giggling their way across the traffic whilst bemused drivers tried to avoid stiletto damage.
Sometimes I think our gene pool is too conflicted.