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What is a Play Street?

A Play Street is a simple concept, it is a quiet residential street where children and neighbours of all ages connect and play together on the street, without car traffic, normally lasting 2-3 hours.

Play Streets are not large-scale community events, they are small-scale gatherings for neighbours, ideally coordinated by residents themselves.

You can download our Play Street Toolkit (PDF 3MB) which is a step-by-step guide to help you organise your event. This toolkit is specifically designed to provide planning advice (steps and templates) to Merri-bek communities who are interested in using temporary street closures for Play Streets. A Play Street can be a recurring or a one-off event.

Download our Play Street Toolkit (PDF 3MB)

What a Play Street needs:

  • a quiet road with no public transport routes
  • to be supported by other residents in the street
  • to be insured and permitted by Merri-bek City Council

Making your street a Play Street is a low-cost and simple way to:

  • get your kids playing outdoors in a way that is fun, safe, and close to home
  • get to know your neighbours and make better connections among the people who live in your street
  • work with Council to create a long-term great street for your family and community

How to organise a Play Street

Below are the steps you can follow to organise a Play Street and submit it to be approved by Council. You will need to start completing these steps 2 to 3 months before the date you want to hold your Play Street so that all the steps can be completed in time.

  • First things first, you need to make sure that a Play Street will work for you and your neighbours. Consider the following questions to make sure Play Streets is the right choice for your street.

    1. Is your street suitable?

    Think carefully about your own street, or one that’s very close by. A safe and convenient Play Street must meet the following criteria:

    A quiet, local street
    This means:
    • The street is not a major road, does not have a lot of traffic, and is not on a public transport route.
    • A quiet road with less than 1000 cars a day
    • Not on a bus route
    • Over half the properties on the street are houses
    • A road that is not used by trucks
    • An easy alternate route provided for cars that need to be diverted
    • No road or footpath works scheduled at time of the Play Street

    Welcoming and safe
    The street is in a residential area that feels welcoming and safe for people to gather. It should not be too steep, dark or next to industrial land.

    Closing a section of the street won’t block access to a major driveway, building or school, and people will be able to use other routes to get where they need to go. Can you think of anything else that might make your street good or bad for holding a Play Street?
    If your street isn’t suitable, consider other options nearby. Do you have friends or neighbours nearby who might be keen to have a Play Street on their street?

  • Before you get started, make sure at least one other parent, neighbour or family is committed to helping out. Since we all live busy lives, it’s useful to have a second person to help, so talk to your friends and neighbours to see who’s interested. It’s also a good idea to door-knock your neighbours to run the idea past them.

    You must provide Council with at least 2 options for dates as there might be work scheduled or other activities that may mean your first preference isn’t suitable When applying for a Play Street, you will need to get support from at least 75% of residents on your

    Things you can do to get neighbour support

    • Door knock and speak to you neighbours (we have provided a suggested script for you to use in the Play Street toolkit). 
    • Letter to leave behind if your neighbours are not home (we have provided a template of a letter you could use to leave for your neighbours, We have also added letters translated into 10 languages, if your neighbours speak other languages). 
    • Neighbourhood meeting. You might like to organise a neighbourhood meeting to talk in more detail about your Play Street with your neighbours. We have provided some items to discuss during you meeting in the Play Street toolkit). 
  • Traffic

    There are 4 parts to making sure your Play Street will be safe and convenient for both residents and drivers:
    • Traffic Management Plan
    • Signage
    • Traffic marshaling knowledge
    • Risk and safety plan

  • Almost there! Getting toys and people ready to go can be almost as fun as the day itself. Once Merri-bek City Council has approved your application, it’s time for the fun stuff! Gather a kit of toys, and supplies, get the word out and get each organiser to take on a role to share the load.

    Just a reminder that Play Streets are family-friendly and alcohol-free and no one should be selling drinks or food, let’s keep it free and fun!

  • The day is here! Keep it simple and let the good times roll - while the Play Box will prompt different types of play, kids find ways to play on their own.

    We have included a few tips to keep things running smoothly in our PlayStreet toolkit

  • If you’ve just run your first Play Street then congratulations!

    Celebrate your success and thank your friends and neighbours for attending and helping out.

    Talk to people who came along and ask them what they liked about Play Streets. Getting quotes can be great to capture your results and areas for improvement. Let us know how your Play Street went and what you’re planning next. You might be able to apply for a recurring event.

    You can share ideas, experiences, and advice with others planning Play Streets in Australia by joining the Play Streets group on Facebook.

    Please note: the first Play Street you run takes a bit more work, but after that, it should be smooth sailing as you’ve done it all before.

If you need assistance with the toolkit, please contact us by calling 9240 1111 or emailing and ask for the Play Streets Lead.

Apply to host a Play Street