Pedestrians and cyclists look set to be the clear winners of the City of Melbourne’s draft transport strategy, which will be presented to councillors next week.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp emphasised the link between liveability and walkability when announcing the draft strategy on Thursday.
“We know that a 10 per cent increase in pedestrian connectivity can deliver an extra $2.1 billion to Melbourne’s businesses. At the moment, 89 per cent of all trips in the central city are on foot and walkers face increasingly overcrowded footpaths,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
“By making changes so people can move around the city quickly, safely and comfortably, people will be more likely to visit our fantastic retailers, cafes, restaurants and cultural institutions.
She also said that walkability is crucial to central city work and the knowledge economy.
“People working in the central city need to be able to move easily around the city to meet, interact, innovate and do business. Walking is a vital way for these workers to connect.
“We’ve already seen the share of car trips to work in the city decrease by 25 per cent since 2001 and today most people travel to work by train, not car. The delivery of projects such as Melbourne Metro will see car dependency continue to decline as more convenient transport alternatives become available.”
She also said that the “draft plan isn’t about supporting one mode of transport over another”.
Plans to make Melbourne more pedestrian-friendly by 2030 include restricting car access to Melbourne’s central “Little Streets” – such as Little Bourke, Little Collins and Little Flinders – with low speed limits.
20 Bourke Street malls worth of public road and on-street parking spaces will also be reclaimed for pedestrians, cyclists, greening, trading and more. Some sidewalk car parks will be turned into motorcycle parking bays.
The council also cut congestion by encouraging through traffic to avoid the central city while accommodating cars and other vehicles visiting for a purpose, such as delivery drivers, emergency vehicles, tradespeople or people with disabilities.
The spaces around the city’s central train stations will also get a face lift to make them “welcoming and safe” for the public.
Cyclists will also get 50km of protected on-road bicycle lanes on key routes in the city’s centre.
The draft strategy will be considered by councillors at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on Tuesday 7 May, 2019. If endorsed, the strategy will be released for public consultation and feedback for a six week period.