The City of Melbourne has released its ambitious new 10-year draft transport plan, which it promises will deliver a ‘safer central city which is easier to connect and travel within and better supports our shops, eateries and businesses to flourish.’
The Draft Transport Strategy 2030 will see a massive shift in focus to pedestrian and bike commuting, with Lord Mayor Sally Capp saying the move will ‘balance infrastructure’.
"This draft plan isn't about supporting one mode of transport over another, it's about balancing infrastructure. Our streets, footpaths, public spaces and transport hubs must adapt for the variety of ways people are travelling around our city today and into the future," the Lord Mayor said.
By 2030, the plan to be considered by Councillors aims to:
Repurpose the equivalent of 20 Bourke Street malls worth of public road and on-street parking spaces to create more space for pedestrians, cyclists, greening, trading and other important uses;
Reduce congestion for all users by encouraging through traffic to avoid the central city while accommodating cars and others vehicles visiting for a purpose;
Convert central city 'Little Streets' into pedestrian priority shared zones with lower speed limits for cars to better support our thriving retail economy and café culture;
Work with the Victorian Government to deliver world-class, welcoming and safe public spaces around our central city stations;
Create more than 50km of protected on-road bicycle lanes on key routes in the heart of the city;
Deliver 300 additional motorcycle parking bays on streets as alternatives to parking on footpaths; and
Maintain access for essential car trips, especially for people with a disability, trade, service and emergency vehicles.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said: "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.
"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.
"Walkability is also 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.
The draft strategy is set to be considered by Councillors at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting this week, and if endorsed will be set to be released for public consultation for a six week period.