Ambitious plan to overhaul Melbourne’s streets

Victoria Digital Asset Strategy

The City of Melbourne will consider a ten-year plan to make transport through the city easier and more connected for all types of commuters.

The Draft Transport Strategy 2030 aims to provide more space for people on footpaths and around major transport hubs, reduce congestion for cars coming to the city, boost Melbourne’s $5.7 billion retail and hospitality sector, and reduce injuries to pedestrians and cyclists.

By 2030, the plan 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
  • Maintain access for essential car trips, especially for people with a disability, trade, service and emergency vehicles

The plan is to be considered by City of Melbourne Councillors.

Melbourne Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, said long-term planning is needed to ensure Melbourne’s liveability and economic productivity are maintained as more than 900,000 people move around the city each day, increasing to 1.4 million people by 2036.

“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,” Cr Capp said.

Transport portfolio Chair, Councillor Nicolas Frances Gilley, said the great cities of the world such as Vienna, New York and Barcelona have already recognised the need to create more walkable, enjoyable cities.

“Greater Melbourne is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and our population is projected to more than double in the next 30 years. If we are to maintain our status as one of the world’s most liveable cities we have to create beautiful spaces for people to want to come and enjoy,” Cr Frances Gilley said.

Cr Capp said that a ten per cent increase in pedestrian connectivity can deliver an extra $2.1 billion to Melbourne’s businesses. Currently, 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.

Cr Capp said ‘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,” she said.

“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.”

The Lord Mayor said while the draft strategy had a large focus on creating more space for pedestrians, there would always be a place for essential car trips in the city.

“I understand that travelling into the city by car is the only option for some people. We will continue to welcome drivers whose destination is the central city including tradies, delivery vehicles, emergency services and people with a disability.

“We know that 43 percent of cars in the Hoddle Grid are passing through the city, adding to congestion. We want to see this through traffic reduced and the draft strategy includes actions to provide people with alternatives. This is work we would do in conjunction with the Victorian Government.”

Safety is a key component of the draft strategy, which proposes the City of Melbourne work with the Victorian Government on a trial to expand the 30km/hr zone on Swanston Street to other streets within the Hoddle Grid.

“Our municipality has the most collisions between pedestrians and cars in Victoria, with an average of one death and 46 pedestrian injuries each year. We want to work with the Victorian Government on a trial to create safer streets through a review of central city speed limits,” Cr Frances Gilley said.

“By exploring a trial to lower the speed limit in select areas of the central city to 30km/hr we could increase the chance of a pedestrian surviving a crash to 90 per cent. We know from international cities that this can boost safety while having a minimal impact on vehicle journeys. In Dublin for example, a speed limit drop added just 20 seconds to people’s car trips.

“By creating more than 50km of protected bicycle lanes over the next ten years we will increase rider safety and encourage more people to ride bikes. Not only will this free up space on public transport and reduce traffic congestion, it’s good for people’s health, the economy and the environment,” he said.

Dedicated on-street motorcycle parking would also be installed in high demand locations across the Hoddle Grid. Increasing on-street motorcycle parking would reduce congestion on footpaths and improve pedestrian safety.

The draft plan also includes actions to improve safety by reducing overcrowding at tram stops, busy intersections and around major train station precincts at Elizabeth Street, Flinders Street and Southern Cross station.

Cr Capp said the City of Melbourne will continue to work with the Victorian Government to coordinate long-term, major transport projects across the city, to minimise disruption and delays.

“The Victorian Government is delivering a welcome $38 billion investment in road and rail projects which will bring more people to the heart of Melbourne. The City of Melbourne’s draft transport strategy aims to provide safety, liveability and prosperity for all Victorians moving around our city,” she said.

“Collaboration will be a vital feature over the next ten years and we are committed to working closely with the Victorian Government and other key stakeholders to deliver a world class transport network.”

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.

View more information about the Draft Transport Strategy 2030 here.

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