Melbourne Council is refreshing its Transport Strategy for 2019. The number of people in the city each day is set to grow from 911,000 to 1.4 million in less than two decades.
The key pedestrian elements in the draft 10-year plan includes restricting traffic on secondary streets such as Little Collins and Little Bourke to make them more pedestrian friendly. The section of Little Collins between Swanston and Elizabeth Street is already closed during lunch time and could be extended under the new strategy. Walking accounts for about 90 per cent of all travel in the Hoddle Grid.
A target of at least 30 kilometres of new bike lanes is contemplated, including new lanes on Bourke Street.
It is expected that on-street car-parking will continue to be removed to deliver more than 300 additional motorcycle parking bays as a way of extending footpath area (with the removal of motor bike parking from these footpaths).
These are all great initiatives but will still maintain access for essential car trips, especially for people with a disability, trade, service and emergency services.
So it seems Australia’s most European city is going to receive a very exciting ‘European’ overhaul!
Postscript: since this article was completed there has been more news in the media that two blocks of Elizabeth Street will also be closed to cars. The area is planned to be revitalised with widened bluestone footpaths, bike lanes, street furniture and al fresco dining. This will transform one of the last of Melbourne’s eyesores. Great plan!