Melbourne transport strategy to prioritise walking, public transport and bicycles

The City of Melbourne’s Draft Transport Strategy 2030 sets goals of becoming Australia’s bicycling capital, prioritising walking and public transport, and restricting private vehicle movements to lower the city’s emissions.

Released for public comment in early May, the document also proposes widening many footpaths to reduce overcrowding, building more than 50km of protected bicycle lanes, and adding 300 more motorcycle parking bays to encourage them off footpaths.

“Public transport use, walking and cycling are growing and private vehicle trips are declining,” a report to Council’s Future Melbourne (Transport) Committee said.

“Our city’s streets and places need to adapt to support these changes as the daily city population is forecast to grow from 900,000 today to 1.4 million per day in 2036.”

The strategy said congested footpaths are a problem in some parts of the central city, especially around central city railway stations and tram stops.

The municipality has Victoria’s highest rate of pedestrian road trauma, with an average of 46 pedestrians injured and one killed each year.

Regarding private vehicles, the strategy says it will convert Melbourne’s ‘Little’ streets into pedestrian priority shared zones to link its laneways and reduce the more than 40 percent of traffic travelling through the central city by encouraging bypass routes.

The report also says the city will: maintain vehicle access for emergency vehicles and people with a disability or limited mobility as a priority and ensure street and loading access is facilitated for freight, trade and servicing.

Other proposals include working with the Victorian government on trialling a 30km/h speed limit in the central city, and reduced limits in other pedestrian areas across the city.

On 21 May, councilors in the Future Melbourne Committee approved a plan to close parts of Elizabeth Street “to prioritise access for pedestrians, cyclists and trams in the central retail area from Flinders Street up to La Trobe Street.”

Council will now hold discussions about designs of the streetscape.