An ambitious 10-year transport plan to respond to Melbourne’s significant population growth by delivering more space for pedestrians, public transport users and cyclists, will return to City of Melbourne councillors for final consideration on Tuesday.
The Transport Strategy 2030 will provide an $870 million boost to Victoria as key priorities are delivered over the next decade, according to an independent report by Deloitte Access Economics.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the strategy would improve Melbourne’s liveability, provide a boost to local businesses and reduce congestion.
“We are seeking the right balance between all modes of transport. We need all modes to work together for a liveable city, from building separated bike lanes for those riding, widening footpaths for pedestrians, introducing on-street parking bays for our motorcyclists and creating speed consistency for our motorists,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We want to encourage everyone to come to Melbourne as a destination, whether it is by train, tram, car, bike or foot.
“However, we know that we need to make changes and upgrade our infrastructure to cope with our booming population. By 2036, another 500,000 people will be moving in and around the City of Melbourne each day.
“The strategy to be considered by councillors, aims to upgrade public space and amenity around major public transport hubs, increase space and accessibility for pedestrians and boost bicycle safety with dedicated bike lanes.”
According to the Deloitte Access Economics Report, reprogramming traffic signals for how the majority of people move around the city – on foot, could generate an annual economic benefit of at least $15.4 million.
In addition, prioritising the 165,000 daily tram trips in the municipality would enable trams to move 20 per cent faster which has the potential to generate $24.9 million in annual economic benefit.
Key projects to be delivered in the first four years include introducing protected bike lanes on Exhibition Street, Latrobe Street Bridge and Rathdowne Street, 300 new on-street motorcycle parking spaces and working with the Victorian Government to deliver consistent 40 km/h vehicle speed limits across the municipality.
The strategy also flags trials of lower speed limits for some ‘Little Streets’ to continue the creation of pedestrian-priority zones at peak times. The move will boost economic activity through increased footfall in retail and hospitality precincts and improve safety for people walking in the city centre. Retail and hospitality contribute a combined $5.7 billion to the city’s economy every year.
Council will also continue to advocate for a tram extension to Fishermans Bend as a critical catalyst for development of the area and for the Melbourne Metro 2 rail link as a priority infrastructure rail link for Melbourne’s west and north.
Chair of the Transport Portfolio Councillor Nicolas Frances Gilley said the strategy would provide the framework for a safer, less congested, more accessible city with expanded public spaces for people.
“We have thought very carefully about the kind of Melbourne we want and need in order to boost prosperity and efficiency but also to be a place for people to meet, dine outdoors, shop and have space to enjoy everything our city is famous for,” Cr Frances Gilley said.
“We can achieve this by alleviating congestion on our footpaths, where 89 per cent of trips are made, by welcoming people whose end destination is the city, by committing to make Melbourne the nation’s leading bicycle city and by creating great civic destinations around our city stations.”
Cr Frances Gilley said inconsistent speed zones on local streets within the municipality as well as neighbouring municipalities was challenging for drivers.
“It can be really difficult for drivers to understand how fast they should be travelling which is frustrating and unsafe for everyone” Cr Frances Gilley said.
“If you’re driving in from the east you have 40km/h on the local streets in the City of Yarra, then 50km/h in East Melbourne before reaching the central city where it’s 40km/h again,” Cr Frances Gilley said.
“Parkville, Yarra’s Edge and other city fringe suburbs are all built-up areas with schools, shops, parks and lots of pedestrians and cyclists. By bringing them into line with 40km/h it would be much simpler for motorists, will avoid dangerous sudden stoppages and be much safer for people walking and riding bikes.
“We’ll also work with the Victorian Government to review traffic signal timing to reduce delays for the majority of people using the network – those on trams and buses, walking, and riding bikes.
“It’s very exciting to be considering this strategy after a two-year process of speaking with our community about their needs, liaising with transport experts and our colleagues in state government.
“As a result we have a robust plan that if endorsed, will deliver significant community benefits and realise our ambition for an even more beautiful, safe and welcoming world-class city.”
By 2030, the plan to be considered by Councillors aims to:
- Repurpose the equivalent of more than 6 MCGs worth of public road space and parking spaces to create more space for pedestrians, cyclists, greening, trading and other important uses
- Reduce through traffic in the busiest parts of the central city
- 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
- Transform Melbourne into Australia’s leading bicycle city by creating more than 50km of protected on-road bicycle lanes on key bicycle routes in the heart of the city, and work with the Victorian Government to enable a further 40km of protected bicycle lanes
- 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.
- Work with the Victorian Government to deliver consistency for motorists by introducing 40 km/h speed limits throughout inner Melbourne by reducing speed limits in Parkville Gardens, North and West Melbourne and Yarra’s Edge.
Read the Transport Strategy 2030 here.