New transport strategy to tackle congestion

The City of Melbourne has released some transport discussion papers to create a new transport strategy, aiming to relieve congestion and protect pedestrians and cyclists in the city.

The first two of the papers, entitled Walking and City Space, focus on the allocation of walking, cycling and vehicle spaces.

Transport portfolio chair, Nicholas Frances Gilley, said walking was the most popular way for people to get around in the city and more space and protection should be given to pedestrians.

“Pedestrian crowd crush is a big issue in Melbourne and with the number of people in our city set to grow by 50 per cent in the next 20 years, we need to think about how we address that,” Cr Frances Gilley said.

“Overcrowding on footpaths poses a serious threat to pedestrian safety: on Spencer St alone, one pedestrian was killed and 31 have been injured in the past five years.”

Data shows that 15,000 pedestrians pound the pavement at the Spencer and Collins streets intersection during morning peak hours.

“(The number of pedestrians at this location) is five times the number of people in cars, yet cars are given twice the amount of time as pedestrians to pass through,” Cr Frances Gilley said.

It has been suggested that “superblocks”, which are designated areas only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, would help ease congestion with a carless zone.

In the discussion papers, the council is also collecting ideas about how to adjust public space to make it more pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

“Allocating the majority of space to cars when most people walk or take public transport is not sustainable. We are a walking city: within our CBD 89 per cent of all trips in the city’s core are made on foot and if we want to encourage more people to walk more often so we need to make it safer and easier to do so,” Cr Frances Gilley said.

Improving the city’s tram network, planning for new rail network infrastructure Melbourne Metro 2 and creating orbital routes to link suburbs without having to travel through the city are also proposed in the discussion papers.

The council is seeking community input and feedback about the transport discussion papers to help develop the new Transport Strategy.

The Transport Strategy will be a 10-year document with a 30-year vision on how the City of Melbourne might develop in terms of population and traffic.

Other paper topics include: public transport network, emerging technology, cycling, parking, motor vehicles and transport pricing.

In the next few weeks, more discussion papers will be released and the public is invited to share their thoughts through participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au.

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