A website has awarded both Swanston and Lonsdale streets with a score of 100/100 based on their “walkability”.
WalkScore.com judges suburbs all around the world based on their walking accessibility to dining and drinking, groceries, shopping, parks, schools, errands, and culture and entertainment.
The website labelled Lonsdale St a “walker’s paradise”, adding that daily errands could be conducted here without the need for a car.
Swanston St was dubbed not only a “walker’s paradise” but also a “rider’s paradise”, scoring 100 for its access to public transport.
Bourke and Elizabeth streets just missed out, receiving a score of 99/100. Both were lacking in the “errands” and “culture and entertainment” categories.
Overall, the CBD took out fourth most walkable suburb in Melbourne, topped by Fitzroy North in third place, Fitzroy in second place and Carlton taking out the top spot.
Victoria Walks is an association whose aim is to engage more people to walk every day.
Executive officer Dr Ben Rossiter said the scores were a good indication of the CBD’s accessibility to drinks and dining, however further distinctions should be made in order to really grasp the walkability of the CBD.
“WalkScore can be a valuable tool, but I don’t think it’s the ultimate measure of walkability,” he said.
“It includes criteria like accessibility to food, but that could be either a 7-Eleven or the Queen Victoria Market. There’s not a lot of distinction.”
The topic of congestion and particularly vehicle congestion in the CBD has been heavily discussed recently. Mr Rossiter believes that congestion is severely affecting not only our roads but also our footpaths.
“One of the biggest issues the city is facing is pedestrian crowding,” he said.
“Our footpaths are too crowded, our speed limits in the CBD by international standards are quite high, and our streets are not as permeable as they can be for crossing.”
Getting on and off our trams in really narrow, fenced in stops doesn’t make for a very walkable area either.”
Darting in and out of crowds and dodging clutter like furniture and construction signs on our streets may seem like an annoyance, but Mr Rossiter says the damage is far greater than we may realise.
“It undermines the whole functioning of the city,” he said.
“If our footpaths are too crowded because they’re too narrow or there’s too much stuff on them, it means that activities like window shopping, socialising and sitting can’t be done because there’s no space for them,” said Mr. Rossiter.
“It undermines the economic functioning of the city. Retailers need people to be able to stop and look at the products in their window. If our footpaths are way too crowded, people can’t do that.”