Melbourne CBD's 'Little' streets could be closed at certain times during the day to make the city more pedestrian friendly, under the council's transport strategy.
Melbourne's 'Little' streets could be closed to cars at times under council plan
By Timna Jacks
May 1, 2019 — 11.45pm
- Little Collins, Little Bourke, Little Lonsdale, Little La Trobe streets could be closed at certain times of the day to be more pedestrian friendly.
- This could happen under Melbourne City Council's new transport strategy.
- The strategy outlines a vision for the city's transport network to 2030. It comes after a year of research and consultation, which included the release of several high-profile discussion papers.
- The biggest capacity issue in the CBD is pedestrian overcrowding, with walking accounting for about 90 per cent of all travel in the city.
A bridge over the Yarra River linking Collins Street and Fishermans Bend could also be backed in Melbourne City Council's draft transport strategy to be released shortly.
This would create a direct route for trams, cyclists and pedestrians to Australia's largest urban renewal area, which is currently only accessible by bus or car.
The council’s document will outline how it proposes to boost pedestrian, cycling and tram access through the Hoddle Grid over the next 10 years.
Council planners are also understood to be considering making Melbourne's "Little" streets (Little Collins, Little Bourke, Little Lonsdale, Little La Trobe) more pedestrian friendly.
This could involve reducing speed limits, making motorists give pedestrians right of way, and closing sections of these streets at different times of day, said Nicolas Frances Gilley, chair of the council's transport portfolio.
"The transport policy will absolutely look at all the ways we can deliver those things that will allow us to contemplate little streets, speed limits and roads at certain times of day being open or closed," Cr Frances Gilley said.
The section of Little Collins between Swanston and Elizabeth streets is already closed during lunch time and could be extended under the new strategy.
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.
Walking accounts for about 90 per cent of all travel in the Hoddle Grid.
Council is also expected to roll out a 30km/h trial for cars in a section of the city and a congestion charge, two measures previously flagged in discussion papers released ahead of the strategy. The 30km/h would replace 40km/h zones.
"Fifty per cent of cars coming in the city are going straight through it. If we want to reduce congestion, considering what we can do about that traffic is really important," Cr Frances Gilley said.
It is expected that on-street car parking will continue to be removed and given over to motorcycle parking, as a way of extending footpaths.
Some car spots have already been converted in this way in locations around the city, including Bourke Street.
“We have already started, and I'm sure we will continue to replace some car parks with motor bike parks to give more space to pedestrians," Cr Frances Gilley said.
There is not enough room for people to get around, particularly those who are walking. They are spilling onto the road and it’s unsafe. Those spaces will be priorities."
A target of at least 30 kilometres of new bikes lanes is believed to form part of the policy, including new lanes on Bourke Street.
This would include a mix of bike lane configurations, including some separated bike lanes.
We are absolutely committed to creating that separation so people feel safe and keep fit and healthy," Cr Frances Gilley said.
The strategy is also understood to call for some tram stops to be redesigned and connected pedestrian crossings to make them safer for pedestrians.