New City of Melbourne transport strategy to steer cars away from CBD

Moving Well | Tianna Nadalin | Posted on 11 October 2019

RACV welcomes the City of Melbourne’s Transport Strategy 2030.

RACV has welcomed the release of the City of Melbourne’s Transport Strategy 2030 as an important contribution to ensuring the liveability and economic prosperity of the city. 

However, RACV’s senior transport manager Peter Kartsidimas says the council’s recommendations, which include prioritising public transport in the CBD and reducing the number of car movements through the city, may have merit but need to be considered as part of a holistic Victorian transport plan, developed in concert with the state government.

“A lot of these ideas are not new and have been identified in previous bike plans, walking plans and strategies completed by the City of Melbourne,” says Peter. 

“For the most part, it is a good strategy that considers many of the transport challenges Melbourne is facing and outlines a plan to address these,” he says. 

“However, many ideas presented in the draft strategy require support from the Victorian state government. We hope that the city and the state can align around some of the core ideas held within the draft strategy for the ‘greater good’.”  

Peter says it remained to be seen whether the recommendations would be implemented, given that so many of these previous plans had yet to be put into action.

A crush of traffic in Melbourne CBD crossing the road in front of a tram

The City of Melbourne’s draft transport strategy will prioritise foot traffic.

What the City of Melbourne is proposing 

This draft strategy outlines the City of Melbourne’s vision for the future, and how it plans to prepare Melbourne for substantial population growth over the next 10 to 20 years.  

A significant emphasis on walking

Widening walkways, reducing wait times at traffic lights and removing clutter from footpaths are just some of the council’s suggestions to address overcrowding on Melbourne’s streets and allow for an easier flow of traffic in the CBD. 

Rethinking the little streets 

The strategy recommends converting ‘little streets’ within the Hoddle Grid to shared pedestrian priority zones to improve safety and build on the city’s thriving laneway culture. This includes repurposing the equivalent of more than six MCGs worth of public road space and parking spaces to create more space for pedestrians, cyclists, greening, trading and other important uses.

 Action on major public transport initiatives

The strategy calls for action on various significant public transport projects, such as the Melbourne Metro 2 concept, which links the Mernda line through Fitzroy, Parkville, the central city, Fishermans Bend and Newport.   

Bus and tram priority

The draft strategy proposes the creation of more dedicated bus and tram lanes and increasing traffic-light priority.   

Road user pricing 

To reduce congestion across Melbourne, council highlights the need for a road user pricing system, which improves transport equity and efficiency.

Reduced speed limits    

Following consultation with RACV on the draft Strategy, council removed the proposed 30kmh speed limit trial within the central city. However, have proposed extending the 40 km/h speed limits within the Hoddle Grid to all local roads in Parkville Gardens, North and West Melbourne and the Yarra’s Edge. 

Safer streets for bicycle riding 

The strategy outlines an ambitious plan to transform Melbourne into Australia’s leading bicycle city  by creating more than 50 kilometres of protected bicycle lanes and an working with the Victorian Government to enable an additional 40 kilometres of protected bicycle lanes.

A busy pedestrian crossing in Melbourne CBD near Flinders street station, with people holding umbrellas

RACV’s take on it all 

Melbourne, and especially the central 36 square kilometres that is the City of Melbourne municipality, is going through incredible change. One of the most obvious products of this change is the number of people walking and accessing public transport within the central area. 

“This is a vastly different place to 10, or even five, years ago,” Peter says. “These growing and often competing transport demands are impacting the liveability of the city; therefore, the transport plan requires a fresh and innovative approach to transport planning, urban design and place making.”