Inner East Review
Tuesday, 5 December 2023

Yarra City Council traffic strategy puts walkers and bicyclists first and cars last

Updated March 28 2022 - 2:35pm, first published 5:00am
Motorists 'not wanted' on Yarra roads
Motorists 'not wanted' on Yarra roads

A series of impediments to dissuade drivers from using Yarra City roads would be introduced under the council's new Transport Strategy, to make way for more pedestrian, bicycle and scooter use.

The disincentives include road closures, lowered speed limits, reduced parking and higher parking charges.

The Moving Forward strategy, which is open to public comment until April 11, lists a hierarchy of transport types, with "active modes" such as walking, cycling and scooter use at the top and "local [car] traffic" and "through traffic" at the bottom.

After active transport modes, the policy prioritises public transport; vehicles facilitating access for people with a disability; construction and service vehicles; and car share and taxis, above private car use.

The strategy's New Deal for Cycling policy aims to encourage more people, particularly women and children, to ride bikes by improving safety on roads and connecting existing bike paths to create a "world-class" cycle network in Yarra.

Protected bike lanes would be created on busy, high-speed roads, potentially replacing parking, and bike and pedestrian safety would be improved through reducing the speed limit to 30km/h.

Other measures would be to close roads, remove angle parking and introduce turning-bans and other "traffic calming" measures such as one-way streets, speed humps and chicanes.

The strategy's New Deal for Walking proposes to maximise space for pedestrians, pram and wheelchair users by shifting street trading and footpath infrastructure such as benches, bins and trees into roadways and creating more kerb out-stands.

At the March 8 meeting where the draft document was discussed, Streets Alive Yarra president Jeremy Lawrence - whose group counts traffic and transport engineers among its membership - strongly endorsed the strategy, which he described as "evidence-based", "best practice" and "top-class".

However, Let's Enhance Gleadell Street's Steven Vaughan questioned whether implementing the strategy would be genuinely democratic, and appealed to councillors to "embrace deeper community engagement" on the issues.


Jenny Denton


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