Inner East Review
Wednesday, 6 December 2023

Yarra's new transport strategy adopted

Updated July 19 2022 - 9:39am, first published July 13 2022 - 1:00pm
Red light for cars as council adopts new transport strategy
Red light for cars as council adopts new transport strategy

Yarra City Council has adopted a 10-year transport strategy prioritising walking, cycling and public transport over car use in the municipality.

Councillors voted unanimously at last week's meeting to adopt the Moving Forward 2022-2032 strategy, which outlines policies to prioritise "active transport" for children and family members travelling to and from school and to make walking, cycling and scooter networks safer for users of all ages and abilities.

The document is a high-level strategy which will be realised through the development of further specific plans and policies, including a transport project action plan and parking and electric vehicle strategies.

Moving Forward's 15 policies commit the council to managing car parking in support of the strategy's aims, to "reduce, delay or remove vehicle turning movements where these create safety issues for other road and path users" and to reduce traffic volumes and lower traffic speeds.

The strategy will see Yarra encourage the use of shared transport, support the opening of streets for community use, encourage investment in new and improved public transport services and encourage transition to zero-emission road vehicles.

The strategy was the subject of public consultation for six weeks in March and April and attracted 771 pieces of feedback, of which 362 (46 per cent) were "very supportive" and 220 (28 per cent) were opposed to it.

Demographic information showed that people who owned a business or were living with a disability were more likely to be opposed to the strategy, by a narrow margin, with those groups' feedback numbers 31 opposing versus 26 supportive and 39 opposing compared to 31 supportive, respectively.

Presenting the policy, council officer Simon Exon said it was needed to address road safety issues, rising levels of travel demand, traffic congestion, limited access to public transport for disabled community members, greenhouse gas emissions and "a desire for streets to be more than just corridors for movement".

The president of Streets Alive Yarra, Jeremy Lawrence, hailed the strategy as "a wonderful document".

A second submitter, a member of Yarra's Active Transport Advisory Committee, also spoke in support of it, saying Yarra was "joining cities around the world" in "deeper actions with regard to active transport and all the implications that flow from those sorts of decision makings".

Cr Herschel Landes told the meeting, with regard to e-scooter safety, that Moving Forward included policies that would encourage more separated paths and stricter controls that would improve rider behaviour.

Cr Gabrielle de Vietri described the strategy as "a huge and significant milestone for the council and for the community" which had been "a long time coming".

She said the policies would ensure that "those people who need to drive - older people, those travelling with children and disabled people" could do so "easily and reliably into the future".

Cr Landes later said the strategy was "sound, balanced and seeks to achieve positive progressive outcomes for the community".

He identified the funding of the initiatives as the key challenge for Yarra and said that reforms were required to ensure that capital works programs could be carried out.

A council report on the strategy said costs would be calculated in relation to specific projects when they were developed, with funding resolved as part of the council's annual budgetary and operational processes.


Jenny Denton


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