A 10% increase in CBD #pedestrian connectivity could be worth an extra $1.2billion to the Melbourne economy

Dangerous pedestrian overcrowding, congestion choked roads and a crippled public transport system could become reality without a plan to address how Melbourne’s fast growing population commute in and around the city.
In a bid to adapt at the same pace as growing transport pressures, the City of Melbourne will release the first two of eight transport discussion papers to inform a new Transport Strategy for the municipality.

First on the agenda is the city's most important mode of transport; walking.

Chair of the Transport portfolio Councillor Nicolas Frances Gilley said the Walking and City Space transport strategy discussion papers invite debate around how we use and allocate space and make it safer and easier for people to get around the city on foot.

"Pedestrian crowd crush is a big issue in Melbourne and with the number of people in our city set to grow by 50 percent in the next 20 years, we need to think about how we address that," Cr Frances Gilley said.

"Overcrowding on footpaths poses a serious threat to pedestrian safety: on Spencer Street alone, one pedestrian was killed and 31 have been injured in the past five years.

"Every hour during the morning peak, 15,000 pedestrians cross the Spencer and Collins Street intersection outside Southern Cross Station which is five times the number of people in cars, yet cars are given twice the amount of time as pedestrians to pass through."

 

In order to draft a strategy that improves how Melbournians experience moving around their city, feedback on how to alter the pedestrian environment is sought.

"It could be changing the light sequence, removing on street car parking to make more room for pedestrians, closing certain stretches of road to traffic at particular periods during the day, as we do on Little Collins Street at lunchtime for example. We want to hear what you think," Cr Frances Gilley said.

"Allocating the majority of space to cars when most people walk or take public transport is not sustainable. We are a walking city: within our CBD 89 percent of all trips in the city's core are made on foot and if we want to encourage more people to walk more often so we need to make it safer and easier to do so.

"Pedestrian activity also benefits our economy as walkers are more likely to stop, linger and eat or shop at our businesses. A 10 percent increase in the connectivity of the pedestrian network can result in an economic uplift of $1.2 billion to Melbourne's economy."

 

The discussion papers also feature case studies of what other cities, such as Auckland and Dublin, are doing in this area.

This article was originally published in City of Melbourne.

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