THE City of Melbourne has endorsed a new plan that aims to improve the city’s walking network to cater for a rapidly growing population and boost the economy.
Developed in consultation with businesses, building owners, residents and community, the Walking Plan 2014-17 outlines practical measures to improve the pedestrian network throughout the municipality.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said Melbourne was experiencing unprecedented growth and an advanced walking network was critical to cater for the expanding population.
“By 2030, it’s expected that the number of people in the city each day will grow from about 840,000 today to 1.2 million,” the Lord Mayor said.
“More than two thirds of all trips in the city are entirely on foot and in the Hoddle Grid and Docklands it’s just over 85 per cent of trips; we must think practically about how to cater for everyone, as well as maximise the economic benefits to our city.
“Our research indicates that if we increase walking connectivity in the city centre by just 10 per cent, the value of the economy would grow by $2.1 billion.”
To increase the connectivity of the walking network, the Walking Plan proposes detailed investigation of:
- New mid-block pedestrian crossings;
- More shared zones, similar to Hardware Lane;
- Widening and de-cluttering busy pedestrian crossings;
- Speed limit reductions to 40 km/h on some local streets; and
- Maintaining and expanding the laneway network.
Councillor Cathy Oke, Portfolio Chair for Transport, said the Walking Plan took into account feedback from businesses, and residents living, working or visiting the City of Melbourne.
“Walking trips are critical to our economy. More people on foot means not only more business for traders, but higher productivity for all businesses in the city,” Cr Oke said.
“Melbourne’s businesses, building owners and residents are at the very heart of this plan, and we’ve listened closely to their feedback to ensure the Walking Plan strengthens our existing pedestrian network to be better connected, safe and easy to access.
“We already improved our bike paths and public transport hubs; the Walking Plan will now set our direction.
Source: News Release, Urbanalyst, 25 November, 2014