Cheering could be seen and heard all across social media this morning as Melbourne was crowned the world’s most liveable city for the seventh year in a row.
While The Economist’s latest liveability index ratings gave Melburnians extra mud to sling at Sydneysiders (whose city was ranked 11th), there is still a lot to do to make Melbourne a city for the future.
As pointed out in The Age, Melbourne might have scored 97.5 out of 100 for liveability, but it is still being crippled by congestion.
For Melbourne to keep improving we need to bust congestion and make it easier for people to keep out of their cars and get onto bikes.
Since last year’s liveability rankings, or even 2015’s, what has been done to make it easier for people to ride bikes?
We are still waiting for St Kilda Road to be fixed – it is one of Melbourne’s busiest bike routes but is also its most dangerous bike route, with more doorings happening than anywhere else in Victoria. Is this something you would expect from the world’s most liveable city?
Embarrassingly, the National Cycling Participation survey results published in June this year indicated that there has been no increase in bike riding in Melbourne for more than five years.
Vancouver in Canada is nipping at Melbourne’s heels and was ranked third with a score of 97.3. Cycling is the fastest growing mode of transport in Vancouver, which unsurprisingly has followed investment in bike infrastructure and the development of protected bike lanes.
Transport expert and former Chief Planner for Vancouver Brent Toderian (who thinks Vancouver still has work to do), was quick to say that Melbourne certainly isn't the world's most liveable city and needs to fix its approach to transport.
The reason I know #Melbourne is not the most livable city in the world, is that except for an excellent downtown, it's mostly car-dependant.
— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) August 16, 2017
For Melbourne and other Australian cities to continue to be among the world’s most liveable we must see more investment in bike infrastructure and strategies to get people riding.
Will we see action in the next 12 months to keep Melbourne and Australia atop the liveability tree? Let’s hope so.