Yarra City Council is pushing ahead with a plan to close off Station Street at Princes Street in North Carlton, which could divert motor traffic into the nearby bike-friendly Canning Street.
At a council meeting on 3 October it was decided a consultation process for a trial road closure would proceed, but that a further report including assessment of submissions would also be considered.
It is said that the closure has been proposed so that a public space can be developed, however it is also known that a key purpose is to divert traffic from Station Street. However, the closure would impact a street that goes a long way to minimising motor traffic in the area, Canning Street.
Canning Street is one of the most popular bike routes in the inner-north. It is officially part of the Strategic Cycling Corridors, has well developed bike lanes and has had traffic calming treatments made to discourage cars and make it supremely bike friendly.
And it is having a great effect – Bicycle Network's Super Tuesday bike count counted more than 1,300 bike riders at the Canning and Princes Street intersection between 7:00am and 9:00am in March this year.
This is an increase of 8% from 2016, and a whopping increase of 45% when compared with 2010. The count also observed that 39% of bike riders at the intersection were women, well above the state and council averages. It shows just how beneficial good bike infrastructure and planning can be.
Yarra City Council appears to want to undo this good work however, by closing Station Street and inadvertently driving almost 500 extra cars through the nearby Canning, Lee and Davis streets every day.
An independent traffic assessment has also found that the change would achieve no major benefits, and clog up the nearby streets.
The plan has drawn opposition from local residents, who not only want to see Canning Street preserved for bikes, but also have concerns for pedestrians and school children who walk to Carlton North Primary School on the corner of Canning and Lee streets.
Notes from the council meeting earlier this month show that VicRoads do not object to the proposal – on the proviso that the community are supportive.
A petition on change.org was set up earlier this year and signed by 263 people, however the council would not accept it.
Whether or not the online petition is permissible, the council has been made aware that there is strong opposition to the proposal which should nullify VicRoads support. A new, hard copy petition is currently being organised.
Residents, and anyone who uses Canning Street, should call and make an online submission to Yarra City Council voicing their opposition to the proposed closure of Station St.
Phone: 03 9205 5555