Moreland City has backed supporting major changes to struggling Sydney Road following a report to the council recommending a trial of separated bike lanes along the route.
At its meeting last night councillors voted to ask the Department of Transport for six-month trial of a proposal that would remove car parking, increase pedestrian space, install separated bike lanes and upgrade the trams stops.
VicRoads has previously proposed a number of options for the street following a long review of the factors that had led to an unsafe bike riding environment, a slow tram service, poor pedestrian amenity and sluggish commercial performance.
Option 3, the recommended choice in the council report—also supported by Bicycle Network—requires on-street car parking to be moved.
The decision was narrowly passed with the casting vote of the mayor, Natalie Abboud.
Traders have a long history of opposition to change in Sydney Road, and they fiercely resisted this latest proposal.
They have written the script for their own extinction and they are sticking king to it.
They agree that merchants in the street are struggling, and their solution is to insist that nobody changes anything.
A series of investigations of Sydney Road have found that traders have greatly overestimated the value of business they get from shoppers who arrive by car.
And in any case, there is plenty of parking within close walking distance for those who must use a car.
The council decision is to support a trial of the concept before any permanent decisions are made. Yet the traders don’t even want to find out if the changes would work, or not work.
The recommended location for a trial is between Brunswick Road and Glenlyon Road, Brunswick, and would reduce parking by about 100 spaces during the trial period.
The report says that if a trial was supported and implemented by the Department of Transport, Moreland would support local businesses through:
- relocation of loading and passenger drop-off zones
- increasing nearby disabled parking
- opportunities for footpath dining and trading
- placemaking elements to improve the place quality of the street
- promotional campaigns to encourage people to visit and shop in the area
The Sydney Road precinct is expected to grow significantly over the next decade or two, becoming more dense with a new generation of families and workers who want to be close to the CBD, the universities and the Parkville biomedical research cluster.
However car-based transport can’t be expanded any further to meet these demands. The only new mobility capacity can come from bikes, walking and public transport. Car-parking, therefore, must yield if Brunswick and Coburg are to prosper.
The council paper says that the proposed changes to the street are in alignment with various council and state government policies.