The City of Moreland is searching for the answers to a hard question: how does a rapidly densifying cluster of easily CBD-accessible suburbs move around all those locals and visitors each day using a 100 year-old transport network and 50 year-old thinking.
Hint. You can’t.
The private motor car is on a steady course to extinction in zones within 15 km of central Melbourne.
Soon there will be so many pedestrians, trams, buses, bikes, freight deliveries, place making, park creation, road closure festivals—all the things you find in the highest ranking, thriving world cities—that opportunities for something as lazy and unproductive as driving for the sake of driving will be impossible.
Although Melbourne will soon be five million people, many of our transport habits are the same as they were when we were at one million.
Everyone charged with the responsibility of keeping Melbourne prosperous and internationally competitive into the future knows that five into one doesn’t go. Without some significant negatives, at the least.
Yet getting people going, moving around and participating in the economy is what we have to do.
Moreland City has launched a public consultation that it hopes will get the conversation going and help it find a way to build a community for double its current population when there is no more space for motor traffic.
Moreland clearly understands that bikes are inevitably going play a major role in the solution.
In a background paper it says that encouraging sustainable transport will help enhance liveability and quality of life in Moreland as population growth continues to impact traffic and congestion.
"Creating walkable and bikeable neighbourhoods encourages healthy and active lifestyles, builds community connections, promotes overall community health and wellbeing and supports local businesses through improved access to local amenities.”
Among the opportunities it identifies:
- Capitalise on post-Covid-19 shifts in the way people move around Moreland to encourage continued travel to local destinations (including supporting local businesses) and increased walking and cycling as a practical way to meet daily needs (not only for exercise or recreation)
- Encourage research and investment into projects that prioritise walking and cycling, including new pedestrian crossings, separated bicycle lanes and shared zones (low vehicle-speed areas with priority for pedestrians).
Increase efforts into community education, engagement and behaviour change will complement these opportunities
- Reallocate Space for Movement - removing parking where it provides an overall benefit to the sustainable movement of people through
Removing car parking—more correctly identified as storage on public land for private vehicles—will surely be argued about.
But there are many parts of the world, even including parts of Sydney, where it just doesn’t exist. They cope just fine.
Actually parking per se is not necessarily the problem. Once you have allocated road space to each of the higher priorities — pedestrians, public transport, bike infrastructure and freight/logistics, there may be opportunities for private parking available.
But only then.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.