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Active transport to get priority at Preston Market
Active transport to get priority at Preston Market

New plans to guide the redevelopment of the Preston Market precinct indicate that bikes and pedestrians will get priority over motor traffic.

The government is proposing a new structure plan and planning scheme amendments for the 5.1 hectare, privately owned site that sits adjacent to one of Melbourne’s key bike routes—the St Georges Road Trail.

The population of Preston is forecast to double in size to 68,000 people by 2041, and the local road networks are already at capacity.

The only options for improving transport and access in the area is public transport and active transport.

The new plans are on exhibition here and make sound arguments regarding the importance of reducing the car dependency that currently suppresses the potential for redevelopment of the site.

"Redevelopment of the precinct and the provision of clear connections to and through the area will encourage the use of public transport, walking and cycling as viable alternatives to private vehicle use,” the draft structure plan says.

"In particular, improved walking and cycling links will be provided between the train station and High Street shops, and between Cramer Street and Murray Road.

"The precinct will also have improved parking for vehicles and bicycles, as well as loading arrangements that minimise conflict points between pedestrians and vehicles.”

The draft notes that the precinct is also well located within the metropolitan cycling network, including the north-south St Georges Road shared path, and Cramer Street to provide east-west connectivity.

The City of Darebin intends for Cramer Street to become a ‘Street for People’, with separated bicycle lanes and a more inviting pedestrian environment.

The draft also says the plan will encourage a modal shift to public and active transport, prioritising walking, cycling and public transport – in that order – and encourage loading, servicing and car parking areas to be located away from ground level, prominent pedestrian areas or areas that are visible from the public realm.

Although the new market will initially contain around 1000 car spaces, the multi-deck car parks will have floor-to-ceiling heights of 3.1 metres that allow for adaptive reuse in the future.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.