Public backs bold plans for Melbourne transport future

Positive community reaction to big ideas to shake up the City of Melbourne’s transport vision shows a clear path for the council to press ahead with prioritising active and public transport in and around the CBD.

The City today published the results of community consultation on its next transport strategy.

See the research insights here.

The response will give the council confidence to proceed with key advances in provision for bikes, walking and public transport that might have once been considered too adventurous.

A draft of the strategy is expected in the first quarter of next year.

During the course of this year the city releases a series of discussion papers on transport and sought public feedback.

There was strong support for improvements to bike infrastructure. About 90% of respondents to the cycling discussion paper supported the suggestions in the paper.

"Respondents express desire for for cyclists to be separated from other transport modes," the report says. "The threat of having an accident is seen to be greatly reduced in areas where there are dedicated bike lines, separating cyclists from motorists. Over half of the responses gathered mention a greater desire for dedicated bike lanes."

There was a strong positive response to four key ideas:

  • Everyone who wanted to ride a bike felt safe to do so at any time of day and for any type of trip.
  • Protected bike lanes radiated out in each direction from the city, removing some traffic lanes to move more people.
  • Bike lanes continued to and through intersections.
  • Trial of fully separated bike lanes along Flinders Street linking the MCG to Docklands.

Seven in ten responses express a positive reaction to all four ideas. This is the strongest support for any of the eight discussion papers. Furthermore, a number of comments voice the desire for these proposals to be extended beyond the CBD and implemented in surrounding suburbs.

Feedback indicated that cycling in Melbourne is seen to be fraught with hazards and intimidating intimidating due to the perceived risks of collision or car dooring. Certain streets are mentioned by name as particularly unfriendly to cyclists and avoided, e.g. Collins Street.

Pedestrians and motorists were considered inattentive with absent-minded motorists undermining the safety of cyclists. Shared lanes and motorists merging without performing head-checks appears to be a significant pain point.

Street parking and car dooring seen to be inextricably linked with dooring perceived as a persistent threat. On-street parking is seen to increase the likelihood of car dooring and is viewed negatively by cyclists.

In other comments there was strong support for dedicated lanes for trams and buses as a way to improve public transport.

And almost 75 per cent of respondents support proposals for car-free zones and pedestrian priority.

See the full report here.

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