Melbourne takes inspiration from Barcelona as car-free zones proposed


Melbourne takes inspiration from Barcelona as car-free zones proposed

The 5th Estate

The City of Melbourne has suggested creating car-free CBD zones, reducing traffic speed to 30 kilometres an hour and increasing the time given to pedestrian movement, as part of an ambitious Transport Strategy refresh looking out to 2050.


The council on Thursday released two discussion papers on its new strategy, focused on walking and city space. The walking paper said that the city had growing issues to do with overcrowding, pedestrian delays, security and restricted mobility, which were an amenity issue and economic burden on the city. Increasing connectivity of the pedestrian network, the paper said, could result in an economic uplift to the tune of $2.1 billion. 


City of Melbourne transport portfolio chair Nicolas Frances Gilley said the strategy invited debate on how space was used and allocated. "Pedestrian crowd crush is a big issue in Melbourne and with the number of people in our city set to grow by 50 percent in the next 20 years, we need to think about how we address that", Mr. Frances Gilley said.


Superblocks mooted

Among the suggested actions to improve walking in the city is to create "new car-free spaces" by closing off vehicle access to some roads, much the same way as Bourke St Mall has been pedestrianized. 


A related background paper for the council prepared by MRCagney notes Barcelona's trial of "superblocks", where traffic is banned from the interior of a designated block and road space is repurposed for walking and to enhance the public realm.


Full article: The 5th Estate