3. Walking city
The Municipality of Melbourne will be one of the world's great walking cities where residents, workers and tourists have easy access to the many activities available within the municipality. Walking will be easy and attractive and a primary way for anyone and everyone to get around their local area. As well as being a very effective form of mobility, walking will also provide personal and public health, environmental and cultural benefits. A connected city gives top priority to walking, providing a comprehensive, fine grained and good quality pedestrian network.
"Walking is highly efficient in its use of urban space and energy, it rarely causes injury and it gives streets vitality and personal security. Many car trips are quite short, less than 2km, indicating that walking could be a feasible alternative and contribute to reducing the pollution from a cold-start vehicle travelling only a short distance."
Mason,C. Transport and health: en route to a healthier Australia? Medical Journal of Australia 2000; 172:230-232
Within the Municipality of Melbourne, residential, visitor and worker numbers are growing. An increasing proportion of people are choosing to walk, enjoying the many benefits it brings including being easy, efficient, healthy and enjoyable. Walking to work was the fastest growing commuter transport between 2001 and 2006, increasing to five per cent of all trips (from two per cent in 2001). The future development of the city will need to serve this growing demand by extending the network of high quality walking paths.
Reclaiming the streets for walking
The municipality's streets should be places of pedestrian comfort and social interaction. However, many have become dangerous car-dominated thoroughfares, and Melbourne has grown into a "car city"
. The municipality's focus on cars has driven walking off the streets and has destroyed the charm and aesthetic value of our municipality's streetscape. More recently, Melbourne's inner city streets have been progressively reclaimed for walking and the numbers of pedestrians
has grown. Road space is being reallocated from cars to pedestrians, creating high quality, generous footpaths. In the future, the City of Melbourne will boast a complete and comprehensive, high quality pedestrian network.
Walking must be safe
The biggest threat to walkers and walking in our municipality is fast/unpredictable motor vehicle traffic.
Each year in Melbourne, about 230 pedestrians are hit, six are killed and 85 are seriously injured. The threat motor vehicles pose to pedestrians must be significantly reduced, with the ultimate goal of zero deaths or serious injuries. Essential to achieving this goal is a reduction in vehicle speeds.1
Research shows that in any streets with pedestrians, the maximum vehicle speed must be 30km per hour
A place where children can walk
Whether or not children are safe to walk is a real test of a walking city. For children and younger adolescents walking is their main form of autonomous mobility. A child-friendly city enables children to walk to meet their own needs, including going to and from school and visiting friends, rather than being driven by adults.
Walking must be comfortable
A good standard of physical comfort encourages more walking. Walking cities should offer: easy access to paths; natural light; protection from the wind, rain and sun; built infrastructure such as street furniture, water fountains and public toilets; and safe places where children can play. Infrastructure for good walking must also suit people of all abilities
. Walkers also need places to stop and rest. Parks, plazas and malls should be included in a walking city, connected to walking paths throughout the municipality.
Walking must be easy
Walkers are sensitive to effort. They naturally seek the shortest and easiest routes. A walking city provides a well connected network of paths, and removes obstacles and disincentives to walking (such as excessive waiting time at road crossings and lack of good pedestrian signage). Good walking conditions must extend throughout the municipality to encourage walking to work, shopping, recreation, schools and services. Good walking should be possible at all times of day and in all seasons.
Walking is healthy
and a city that encourages and supports walking will also become a healthier city
A comprehensive, fine grained walking network
Good quality on and off street walking path network throughout the municipality. In the central city, locations with a high concentration of pedestrians, paths must be of very high quality.
The proportion of people walking to all traffic in the municipality.
Target: 2020 To be developed.
Current: Indicator to be developed
(5% walk to work (2006) 3
Walking is the main way most people get around. From business executives going to and from meetings to young children walking to school unchaperoned and the elderly, all are very well represented and walking is a key to their healthy longevity. The main CBD lanes have been converted into permanent shared zones and are hives of activity. Mid-block, signalised pedestrian crossings are available on main streets.
Zero pedestrian deaths/ serious injuries
There are no pedestrian deaths or serious injuries in the muncipality.
Pedestrians killed or seriously injured in the municipality per year. 4
Target: 2020 - 0 fatal, 0 serious injury
Current 2006 - 2 fatal, 78 serious injuries.
| The municipality's streets are significantly less threatening and many more people, particularly young children and the elderly can use the streets freely, without fear of being hit. They no longer need parental or carer chauffeurs.
Connected network of pedestrian places.
Plazas, malls, parks, pedestrian only and shared zones are linked up throughout the municipality.
Proportion of paved public space allocated for pedestrian only and shared zones.5
Current: Indicator to be developed ( area72,200m2 - 2004)
A network of pedestrian streets and lanes, parks, plazas and shared zones throughout the city provide a generous, connected and safe pedestrian realm and play spaces for children.
Build to universal access standards
Improve pedestrian infrastructure to universal access standards throughout the municipality with particular attention to the residential neighbourhoods.
Resident perception of pedestrian amenity and infrastructure in municipal neighbourhoods. 6
Target: Indicator to be developed
Current: Indicator to be developed
Infrastructure, such as, trip hazard removal, ramps and automatic 'green man' activation are at universal access standards. This has meant many more people decide to walk to and from their home for trips that in the past would have been car based.
: Archer,J. Fotheringham,N. Symmons, M. & Corben, B. (2008) The impact of lowered speed limits in urban and metropolitan areas
Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #276 2008
: Tingvall, C. and Haworth, N. (1999) Vision Zero - An ethical approach to safety and mobility
Monash University Accident Research Centre. Paper presented to the 6th ITE International Conference Road Safety & Traffic Enforcement: Beyond 2000, Melbourne, 6-7 September
: ABS (2006) Journey to Work
: VicRoads (2008) CrashStats
: City of Melbourne: Places for People
: City of Melbourne: Residents survey