Major plans for the Hoddle Grid have been laid out in a draft strategy for Melbourne City Council’s new 10-year transport plan seen by the Age.
The plans include closing Melbourne’s “Little” streets at certain times of the day, building at least 30 kilometres of new bike lanes (including new lanes on Bourke Street) and removing more on-street car parks to widen footpaths for pedestrians.
Plans being considered for Little Collins, Little Bourke, Little Lonsdale and Little La Trobe streets include giving pedestrians right of way over motorists, reducing speed limits and even closing sections of the streets at different times of the day. Presently, Little Collins Street is closed at lunchtime between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets, and an extension of that closure is being considered too.
Other big changes for motorists likely to be trialled include a congestion charge, and the 40-kilometre-per-hour speed limit zones could be reduced to 30.
Elsewhere in the draft strategy, a bridge between Collins Street and Fishermans Bend is under consideration. Fishermans Bend (Australia’s largest urban renewal area) is currently only accessible by car and bus – the bridge would create a direct link for trams, cyclists and pedestrians to the area.
More on-street car parks are likely to be removed and given to motorcycle parks to widen footpaths for increasing numbers of pedestrians. Motorcycle delivery drivers would also be banned from parking on footpaths, and business signs and utility boxes could be removed as well.
As reported by the Age, 90 per cent of all travel in the Hoddle Grid is done on foot and the number of people in the city each day is expected to increase in the next two decades from 911,000 to 1.4 million.