Melbourne city streets could be reduced to a single lane and drivers could be blocked from using the CBD as a thoroughfare.
The proposals are contained in transport discussion papers released by the City of Melbourne on Thursday to tackle congestion and increase street efficiency as the population booms.
Council also proposed rolling out “dynamic” pricing for on-street parking based on how many spaces are available. The removal of parking will also be accelerated to make way for widened footpaths, green space and bicycle lanes.
Transport spokesperson Nicolas Frances Gilley said space needed to be optimised for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.
“That is how the majority of people move around and it’s the most efficient way to move large numbers of people as our population grows,” Cr Gilley said in a statement on Thursday.
“Make no mistake, with a few notable exceptions such as deliveries, disability and emergency services access, we are in the business of reclaiming space from cars for great shared living.”
On-street city parking will rise $1.50 an hour to $7 in the 2018-19 financial year.
“Our city should be a space for people. At the moment 57 per cent of our street space in the municipality is taken by roads and 4 per cent for on-street parking. That means over 60 per cent of the space is allocated to the 36 per cent of trips in and around the municipality made by private car.”
Converting road space to footpaths, green space or bicycle lanes would improve safety and increase retail sales, the papers said.
Do you think we need to reduce the number of cars in the city? Cars take up 19 times more space than people walking. We’ve been looking at ways to make the city more pedestrian friendly. We’d love your feedback. https://t.co/o423ppxV9Q pic.twitter.com/6ZePv5wJtb
— City of Melbourne (@cityofmelbourne) June 21, 2018
The municipality is currently stuffed with 460 hectares of parking, taking up space 225 times the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
There are 40 per cent more residential parking spaces than there are privately owned cars in the municipality, representing a surplus of about 13,000 spaces.
Council proposed a cap on parking supply, which could mean new apartment blocks near public transport could cut car storage space.
“People without cars could buy cheaper apartments because all car parks were sold separately,” the papers said.
Traffic lights could also be reconfigured to favour pedestrians rather than motorists, easing unsafe overcrowding on footpaths.
That would ease crowd crush fears on footpaths as the number of people in the municipality grows from 914,000 people a day to 1.4 million by 2036.
City of Melbourne is also considering lowering the speed limit in the CBD.
The proposals do not have state government support.
“The best way to get cars out of the city is to do exactly what we are doing, which is build the best public transport system in the world,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Thursday.
“Melbourne City Council are free to pursue these ideas, but they are not ideas that the government supports.”
A draft Transport Strategy will be released later this year.
City of Melbourne is accepting submissions on its Participate website.