The population of Melbourne will surely be breathing a sigh of relief with the announcement today by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle that Swanston Street will become a car-free zone by 2012. Doyle, who has part of his mayoral campaign for election was pushing for bringing cars back to Swanston Street, has obviously bowed to the pressure of his fellow councillors on his remarkable about face even being a spokesperson for the latest proposal. Cr Doyle said the council did not want people driving into the city.
‘‘We would rather see people take public transport into the city, if they can to walk into the city and lots more people are cycling – we have seen huge increases in people cycling into the city in recent years, so no city in the world wants to bring more and more cars into its heart – that is exactly the opposite of what great streets do.’’
The $25.6m proposal includes four new “city square” type developments at tram superstops on Swanston Street and improved cycling access. It is certainly a pleasing outcome for all and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks.