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Melbourne shuns cars, considers pedestrian 'superblocks'by Justin King
\"Allocating the majority of space to cars when most people walk or take public transport is not sustainable,\" says councilmember Nicolas Frances Gilley. \"We are a walking city.\"
Melbourne is the latest city to consider new regulations that would ban cars from large sections of the city center.
The city council has released several discussion papers outlining car-free zones, arguing that Melbourne's population growth will eventually cause "dangerous pedestrian overcrowding, congestion choked roads and crippled public transport system" to become a reality.
"Every hour during the morning peak, 15,000 pedestrians cross the Spencer and Collins Street intersection outside Southern Cross Station which is five times the number of people in cars, yet cars are given twice the amount of time as pedestrians to pass through," says councilmember Nicolas Frances Gilley. "Allocating the majority of space to cars when most people walk or take public transport is not sustainable."
Aside from car-free zones in the city center, the council also argues that vehicle speeds should be limited to 30 kmh (19 mph) across the municipality and traffic lights should be reprogrammed to prioritize pedestrian traffic over vehicles.
The council's fearful vision apparently does not reflect the current situation on the streets of Melbourne, though Frances Gilley cites one pedestrian death in five years on busy Spencer St as evidence that crosswalks and footpaths are already overcrowded.
The city will release six more papers in the next two months, further outlining its proposal for a future city immune to the horrors of vehicular traffic.