Thursday, 10 May 2012
The City of Melbourne has unveiled plans in its draft 2012-13 budget to better connect the city’s people and places.
Central to the plan is a $5.6 million project to create an integrated, safe and accessible bike network, extending the city’s bicycle lanes and paths by 15 kilometres over the next year. New bike lanes will be created on some of Melbourne’s arterial roads including La Trobe Street, Exhibition Street, Elizabeth Street and Princes Bridge.
In addition to the bike plan, more than $500,000 will be spent making Melbourne more inclusive for homeless people and $630,000 on improving safety in the city, including the permanent installation of a mega taxi rank in Queen Street.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the draft budget was about ensuring the city was well connected.
“A city needs to be connected in many ways in order to function well. It’s about helping people get where they need to go easily and safely and making sure they feel part of the city when they get there,” the Lord Mayor said.
“In this draft budget we have looked closely at the needs of a wide range of city users to provide access to services, places and people whether it be through improved transport options or community services.”
Councillor Cathy Oke, responsible for the Eco-City portfolio, said the proposed bike lanes would fill the gaps in Melbourne’s bike network and create a seamless travel experience for cyclists across the city.
“This $5.6 million will help us establish a superior, connected cycling network for Melbourne that will enable cyclists to travel from one end of the city to the other and beyond on clear, delineated bike paths,” Cr Oke said.
Cr Kevin Louey, responsible for the Connected City portfolio said more than 11 per cent of all vehicles travelling into the central city every morning are bikes.
“We currently have 120km of bike lanes and paths to accommodate cyclists. This project will revolutionise the way they move around the city, improving safety and access,” Cr Louey said.
Councillor Jennifer Kanis, who covers the People and Creative City portfolio, said the city would also become safer for people out in the city at night and those who were experiencing homelessness.
“We know that Queen Street is one of the city’s biggest nightclub precincts and we want to ensure it’s safe for revellers. The Queen Street Mega Taxi Rank was a hugely successful pilot so we are now committing $350,000 towards making it permanent,” Councillor Kanis said.
“This is in addition to the CCTV cameras, traffic marshals and security officers used on Queen Street to keep the area safe.”
Councillor Kanis added that Council was also keen to assist women and children experiencing homelessness to feel better linked in and safer in the city.
“Homeless women and children are among our city’s most vulnerable, and the City of Melbourne is committed to helping them find a way out of homelessness. We will spend $60,000 to develop a community service program for this group and also commit $40,000 to developing a strategy that prevents violence against women,” Councillor Kanis said.
“We will also fund a range of initiatives through the Central City Community Health Centre at the Drill Hall to link people experiencing homelessness with important health and community services. This includes $150,000 towards a recreation program for older homeless people and $50,000 to provide food services at the centre.”
The draft budget will be considered at a special meeting of Future Melbourne Committee and Council Meeting at 4pm today and is open for public consultation from Friday 11 May until 5pm Friday 8 June 2012. A final version will be considered by Council on Tuesday 28 June 2012.