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Calls to close off ‘little streets’ in Melbourne to cars by 2025

An optimistic Melbourne city planner called for turning the city’s ‘little roads’ into green spaces for pedestrians to ‘bring life back to the city’.

Thami Croeser of the Center for Urban Research wrote in: The age that cars should be removed from busy, narrow roads in Melbourne’s CBD to make more room for pedestrians.

“We could change the city within a year and have major, permanent improvements by the end of 2025,” Croeser wrote.

Thami Croeser of the Center for Urban Research said the small streets of Melbourne CBD should become green and pedestrian-only, such as Guildford Lane (above)

Thami Croeser of the Center for Urban Research said the small streets of Melbourne CBD should become green and pedestrian-only, such as Guildford Lane (above)

Croeser said 'uncomfortably busy' streets near Chinatown (above) make the city 'unappealing' to pedestrians

Croeser said ‘uncomfortably busy’ streets near Chinatown (above) make the city ‘unappealing’ to pedestrians

‘The crucial first step is to get the traffic out of the small streets of the city. It’s time for these to become car-free, at least for most of the day, and into the evening.’

He said footpaths on streets like Little Bourke are “uncomfortably crowded” and make the city “unappealing.”

“Every street could have a double row of trees, and with a little clever design, the trees could be planted to collect rainwater,” says Croeser.

He suggested that narrow paved lanes be constructed to allow access for emergency services and that well-planned street restaurants be used to generate more jobs.

Mr Croeser said green pedestrian streets such as Guildford Lane (above) are changing the CBD from 'sandy' to 'lush'

Mr Croeser said green pedestrian streets such as Guildford Lane (above) are changing the CBD from ‘sandy’ to ‘lush’

Mr Croeser said he was part of a successful green plan in Meyers Place and Guildford Lane that will help transform the CBD from ‘sandy’ to ‘lush’.

‘It takes a bit of trust, but you can also add a lot of greenery to a street by letting traders and residents keep potted plants on the footpath,’ he says.

Guildford Lane is now home to over 50 resident potted plants and has been turned into a ‘space bustling with visitors’.

He said it is a quick and cost-effective way to improve the neighborhood in a way that locals enjoy, letting pedestrians and merchants to green streets.

Mr Croeser said pedestrian-friendly streets with a focus on greenery attract more visitors than 'unappealing' streets

Mr Croeser said pedestrian-friendly streets with a focus on greenery attract more visitors than ‘unappealing’ streets

“I encourage you to visit these alley-sized success stories and imagine what they could mean for our city when scaled up,” he said.

Meanwhile, the opposite argument has broken out in Sydney, where residents have highlighted how the nanny state’s road and business laws are destroying the city’s business and nightlife.

Business owners, motorists, workers and even backpackers have complained to Daily Mail Australia that restrictive designs in the city are making more people unwilling to make the arduous journey to the ‘boring and expensive’ CBD.

State opposition leader Chris Minns claims there is a deliberate plan by the state and local governments to make it more difficult for vehicles entering the city.

Coromandel Place (above) started its greening project last year and already has a wide variety of plants

Coromandel Place (above) started its greening project last year and already has a wide variety of plants

“People who want the CBD to die will be pleased that the government is now considering cutting traffic speeds even further to 30 km/h,” Mr Minns told the Daily Mail Australia.

“These people are just really not aware of how Sydney works and how much families pay to travel around the city already. There is a huge gap between what happens in the real world and what policies the government is pursuing.’

However, a temporary extension of trading hours during Vivid from 10pm to midnight on Sundays and weekdays caused more people to flock to the CBD.

Proponents of the expansion said it was an example of what the city could be if strict restrictions were relaxed and Sydney’s famous nightlife returned.

Sydney residents and business owners have called for the city's roads to be made more car-friendly as more people flee the CBD

Sydney residents and business owners have called for the city’s roads to be made more car-friendly as more people flee the CBD

However, Mr Minns said a lively nightlife is pointless without creating easy roads and parking spaces for commuters.

‘Turning Broadway into a one way street goes hand in hand with the plan to get rid of cars going into Moore Park to watch cricket and football and in many ways it’s just a real hit for families in the west of Sydney as it’s meant to be to be the capital for anyone living in NSW,” said Mr Minns.

“The idea that you can wrap the inner city in a bubble and everyone can jump is not fair.”

Gideon Rozner, an outspoken advocate for personal and economic freedoms at the Institute of Public Affairs, said the best thing the government can do is just “get out of the way.”

Business owners, motorists, workers and even backpackers have complained that the city's restrictive road infrastructure means fewer people want to visit the CBD

Business owners, motorists, workers and even backpackers have complained that the city’s restrictive road infrastructure means fewer people want to visit the CBD

“Government and local governments need to reduce bureaucracy and all these idiotic imposing rules,” he said.

“For example, make it easier to get a liquor license, make it easier to stay open longer, make it easier to hire staff and encourage people to visit the city.”

He said “silly policy ideas” to force people to use public transportation were conceived by a tiny fraction of the “car-hate” political elites.

“It’s one thing if you live in Surry Hills and can cycle to work or if you live further away and are lucky enough to be on a railroad, but for everyone else if you can’t drive you’ll be locked out,” he said.

‘A family in the west who wants to get into the CBD shouldn’t be allowed to enter, isn’t the CBD supposed to be for everyone?’

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