Moreland Council is trialling a shared zone in Albert Street and Victoria Street, Brunswick East alongside Fleming Park, striding towards making walking and cycling safer in the covid-environment.
During the Victorian Covid-19 pandemic, an increase in people using local walking tracks and cycling paths, alongside reduced public transport capacity, prompted the Council to invest an additional $1.68 million in transport improvements in the 20/21 budget.
The shared zone seeks to encourage walking along Victoria Street and Albert Street, improve access to Fleming Park and reduce traffic on residential streets, making the area safer to move through but still allowing vehicle access. A shared zone is an area that all road users can use, but where vehicles and cyclists must give way to pedestrians.
A Council survey conducted in September 2020 during COVID-19 restrictions showed 45% of respondents agreed their use of Council walking tracks and cycling paths would likely increase when restrictions eased.
Moreland Mayor, Cr Annalivia Carli Hannan is encouraging the community to provide feedback on the shared zone trial, which was installed in March.
“Creating walkable and bikeable neighbourhoods encourages healthy and active lifestyles, builds community connections, promotes overall health and wellbeing in our community and supports local businesses through improved access to local amenities. It’s also great for the environment and can significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” said Cr Carli Hannan.
“We’re getting really constructive feedback from the community on this new shared zone, and where people have concerns with the design, we are taking that on board during the trial, so we can make adjustments or improvements before any permanent decisions are made.”
The project is being delivered as a trial and using materials that can be modified or removed depending on the outcomes of the trial, which is expected to run up to two years until March 2023.
The shared zone’s eye-catching design is by local artist Carla Gottgens, inspired by various sports played throughout the history of Fleming Park.
The area has new speed humps to slow down traffic and pavement markings to distinguish them from the regular road. Entry signs are provided on both sides of the road and include the regulatory 20km/h speed limit. The shared zone also has new tree planters, bench seating and tables made from recycled wood.
A larger suite of pedestrian and cycling improvements being pursued around Moreland includes new zebra crossings, pedestrian thresholds, separated bicycle lanes and cycling improvements, reduced speeds on residential streets, and turn bans at key intersections on tram corridors.