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Car parks will make way for footpaths and 12 kilometres of pop-up cycling lanes will be built to allow people to socially distance in Melbourne's city centre as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease.
The move by Melbourne City Council follows the lead of cities such as Berlin and Milan, which are redrawing road markings to create more room for cyclists and pedestrians during the coronavirus pandemic.
Melbourne lord mayor Sally Capp yesterday next to a sign urging social distancing.CREDIT:JASON SOUTH
Lord mayor Sally Capp said car parks would be removed at busy pedestrian areas to enable the extension of footpaths, while 12 kilometres of new temporary bike lanes will be created, with a plan to make the upgrades permanent if they turn out to be successful.
“Given it will take time for a vaccine to come into play, we have a responsibility to provide more space for pedestrians," she said. "Increasing pavements around the city will involve our need to take back some of our on-street parking to accommodate wider footpaths and bike lanes.”
The changes are part of a push to fast-track projects funded under the council’s draft budget to be released next week, including transport initiatives flagged in the council's 2030 Transport Strategy.
With cycling numbers reaching record levels during lockdown as road traffic fell by 88 per cent, it is hoped the new moves will encourage people to permanently switch their mode of transport.
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