30 km/h superblocks are blocks of streets that are calmed to 30 km/h, usually within a perimeter of VicRoads arterials. Superblocks also include traffic filtering to block commuter through-traffic, as well as more trees and public open space. For most journeys, 30 km/h only applies to the first and last few hundred meters of travel and doesn’t appreciably add to travel times.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra, Google Maps

Benefits

30 km/h superblocks offer the following benefits:

  • reduces noise, and together with more trees, wider footpaths and seating, makes our residential blocks more beautiful, pleasant and enjoyable for walking and chatting with neighbours;
  • encouraging through-traffic to stay on the grid of arterials, thus reducing rat running through residential streets;
  • a safer environment for children to start or finish their journey, e.g. walking or cycling to school, sport or friends; and
  • a lower cost way to make cycling safe across the whole of Yarra, with costly protected bicycle lanes limited to a core network that links superblocks.

Opening roads to walking and cycling

Superblocks include modal filters to block motor-vehicle through-traffic, thus keeping it to the declared arterials on the perimeter of the superblocks. Instead of thinking of filters as ‘closing the road’, consider them as ‘opening the road’ to enable safe walking and cycling.

In Western Australia, residents who initially opposed road closures, changed to become supporters, because the quieter streets were much more family-friendly.

Image credit: WA DoT, Cycling Guidance for Local Traffic Management Schemes

Supporters – Love 30 Yarra

Love 30 Yarra is a grassroots campaign to support 30 km/h superblocks in the City of Yarra. Love 30 Yarra is part of a global Love 30 campaign (also called 20’s Plenty in countries that use miles per hour), with other groups located in the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA. Contact Love 30 Yarra via the Streets Alive Yarra contact form.

Support from the Metropolitan Transport Forum

The Metropolitan Transport Forum (MTF) is a local government interest group for transport in metropolitan Melbourne. It has been established for over 20 years.

Source: Metropolitan Transport Forum media release

30 km/h trial in Yarra

The City of Yarra has trialled a 30 km/h superblock in one area of Fitzroy and Collingwood, and is now awaiting approval from the State Government Department of Transport for the trial to become permanent. More information is available at thanksfor30.com.au/why-30kmh.

Image credit: City of Yarra

Support from Yarra’s walking strategy

Yarra’s Encouraging and Increasing Walking Strategy 2005 identified that traffic speeds and volumes need to be reduced:

Excerpt from Encouraging and Increasing Walking Strategy 2005

Superblocks in Barcelona

Another well known application of superblocks is in Barcelona. As described in The Guardian, Barcelona’s plan is to give streets back to residents.

Example from the Netherlands

This video describes how streets within a neighbourhood were modified and upgraded – the process can be replicated in Yarra:

30 km/h in other Councils

The City of Melbourne and the City of Moreland have announced that they are also planning trials. Councils in Western Australia (with the WA Department of Transport) are also testing 30 km/h streets, calling them ‘Safe Active Streets‘:

Video credit: WA Dept of Transport

Conclusion

30 km/h superblocks are a practical and low cost way to make Yarra a beautiful city to live in, pleasant to walk through, and safe for children to move around in.

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