How can we give our children the best opportunities in life?

Yarra’s streets can be better for children if they can safely walk or cycle to school, sport, the library or their friends houses. All it takes is some street space:

Image credit: Troy Parsons

Many parents don’t let their children walk or cycle alone

Many parents don’t think our streets are safe enough for children to walk or ride to school alone.

Image credit: Sydney Morning Herald 11th October 2019
Image credit: The Age 11th November 2015

Stop killing our children

A successful city for children is one where our kids don’t get killed just for walking or cycling to school by themselves:

Children deserve freedom of mobility

Children and youth deserve the ability to move safely, conveniently and enjoyably around Yarra. Being able to get around enables children to maintain independence and agency, supporting health, happiness and mental development.

There are dozens of reasons why walking is good for children. Walking keeps them fit and active, helps them learn about road safety and prepares them for independence. It shows them that the world is an interesting place, and gives them the chance to watch their own neighbourhoods change with the seasons. It keeps them connected with other people who live nearby – older people and other children.

Victoria Walks – Walking with Children

New research reports children who have freedom to move from A to B by themselves – rather than depending on adults to take them places – experience improved wellbeing.

Dr Lisa Gibbs, University of Melbourne

Research from Dr Lisa Gibbs is available at:


The solution is to deliver integrated networks of safe travel infrastructure throughout Yarra, enabling children to walk, cycle or use public transport between home, school, sport and friends. Key elements include:

Yarra’s 0-25 Years Plan

Yarra has an 0-25 Years Plan with a Strategic Priority for child and family friendly environments for walking and cycling:

Image credit: City of Yarra
Source: Yarra 0-25 Years Plan.

However, the Plan 2018-2022 and Action Plan 2018-2019 only aim to ‘promote’, ‘advocate’, ‘encourage’ or ‘seek’ infrastructure improvements, instead actually building them. This isn’t good enough.

Source: Yarra 0-25 Years Action Plan 2018-2019.
Source: Yarra 0-25 Years Plan 2018-2022.
Source: Yarra 0-25 Years Plan 2018-2022.

Design guides

Learn more from this collection of design guides, including the ARUP guide to child-friendly cities:

Image credit: ARUP