We must address our climate emergency
Yarra’s streets can be better for our climate if we encourage low emission transport such as walking, cycling and public transport.
Yarra declares a climate emergency
On 18th December 2018 the City of Yarra declared a climate emergency and committed to urgent action.
All nine Councillors supported the declaration:
Yarra adopts a Climate Emergency Plan
On 2nd June 2020 the City of Yarra adopted a Climate Emergency Plan, with a strategic priority of transitioning to zero emission transport, and commitments to develop and implement an Integrated Transport Plan and associated Parking Management Plan.
Transport is our second largest source of emissions
As a Local Government Council, the City of Yarra has significant control over transport emissions, Australia’s second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution. Council can help residents to decrease their transport emissions by encouraging people to use clean modes of transport, and by discouraging polluting modes of transport.
Encouraging clean transport
Council can encourage clean transport; such as walking, cycling, public transport and occasional car sharing; by increasing the safety, convenience and enjoyability of these modes. Specific actions include:
- Building 30 km/h superblocks that are safer and more enjoyable for people walking and cycling.
- Working with VicRoads and Yarra Trams to build protected bicycle lanes and level access tram stops on a grid of shopping streets, to provide through routes for cycling and improve access to trams.
- Relocating shopper parking to the first 5-10 bays on each side street, with drivers guided to vacant bays using sensors, thus freeing up space on the shopping street for protected bicycle lanes and level access tram stops.
- Building footpaths on shopping streets and access streets that continue at grade when crossing minor side streets.
- Removing the cap on the number of car sharing vehicles (such as GoGet and Flexicar), and allowing car sharing vehicles to be located on residential streets, close to users.
Discouraging polluting transport
Council can discourage polluting transport, such as single occupancy motor vehicles used for commuting, by:
- Extending resident permit parking to both sides of each residential street, thereby discouraging commuters from parking.
- Use demand responsive pricing for metered parking bays, to encourage short term use by shoppers at the expense of all-day commuters.
- Increasing the price of residential parking permits, to decrease demand and free up space for 5-10 bays near shopping streets to be converted to metered bays for shoppers.
- In the planning scheme, converting parking minimums to parking maximums.
Funding to revitalise our streets in a climate friendly manner is readily available from our streets – by reforming how we price on-street parking. Learn more on our expenditure, revenue and budget pages.
Guidance from the Climate Council
The Climate Council makes it clear that a key solution to transport emissions is better infrastructure for safe & active transport. In their Cities Power Partnership, they point out multiple actions that Councils can implement:
Guidance from Transport for under 2 degrees
The Transport for under 2 degrees report makes it clear that transport needs to be quickly decarbonised:
– A full decarbonisation of the transport sector requires higher ambition
– Public transport, active modes of transport, shared mobility services as well as sustainable urban planning will be the backbone of climate- friendly urban transport
– The political task of promoting the successful structural change in the automotive and fossil fuel industry will require more efforts by policy makers
– Decision-makers have to prioritise regulatory action over incentivisationTransport for under 2 degrees
Guidance from the LGCET
The Local Government Climate Emergency Toolkit recommends that council’s commit 5% of their budget to infrastructure for cycling and walking. For Yarra, with a budget of approximately $200 million per year, this translates to $10 million per year for active transport, matching the ask from Streets Alive Yarra.
Responding to our climate emergency has many upsides and few, if any, downsides: