A footpath network is an integrated, cohesive set of protected footpaths, suitable for all ages and abilities, enabling people to walk to any destination in Yarra.

Benefits

A footpath network would deliver the following benefits:

  • Enable local residents to easily access local traders, making Yarra better for business,
  • Enable those who wish to walk (or roll on electric wheelchairs) to be able to do, thus reducing congestion and making Yarra better for drivers,
  • Comply with federal, state and local government policies on road safety, and
  • Help people in the City of Yarra respond to our climate emergency.

Yarra Principal Footpath Network

A footpath network in Yarra, called the ‘Yarra Principal Footpath Network’, should consist of good footpaths in 30 km/h superblocks that lead to much wider footpaths on access streets and shopping streets. 

Minimum 1.5 m wide for access streets

The footpaths on many access streets are too narrow, and should be widened to at least 1500 mm (unobstructed by poles), as recommended by Australian Standard AS 1428, or 1800-2400 mm, as recommended by the Global Street Design Guide.

Image credit: VicRoads Traffic Engineering Manual Volume 3 – Additional Network Standards and Guidelines Accessibility (DDA) Guidelines Edition 1, March 2017

Minimum 3 m wide for shopping streets

Similarly, the footpaths on shopping streets should be widened to 2400-4500 mm, as recommended by the Global Street Design Guide.

Image credit: Global Street Design Guide

Continuous footpaths

The Yarra Principal Footpath Network should include continuous footpaths (also called continuous footways or raised threshold treatments) on shopping streets and access streets, when they cross minor side streets.

Image credit: Robert Weetman

Quality paving

Yarra’s population is now high enough to justify using quality paving on all footpaths. Quality paving (not asphalt) shows respect to walking as a mode of transport, and resists moving or cracking (from reactive soils or tree roots). We already use high quality paving around some public transport stops – this should be extended to all footpaths.

Quality paving at bus stop at Punt/Swan. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

The right to walk

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and Streetfilms argue that people have the right to walk, and that cities should invest in a footpath network to support walking:

Supporters

Supporters of safer pedestrian infrastructure, including wider, clearer protected footpaths, include Victoria Walks and Strong Towns.

Image credit: Victoria Walks

Next → our proposal for a Yarra Principal Bicycle Network