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.
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 people with disabilities and 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 Footpath Network
Yarra’s footpath network should consist of good footpaths in 30 km/h superblocks that lead to much wider footpaths on access streets and shopping streets.
Footpaths on many streets in Yarra are too narrow or too sloping, and should be re-paved and widened. Best practice footpaths provide sufficient width so people can walk side by side, or pass others. The required width increases as a function of traffic. The Walking Space Guide from Transport for NSW offers guidelines for five types of footpaths, ranging from 2 metres wide on local streets to 4.5 metres wide on busy shopping streets. This aligns well with Australian Standard AS 1428, which recommends at least 1.8 metres to allow two wheelchair users to pass.
Yarra’s 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.
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.
Yarra has adopted an ‘Encouraging and Increasing Walking‘ policy document:
Council’s responsibility is in providing a high-class pedestrian environment to ensure that those people who wish to walk can do so easily and safely.Yarra Encouraging and Increasing Walking 2005
The policy identifies that investment in infrastructure is a key action, including reducing traffic speeds and volumes. Unfortunately, over the 15 years between 2005 and 2020, Yarra hasn’t invested at the necessary rate.