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09/10/2007: "A Car-Free Central Melbourne?"
In Australia, Melbourne's mayor sniffed and huffed and then vetoed the city's participation in World Car-Free Day closures on September 22nd, but fortunately for the city's (and the planet's!) future, the rest of the citizenry is not so unimaginative. Writes University of Melbourne architecture prof Nicholas Low:
The first Australian city to go car free will gain a huge competitive advantage. Melbourne should not be looking for a single iconic building to win fame. Its whole central grid of streets and lanes is its icon.

Melbourne's civic spine is Swanston Street: it connects two great universities, the State Library, Melbourne Central Station, the main shopping precinct, the Town Hall, St Paul's Cathedral, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, the Yarra and the Arts Centre. Change must start with Swanston Street.

The first stage should be to close Swanston Street to all traffic except trams (and bikes), remove kerbs, repave the whole area so that it can be seen as a pedestrian precinct, and allow vehicle access for delivery only between 8pm and 8am.

The car parks must be closed. The land is too valuable to waste on car parking.
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