According to reports, by 2027, Australia’s population could reach 29.3 million, 69 percent of which is projected to live in capital cities. With the growth in urban centres comes increased traffic and congestion, and the need for effective transport.

Sydney’s Bankstown may have the answer with an integrated transport and place framework by Australian urban planning and design practice RobertsDay. The project has received community support, and will result in 30 percent more pedestrian space, 84 percent more street trees, and an additional 4.2km of cycle paths. Traffic modelling predicts that the changes would move 16 percent of traffic from the CBD without any negative impact on travel times or level of service.

The project – called Bankstown Centre Complete Streets – is designed to create a safer, greener and more attractive city centre with more balanced and sustainable transport. It has been shortlisted for the 2019 Australian Urban Design Awards and provides a reliable benchmark for other growing cities grappling with creating places that give priority to people walking, cycling, using public transport and driving – with priority given in this order.

“Bankstown is undergoing a period of significant transformation, with a significant increase of residents, workers, and students within 20 years, a high-frequency Metro service, and a new university campus within five years – along with the ongoing renewal of the city centre,” says RobertsDay Sydney director Stephen Moore.

“The city centre, already faced challenges with safety, car dependency, congestion, wayfinding and amenity. In addition, there is an opportunity to improve its overall image, sense of place and equity for all its citizens. Council needed a transport plan as well as a place plan to stitch together the major projects and make sure the city centre is safe, accessible and appealing,” he says.

“Our plan, dubbed ‘complete streets’, addresses the need to solve vehicular traffic as well as cater for other civic movements such as place functions to attract people and a support for thriving businesses,” says Moore.

The desired outcomes are slower, safer streets which increase people walking and cycling; improved accessibility and wayfinding; a more attractive city centre; local business support via increased pedestrian activity; a greener CBD with cooler streets and reduced carbon emissions; and a healthier community.

Principles and recommendations of the plan are now embedded into Council’s CSP, LSPS, DCP and LEP review and Smart Cities Roadmap to ensure a coordinated approach.

“By adopting a place-led approach, we have retained Bankstown’s marvellous cultural diversity through the establishment of a cultural trail, promoted active transit such as walking and cycling, and addressed more conventional transport issues around roads, public transport and pedestrian access,” says Moore.

Image: Supplied