“Despite not many people knowing about it, Transport Minister Michael Wood’s ‘Reshaping Streets’ proposal could drastically change streetscapes up and down the country and closes for submissions at midnight,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The new rule works by reversing the order of consultation and change. Councils will be allowed to drastically change streets as a ‘Pilot’ without consultation. The only requirement is to give two weeks’ notice. The ‘Pilot’ can go on for up to two years. The consultation happens after it’s done when the council considers feedback from the public.

“However, regardless of the feedback councils can still elect to make the ‘Pilot’ permanent, even if it contradicts a bylaw. Instead of consulting on changes, then making them if they’re justified, change can be bedded in over two years and confirmed as a fait accompli.

“Councils can block streets, remove car parking, put objects such as planter boxes in the middle of the roads (aka ‘traffic calming’), ban certain types of vehicles (aka a ‘modal filter’), change the speed limit, or put in a cycle lane.

“Councils will not be required to consult emergency services if they will be blocked from accessing an area. Instead, they will be required to ‘notify’ them as ‘specified organisations.’ This takes the proposal from annoying to dangerous, with emergency services already finding it difficult to access some new urban areas.

“The agenda is clear, and it is totally anti-car. Making it inconvenient for people to drive is not a possible outcome of these changes, it is the intended outcome.

“There is some good in the rules, they allow for areas outside schools to be made safer and, in very limited conditions, for streets to be blocked off for the purpose of children playing on them. Interestingly, these proposals have to consider preserving vehicle access, and the restrictions have to be proportionate.

“Overall, the changes amount to an urban activists’ manifesto, allowing dreamers in local government to get in the way of people trying to go about their business without consultation nor consequence. It will affect goods and people getting in and out of urban areas. The proposal should be dumped and represented with the community streets and school streets concepts only.”

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David Seymour