15 December 2008

Boulevard instead of traffic trap

Letter to The Age from Cr Jackie M Fristacky Chair Metropolitan Transport Forum

The Age headline, “The real plan is to push us back into cars” (15/12), is prescient about the government’s transport objectives.
These objectives are reflected in the $5M engineering study to create an expressway on Hoddle Street with concrete flyovers and underpasses at key intersections such as Johnson Street, Victoria Parade and Bridge Road.
Hoddle Street’s problems arise from the influx of vehicles exiting the Eastern and Monash Freeways. The Eastern carries 120,000 vehicles a day, while the M1 is being expanded to double its capacity. Hoddle Street congestion is compounded by the car centric approach to transport through building Eastlink and expanding the M1.
These key freeway expansions were decided without proper public policy assessment based on principles of integrated transport and land use planning.
Developed in secret, the Hoddle Street proposal has had no public input or consultation, or cost-benefit analysis. Nor has it been appraised against alternatives. The new $5M study is now an admission that the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) bus system will be ineffectual to impact on mode share to alleviate congestion on Hoddle Street.
The Government has been silent on the City of Melbourne, Yarra and Manningham joint submission to Infrastructure Australia, seeking a $5M feasibility study of a rail service for the growing Doncaster corridor.
The cost of the Hoddle Street proposals would exceed the $1.5B cost of rail to Doncaster. Other costs are added congestion at Hoddle Street intersections, huge lost opportunity costs, reduced road safety and amenity and increased emissions.
There is a superior alternative vision for Hoddle Street to be renovated as a key Melbourne boulevard and activity centre.
The Cities of Melbourne, Yarra, Stonnington and Port Philllip, through a joint Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP) have endorsed improving the quality and design of Alexandra Parade and Hoddle Street as boulevards. Submissions to the Eddington Review and Government, proposed mass transit by rail from Doncaster to Carlton and the extension of tram route 86 along Hoddle Street from Clifton Hill to Richmond and South Yarra.
Improvements have been made through tree planting, footpaths and council assuming maintenance of street medians for VicRoads. The underlying objective is the development of our key parades as attractive assets like St Kilda Road.
The Dynon to Domain metro rail tunnel supports the boulevard status of St Kilda Road. Similar commitment is required for a metro rail system in the east to enable Alexandra Parade and Hoddle Street to fulfil their destiny.
The Hoddle family have suggested renaming the latter as Robert Hoddle Boulevard in recognition of the huge contribution of Melbourne’s pioneer surveyor, to the layout and liveability of Melbourne.
The alternative view for Melbourne’s key boulevards requires wide public debate and policy analysis, rather than a narrow $5M engineering study for a Hoddle Street traffic trap.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I am totally offended that the Govt proposed 122km of new freeway but only 36km of new rail. I cannot even find 36 km of new stuff. Hoddle street would be better served by better PT.
It is the old story: it is better to move vehicles rather than people.
This mob has lost the plot & as an ALP ember for nearly 43 years, I am very tempted to go on strike at the next state eletion.

Anonymous said...

About time they are going to fix Hoddle St.

Anonymous said...

I live in Manningham and work in Altona. No matter what public transport solutions are proposed, no public transport would get me to work in less than 2.5 hours each way each day. I have to drive a car and I want the road fixed. Hoddle Street should be fixed for the masses to use and if that means flyovers and elevated expressways, government has my full support. Selfish residents living on or near the "Boulevarde" would be the only beneficiaries of this stupid alternative. I am not against a rail link to Doncaster. In fact I fully support it, but please don't discard proper investment in roads infrastructure as well.

Ashley said...

So Anonymous who lives in Manningham....by your logic if I live in Diamond Creek and work in Box Hill, then can I advocate for a massive freeway / overpass etc to go through your home street/shopping area because I want it. I assume you wouldn't mind because you wouldn't want to be a "selfish resident" about it.....would you?

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with the Hoddle Boulevard idea. I truly believe that rail investment will help to alleviate traffic congestion. You only have to look at the spectacular growth of patronage in Victorian trains and trams to realise that it can work. The overpass idea is heinous and would be an act of urban vandalism which would be sorely regretted by future generations.