Monday, June 16, 2008

a response to the Eddington report

Melbourne residents who don't think the solution to climate change is to build more roads have four weeks to make the July 15 deadline for responses. If you are not from around here, then this post is what I am ranting about. For more information on how to do this check out the website.

I contacted the Greens on my local council after reading the report but to they didn't supply any real guidelines or framework to respond to it. If you are interested, here is our submission which you are welcome to cannibalize to use if wish.

I know this all a NIMBY but really, I don't want a tunnel in ANYONE'S backyard. A bike track though is another thing.

East West Link Needs Assessment – a response to the Eddington Report

We, the undersigned, oppose the planned roadways and tunnel proposed in the Eddington Report for the following reasons and suggest some long term solutions to the traffic congestion issues, as discussed and referenced below.

The Problems


“We cannot reduce congestion by building more roads since immediately we get more traffic to fill them up to the same speed as before. The only way to reduce congestion is to introduce better public transport facilities which reduce the number of people who travel by car on the roads.” Professor Martin Mogridge, University College London

Building more roads is a short-term solution to the issue of traffic congestion, with a high financial cost to taxpayers as well as to the health of local residents. The proposed roadways will not ultimately solve the congestion issues and could potentially increase private vehicle use in the area.

Melbourne is growing and new homeowners are moving into the only affordable housing that is available, in the new developments in the outer suburbs. Yet in the absence of public transport infrastructure in those new suburbs they are forced onto the gridlocked roadways. Recent public-private partnership of roads in this State have not solved the issue of traffic congestion, it has encouraged greater car usage until the new roads are as congested as they befor- the road changes. A trip on the Monash or Tullamarine freeways clearly illustrates this point at the ever widening peak hours of travel or even at non-peak times.. Melbourne already has one of the highest ratios of road space to population. Increasing this ratio is not a solution.


The Garnaut Interim Report on Climate Change (February, 2008) reinforces the need for Australia to reduce carbon emissions by a minimum of 60% by 2050.1 Australia has one of the highest Greenhouse gas emissions per head of population in the developed world. Fossil fuel usage is the major culprit. Extending roads and creating mega-tunnels encourages fossil fuel use and compromises the potential efficacy of any emissions trading scheme that may be introduced by the Federal Government. It also gives drivers the message that they do not need to change their car usage and emission habits; rather it condones and encourages it.

As (suburb name) residents we are also concerned that ventilation stacks for the proposed tunnel in our neighbourhood would compromise the health of the community, as well as threaten the to “quiet enjoyment” of our property. While ventilation shafts are an obvious cause of concern regarding pollution, the design of the tunnel with no local off ramps, as well as the effects of tolls on driving habits means increased on-road vehicle traffic in the area. Numerous studies document the health effects of pollution.2

It is confounding that the EPA has ‘chosen’ to stop monitoring all the Burnley and Domain tunnels’ ventilation stacks, while it is widely acknowledged that independent monitoring of air pollution in this country is inadequate.3 Additionally, experts have warned that more than half of the ill effects of pollution in Australia are said to occur at levels lower than the National Environment Protection Measures standards.

There are four primary and two secondary schools in the Parkville/Carlton area, in close vicinity to the proposed road tunnel that would necessitate the erection of ventilation stacks. Studies, such as ones published in The New England Journal of Medicine (September, 2004) and New Scientist in the same month, demonstrate a link between pollution and chronic deficits in lung development of 10-18 year old children, as well as infant mortality due to exhaust pollutants. These findings need to be considered before risking the health of our local children.

The International Journal of Cancer (August, 2004) has reported an association between ovarian cancer and exposure to diesel exhaust fumes. Other than the devastating impact of cancer on an individual’s life, the increase in cancer rates are a drain on the State’s health budget.

Pollution is increased when accidents occur in road tunnels. During the March 2007 Burnley Tunnel accident reportedly toxic “black smoke poured out of smoke stacks” exposing those living near the vents to unhealthy amounts of particular matter.4

The Solutions

We believe the real solution for Melbourne’s road congestion, as well as its responsibility for our excessive carbon emissions, is to invest the estimated $18 billion cost of extending roadways and tunnels in public transport instead.

We propose that this money could be better invested for the health of Victorians and the planet through the following measures:

1. Return ownership of Melbourne’s public transport to the State.
Private owners have breached many aspects of their contract and the State Government has allowed them to get away with it.5 In addition taxpayers continue to prop up the privatised public transport system, while paying the highest ticket prices out of all of Australia’s State capitals (except Tasmania).

2. Invest the $18 billion in improving public transport infrastructure, including new train and tram routes to suburbs in outer Melbourne, a train service to Doncaster and more trams and trains on the existing network.

3. Better service on Public Transport means more patrons. The study6 cited shows that increasing scheduled services and introducing cheaper fares could increase patronage in some areas by more than 5,700%. This is the most logical solution for Melbourne to reduce carbon emission caused by private transport and solve the growing gridlock on the roads.

4. Remove the ticket inspectors and replace them on trams with tram conductors. Melbourne tram users feel safer with conductors and intimidated by the heavy-handed tactics of the current inspectors. A perceived sense of safety increases public transport usage.

5. A smarter way to tax vehicles.
Gas guzzling, road hogging oversized 4-wheel drive/SUV’s are inappropriate for metropolitan use. The State could impose a levy on all such vehicles that are registered to a city address. Rural residents would be exempt. Conversely hybrid (and low emission) cars should attract a reduced vehicle registration fee.

6. Vic Roads could invest any profit from these taxes in the provision of better bicycle paths.

another outstpoken female and the not boyfriend

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Blogger docwitch said...

Great to see you moving on this. It's very worrying, and goes way beyond NIMBY-ness. It's a thoughtless and reactive approach to the 'planning' of infrastructure.

The way this city's population is growing, there's going to have to be more sustainable and considered approaches in order to cope effectively with that.

The Greens, bless 'em, can be a bit fuzzy on helping with detailed strategies at times.

Good on you!

4:05 pm  

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