Roe 8 fails the tests of responsible 21st-century infrastructure planning

The Conversation: Roe 8 fails the tests of responsible 21st-century infrastructure planning Peter Newman (16 February 2017)

The Roe 8 project illustrates all that is wrong with how we are planning and managing infrastructure in our cities. The Beeliar Group suggests the lack of transparency and accountability for the project points to a government that has lost its sense of responsibility. It’s probably also a result of federal government intervention that upset proper processes of planning.

The highly politicised and compromised process is similar to other big road projects across Australia such as East West Link in Melbourne and WestConnex in Sydney. All arose from the Abbott government’s interventions in transport infrastructure.

These interventions were highly unusual. The Commonwealth normally assesses and funds but does not suggest specific projects. The desperate activism associated with these three projects suggests we need to avoid such top-down planning. Read more.

Reasons for de-scoping the Western Distributor

To all parties with an interest in the Western Distributor

Here is Victorian Transport Action Group’s (VTAG’s) paper that assesses the impact of the Western Distributor (WD) and offers 10 recommendations to make it more socially, environmentally and economically acceptable.

VTAG’s major concerns with the WD include:

  • It costs $5.5 Billion and is 11 times larger than the road proposal of the Andrews Government elected in 2014.
  • Transurban’s original ‘unsolicited bid’ has become a massive road cluster linking freeways and arterials in such a way that it induces traffic into the inner and western suburbs and maximises toll revenue for Transurban.
  • The planning and EES processes are insufficient to protect communities from night time truck noise, carcinogenic exhaust emissions and other severe negative community health impacts.
  • WD will blight homes, land, parkland and waterways and cause worse truck problems in local streets.
  • WD denies western suburbs residents’ proper public transport services.
  • WD shifts freight from freight trains to monstrous road trucks and worsens road traffic congestion and trauma.
  • There is a lack of governance and objectivity to ensure that private sector profiteering is not in conflict with the public good.

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How to Stop a Highway

Interesting timing with US Department of Transportation releasing this handy toolkit about how to influence and/or stop bad infrastructure projects.

The Department of Transportation releases a plain-language toolkit to help citizens weigh in on all kinds of projects—so they can thwart the bad ones

CityLab: How to Stop a Highway (13 December 2016)

The Department of Transportation releases a plain-language toolkit to help citizens weigh in on all kinds of projects—so they can thwart the bad ones.

So, let’s say your state department of transportation wants to widen the highway in your neighborhood. It’s a horrendous idea—more noise, more pollution, and a bigger tear through city streets.

But how do you tell them so? The project’s draft analysis is thousands of pages long, full of technical verbiage you’d need degrees to understand. The public forums are cage fights between cranky neighbors and engineers with jargon-studded retorts for every possible complaint. Besides, what’s the point? The highway’s coming, whether you pipe up or not. That’s what always happens. Right?

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