The mega-commute is driving us into an early grave The mega-commute is driving us into an early grave. Charis Chang. 19 November 2014

Is it time we let go of suburban life?

Mega-commutes that eat up our time and patience, they could also be driving us into an early grave. So is it a sad fact of life that they’re here to stay?

In Melbourne, if you drive a car it is possible to travel 10 times further than someone taking the train or tram would travel in the same amount of time. At night, the difference becomes even bigger, when road congestion eases and public transport becomes less frequent.

In the lead up to the Victorian state election, Melburnians are being promised shorter commutes as part of the East West Link project spruiked by the Napthine Government. The cross-city road connection with twin 4.4km tunnels running from the Eastern Freeway to City Link, could save motorists up to 30 minutes.

The Napthine Government has also promised 170 new trains, including 24 VLocity railcars for the V/Line network, as part of its $3.9 billion transport pledge.

Daniel Andrews has promised Labor will rip up the East West Link contracts as part of a focus on public transport, which would run 24/7 in Melbourne on weekends. Labor has also vowed to put $300 million into the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.

The road and rail frustrations that Melburnians and commuters who live in regional Victoria face, are replicated across Australia. Continue Reading…

Cycle Spiral is total spin

Cycle Spiral is total spin By Andrew Herington

The Linking Melbourne Authority has been working overtime with its latest round of promotion for the East West Link to emphasise it as somehow “environmentally friendly”. Aware of how disastrously unpopular the East West Link has become, the LMA is belatedly trying to change the image of the project.

The massive 20 metre high Hoddle St flyover is rebadged as “The Soundwave”. The 30 metre smokestacks are now been given “living green walls”, as if this reduces the toxicity of the emissions from them.

The Premier even donned a bike helmet and rode shakily for 100 metres to promote a $70 million package of bike paths that so people can ride “from the inner city all the way to Mornington”. (Why Mornington? Surely if you wanted to ride there you would head south and go along the Bayside trail?, And it’s not even a marginal seat – perhaps he meant to say Frankston.)

Although the LMA had specifically rejected the North East Bike Link proposal at the Assessment Committee hearings they were now not only embracing it as their own, but claiming the funding “had always been part of the project budget”.

The second iconic bike measure was the “Cycle Spiral” – a name that could only have been made up by Rhonda at the Nation Building Authority in the ABC satire Utopia. It got wide coverage in the media courtesy of this fetching illustration of what it would allegedly look like. Continue Reading…

Take Action to tighten Air Pollution Standards

YCAT urges community groups and individuals to make submissions to the review of Air Pollution standards

The 3068 Neighbourhood Group from Clifton Hill has made a submission with particular reference to the failing of the East West Link Comprehensive Impact Assessment to deal with Air Pollution from the project.

1. Background on making a submission: Proposed variation to the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure in relation to the standards for particles

2. Public consultationSubmissions close 10 October 2014 and responses will be made publicly available unless marked as ‘confidential’. The responses will be considered in the development of a final proposal to vary the Ambient Air Quality NEPM.

3. How to make a submission: The Impact Statement and draft varied measure are now open for public comment and provide stakeholders with an opportunity to provide their views on the information and options presented.

4. Submissions can be made to the NEPC by completing an online questionnaire or in writing.

5. Submissions can be made in writing and addressed to: The Executive Officer, National Environment Protection Council, Department of the Environment, GPO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601.  Alternatively, submissions can be emailed to:

Additional information

ABC Science: Air quality standards ‘increase pollution and health risks’ ( 1 October 2014)

Deadly air pollution continues to be a problem in Australia because air quality standards are being misused, say experts. The standards governing six key outdoor pollutants are being interpreted as an acceptable upper limit of pollution, says health statistician Associate Professor Adrian Barnett of the Queensland University of Technology.

The Age:  Final $6.8b East West Link design ignores government’s own expert planning advice (30 September 2014)

A 10-storey tunnel ventilation stack will be built in Collingwood, near homes and the Clifton Hill Primary School, despite the government’s project assessment committee saying it should be located hundreds of metres to the east.

Collingwood Air Pollution Lecture (17 September 2014)

On 17th September 2014, a presentation on the Health Impacts of Air Pollution was held for concerned parents in the Collingwood area. Collingwood has some of the worst traffic in Melbourne but the air quality is not regularly measured. Keele Street Creche now has monitoring but it is unclear if any results will be released to the public before the election.

Continue Reading…

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