Air is free, but more pollution from West Gate Tunnel is deadly
You can help Spotswood South Kingsville Residents Group push for the highest air quality standards possible for Melbourne’s inner west in their submission to the Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the West Gate Tunnel project.
A little bit of context
Spotswood and South Kingville is a small community in Hobsons Bay in the inner west of Melbourne. We already live with increasing noise and pollution from the West Gate Freeway which carries approximately 200,000 vehicles per day including 30,000 trucks.
In 2014, the Andrews Government won government in Victoria with a mandate to implement and fund the West Gate Distributor project, a relatively small proposal to resolve freight issues and take trucks off residential streets.
Fast forward to 2016, and the Victorian Government has agreed to partner with Transurban, a private tolling company who will receive tolls from the new roads in return for funding a much bigger project, the West Gate Tunnel project (the Project). The Project is now subject to an EES where its assumptions and benefits will be scrutinised by all interested parties. Final approval from the Minister for Planning and the Victorian Parliament is required through this process. Construction is due to start early 2018 and end in 2022.
But there’s a problem
We are concerned the air quality standards outlined by the Project will not sufficiently safeguard our community.
Vehicle emissions and air quality standards in Australia do not meet international standards. The Australian truck fleet using the West Gate Tunnel Project’s truck ramps, freeways and tunnel is aged and a very large proportion are not even compliant with Australia’s poor standards, (Euro V), hence they are likely to be a very significant emitters of diesel particulate matter. Diesel exhaust has been classified as carcinogenic to humans.
Doncaster bus rapid transit?
Transdev Melbourne has made a pitch for “Doncaster bus rapid transit” Is it a viable alternative to heavy or light rail along the Doncaster reservation and Eastern median or is it a long term cop out? Will the proposed service get up at all?
It is estimated the Doncaster-CBD busway would cost more than $500 million to build, which is 10 to 16 per cent of the estimated $3 billion – $5 billion cost of building Doncaster rail, a project Infrastructure Victoria assessed last year would return just 10 cents for every dollar spent. Transdev wants to pave over the Eastern Freeway median – which has been reserved for almost 50 years for a future Doncaster railway line – for express buses instead of trains.
1. The extra bus lane is physically accessible to all vehicles. This means the bus will be restricted to the same 100km speed limit leading to a longer trip than necessary.
2. Motorists will not be enticed to change to the bus if it is a lot slower than driving.
3. The extra bus lane will preclude the possibility to build a heavy or even a light rail.
4. The bus lane reservation on the freeway should be taken from existing vehicle lanes, otherwise the capacity on the eastern freeway will continue to fill leading to no net traffic reduction.
5. Freeway congestion does not affect the bus service today. It is the city street congestion that causes the delays. The freeway reservation does not not address the real issue.
6. The bus will be diesel powered. Bringing large numbers of engines that emit a class 1 carcinogen into highly populated city streets is madness.
7. The bus will be fossil fuel powered. All new infrastructure should be based on renewable electricity.
8. Trains are already massively overcrowded. How is the bus service going to cope with a population target of 10 million?
9. This is a sell off of public land that was reserved for a railway, not a private bus operator. Keep public land in public hands.
10. Cofevee. Don’t be fooled by this weak attempt at placating the electorate. Demand real action on public transport.
West Gate Tunnel EES released for public comment
Thirty days, yes, thirty short days to respond to 10,000 pages of the West Gate Tunnel Environmental Effects Statement!
From Colleen Hartland, MP: thetollroadwontwork.org.au
The West Gate Tunnel Environmental Effects Statement was released on 29 May 2017, and the government is giving the community until 10 July to respond. There are literally thousands of pages of documents, and we are working hard to summarise these for you!
It’s really important that the community has their say on this toll road which will have a dramatic impact on our neighbourhood. You don’t need to be an expert and it doesn’t have to be long. We’ll be putting the summarised documents up on the site soon.