Linking Melbourne Authority rejects Friends of Banyule claim East West Link will increase traffic

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Heidelberg Leader: Linking Melbourne Authority rejects Friends of Banyule claim East West Link will increase traffic. Cherry Prior. 29 April 2014

A Banyule environment group claims the proposed East West Link — billed as a remedy for traffic congestion — will put pressure on the municipality’s roads.

In a submission to the panel reviewing the ­proposal, Friends of ­Banyule said it was “immediately concerned” the project would create “major spill-over effects putting increased pressure on the arterial road network in Banyule”.

“We believe the proposed project will not achieve its aims to alleviate congestion but will via ‘induced ­traffic’ significantly add to it on ­surrounding arterial roads in the northeast,” the ­submission said.

“It will lock up scarce infrastructure funds for a decade and beyond and will make Doncaster rail or an airport link more difficult and costly.”

But the Linking Melbourne Authority, which is responsible for the proposal, contends the link will ­improve traffic in Banyule and provide greater ­accessibility to “critical ­destinations”, including Melbourne airport.

Authority technical advisory group executive director Shaun Smedley said Bell and Banksia streets and Greensborough, Rosanna and Heidelberg roads were all forecast to receive traffic reductions with the link’s introduction.

“At the moment, it takes up to 45 minutes for people to travel on the disconnected arterial road network,” Mr Smedley said.

“This results in rat-running through the ­northern suburbs, which the East West Link would help to alleviate.”

Mr Smedley said the Doncaster rail project would not be affected by the East West Link.

“(The authority) is working with Public Transport Victoria to ensure that these projects can work together,” he said.

The Friends of Banyule submission was among more than 1400 public submissions to the committee ­reviewing the project.

The committee will ­review all public submissions, which have now closed, along with the authority’s comprehensive impact statement before advising Planning Minister Matthew Guy as to whether the project should proceed.

The proposal is for a new, $8 billion, 18km road connecting the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Rd.

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