Roads to nowhere – by William McDougall

YCAT is re-posting this important and damning letter by senior transport planner William McDougall, published in the SMH and The Sunday Age, Jan 7th 2018.

YCAT hosts complete copies of the Eddington Investing in Transport Report (2008) and the Norther Central City Corridor Study (2001) that are referenced in the article below. We do this in the hope that one day transport planning will be evidenced based and not corrupted by monopolistic corporate interests. Neither study is available on any Victorian Government web site, despite being publicly funded.

Our ridiculous frenzy of road construction will swallow up resources for two decades

by William McDougall

Victoria’s politicians have thrown away the benefits of the state’s stamp duty bonanza and the proceeds from the Port of Melbourne sale over recent years by investing in politically motivated, badly conceived road projects.They have also delayed and dumbed down vital public transport projects.

All of this has been for purely political reasons, yet it hasn’t even delivered political success: the last two state elections have been lost on transport grounds. The next could go the same way.

We in the real world have known for years that building more roads generates more traffic and worsens congestion. For this reason, Melbourne’s growth and economic success is best served by putting public transport first, not last.

Last Friday, as the end of the year approached, the government released the heavily redacted contract with Transurban for the West Gate Tunnel. It will cost Victorians billions, unnecessarily, and yet it is just the latest in a string of foolish road projects this state has embarked on.

Over 18 months from 2001, I oversaw the Northern Central City Corridor Study for the Bracks Labor government. This major investigation by the state showed that investing in public transport properly would avoid the need for new roads in the north, including the East West Link.Then, in 2007, I was among those advising Sir Rod Eddington on his East West Link Needs Assessment. Continue Reading…

Say NO to West Gate Tunnel – rally for a sustainable Melbourne

Please share to your profile, page or group – Say NO to West Gate Tunnel – rally for a sustainable Melbourne – come along and show solidary for Melbourne’s west residents, as with Transurbans plans, the rest of us are under renewed threats from inappropriate road projects right across Melbourne!

This Sunday 17th December – 11am -1pm, Brooklyn Reserve, 26 Nolan Ave, Brooklyn

People are gathering to send a signal to the government that this type of infrastructure and the way they have planned it with Transurban is not the way to plan for a sustainable Melbourne. The same government has plans for more mega roads. Its time to stop and think before it is too late.

Urgent: North East Link feedback by 5pm Monday 18 September

Stop me, oh, stop me.  Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before

Stop me, oh, stop me. Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before

Following up from last weeks update concerning North East Link, if you have a spare ten minutes you can make it count *right now* – we have until 5pm Monday 18 September! See below for ideas, links & where to send your feedback.

Read more: Zombie Project hidden in North East Link Option A?

Please contact us ( if you know of any upcoming local events, tips, corrections, contributions and please share this with fellow residents and local groups.

1. North East Link: What we know – There are four proposed routes:

Of immediate concern to Melbourne’s inner north residents is the proposed Option A: the shortest, most direct and, almost certainly, the cheapest – connecting to the Eastern Freeway.


  • Up to ten years of construction along the Eastern Freeway,
  • More congestion, pollution and noise for the inner suburbs,
  • Possibility of the Eastern Freeway being tolled,
  • More traffic into the Eastern Freeway – is this building the case, by stealth, for yet another version of the East West Link, to potentially connect with proposed West Gate Tunnel?
  • Proposed Option A route is through environmentally sensitive areas (one of Melbourne “green wedges’) and will severely impact upon numerous homes, businesses and heritage areas in Bulleen, Bellevue, Balwyn North, Kew East.
  • Possible removal of the Doncaster Rail reserve along Eastern Fwy and future East Kew and Bulleen Station sites.

From Say NO to North East Link Option A​: There can be no tunnelled connection to the Eastern Freeway due to the steep grades (about 8%) that would be required to take a tunnel under the Eastern Freeway, then pop up and connect to it prior to Doncaster road. There can be no tunnel portal south of Bolin Bolin/Marcellin, as the flyover ramps would still have the same problem. All possible connections to the Eastern Freeway are above ground and involve property acquisitions in Bulleen/Balwyn North.

Additional information: Samantha Dunn​ – The North East Link Just Won’t Work

At $10-$23 billion, the North East Link will be Victoria’s most expensive road ever but:

  • Another new toll road just encourages more cars
  • This road will divide communities no matter which route
  • Traffic will be funnelled to a few on-ramps, creating congestion
  • Trucking companies will avoid the tolls and rat-run through our neighbourhoods.
  • Sensitive environmental areas and cultural sites will be damaged
  • Oversized trucks and dangerous goods will still use Rosanna Road as they will be banned from tunnels.

The Solution

  • Investing in a public transport system that works is the best way to get cars off the road and decrease congestion:
  • Our money is better spent on public transport improvements such as:
  • Duplicating the Hurstbridge line
  • Better, quicker signalling on Hurstbridge and Mernda lines
  • More frequent and better connected bus services
  • Public transport won’t carve up the Green Wedge or Banyule Flats

2. Make your North East Link feedback by 5pm, 18 September 2017

Note: email address required to register

More contact information:

3. Have another five minutes? Please email your North East Link feedback & concerns to the following:

Yarra City Council​: please mention Yarra Councils strong advocacy for Doncaster Rail during their Trains Not Toll Roads campaign against East West Link (2013-2015)  Email:,

Member for Melbourne: Ellen Sandell, Ph: 9328 4637, Email:

Member for Richmond: Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, Ph: 9415 8901, Email:

Jenny Mikakos Ph: 9462 3966, Email:

Greg Barber Ph: 9348 2622, Email:

Fiona Patten Ph: 9386 4400, Email:

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