Melbourne Conversations: Moving and Shaping Melbourne

Join a free public forum at Deakin Edge and learn how transport shapes the city, greases the economic wheels and influences community life.

This is the urban century. Around the world, people are moving to cities, drawn by jobs, culture, lifestyle, services, opportunity and everything else that a buzzing metropolis has to offer.

Melbourne is no exception. Yet, with growth comes challenges. How does the city avoid gridlock as more and more people move through the streets? Can we build an urban transport system that supports a dynamic economy and enhances the quality of public space?

Panel:

  • Jennifer Cunich, Executive Director of the Victorian Division of the Property Council of Australia
  • Paul Donegan, Fellow, Cities Program, Grattan Institute
  • William McDougall, transport planner, engineer and economist
  • David Shelton, Executive Director, Strategy and Planning/Road Safety Coordinator, VicRoads
  • Professor John Stone, lecturer, Transport Planning in Urban Planning Program in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne.
  • Continue Reading…

You Thought The East West Link Was Dead, Right? Well Think Again

From Senator Janet Rice, published in NewMatilda 4 Mar 2015

The Victorian Liberals were cast from office in large part over East West Link. Labor needs to kill, bury and cremate it as well, writes Janet Rice*.

Melbourne’s population is growing, congestion is increasing and we need to do something to fix it. Do we keep travelling the old, tired, expensive route? Or do we change course to a cleaner, cheaper option?

The Napthine government’s loss in what Tony Abbott described as the “referendum on the East West Link” was a win for the cleaner and cheaper option. As was the new Daniel Andrews government’s commitment to building the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.

Despite this, Tony Abbott refuses to fund anything resembling sensible, congestion-busting public transport.

And lurking in the shadows is the western half of the East West Link.

This concept is a hangover from Sir Rod Eddington’s ‘East West Link Needs Assessment’ report, which was completed in 2008 for the Brumby government.

The report called for both the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel and the East West Link, and Eddington believed that the western section of the toll road was the priority.

The Labor government agreed and planning proceeded at full speed, until they were turfed out of office.

Since winning last year’s state election, Labor have dodged the issue of this part of the toll road. We’re told it isn’t part of their plan “for this term”, but they “would never say never”.

At Senate Estimates in Canberra last week, the Department of Infrastructure let out that Victorian Labor is “yet to provide any formal advice to the Australian government on their commitment to the project”.

And while Labor leaves the door ajar for East West Link, the way we use transport in this city is making the idea obsolete. Continue Reading…

Traffic in the Inner North

Carlton Main Sewer

YCAT Editorial

With the ill conceived East West Link taken off the agenda, the Andrews Government has announced a new agency Infrastructure Victoria to advise on major projects for the State.

Among other things, the agency will review the traffic and connectivity issues along the Northern Corridor that the East West Link proposal comprehensively failed to address.

Some observers fear that Infrastructure Victoria might revive the East West Link again. They could do worse than begin with a review of the 21 draft recommendations of the Landmark Norther Central City Corridor Study (1999-2001).

The Draft (and final) NCCC report found that if all the recommendations were implemented, there may not be a need for a tunnel.

One of the study recommendations was to close Scotchmer St at the Nicholson St median.

In consultation with stakeholders, remove or reduce the impact of through traffic and trucks on Gatehouse Street, Harker Street, and the Michael, Scotchmer and Pigdon Street route.

At the time, this was met with considerable opposition from local residents and incredulous traders. It was one of the factors that spooked then transport minister Peter Batchelor to promptly shut down the study before a final report.

Fifteen years later, the draft recommendations remain a draft. Despite a concerted attempt by the now scrapped Linking Melbourne Authority to discredit the study, the recommendations remain solid and reasonable today.

In an interesting twist of fate, the recommendation to close Scotchmer to through traffic has come to pass. Last October, Melbourne Water closed Scotchmer St just east of Nicholson St. It’s planned to remain closed until at least June 2016 while the Carlton Main Sewer is replaced.

So far, the sky has not fallen and the shopping villages of North Fitzroy and Nicholson St seem no worse off. The cycling route has improved and there are fewer trucks.

It would be a good opportunity for Yarra Council to update their Local Area Traffic Management Study to investigate the benefits of making this closure permanent.

Obviously doing just one out of 21 recommendations will not solve all the problems. But there has been progress on many of the recommendations, including some of the improvements to the 96 and 86 tram routes, improvements to the DART bus routes and a study into Doncaster rail.

Some of the other traffic calming recommendations have also been fully or partially implemented.

It’s time for a review.

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