The Hoddle Street Study Advisory Group held its first meeting on 31 March 2008. The advisory group meetings are organised by the VicRoad Study Team and chaired by independent mediator Scott Philips. The meeting was hosted by VicRoads at the offices of URS in Southbank, an engineering & professional services company engaged for the study.
Attendees included representatives from special interest groups such as the VECCI and the RACV (who support a tunnel), as well as Tram, Train and Bus groups. Melbourne City Council was represented by Cr. Peter Clarke and several officers. Yarra was represented by the Director of City Development, no Yarra Councillors attended.
Community Groups included the PTUA, YCAT, 3068, Protectors of Public Lands, East Melbourne Residents Group and Yarra Park Association.
The scope of the study includes:
“improve the efficiency of Hoddle Street by optimising the movement of people and goods, reducing congestion and increasing the benefits for identified priority modes;”
The first half of the meeting was spent trying to get all attendees to sign the terms of reference. A number of attendees raised concerns with one clause:
“Members, or their nominated delegate(s), will not be political office-bearers, or candidates for office as part of any registered political party.”
Objections included the ambiguity of the clause, whether it was necessary, whether it excluded Yarra Councillors (many of whom are office bearers of a political party), and whether it was justified for VicRoads to require members to declare their political activities. The study group agreed to write to Cr. Clarke and CC the team “clarifying” the clause. The unfortunate clause was strongly supported by the chair, because he is compelled to operate under the terms of reference.
VicRoads then made a presentation. They insisted there are “no pre-determined outcomes”, but acknowledged the Victorian Transport Plan (VTP) sets the parameters. This could potentially rule out consideration of a Doncaster Railway, or congestion charges, but allows an expanded bus service to be considered.
The study team lead also distanced the study from the September 2008 GHD High Level Options engineering report which includes massive overpasses along the route.
The study scope mention of “Identified Priority Modes”, and “Fixed Modal Share” was also questioned. Several reps put a question on notice for these to be defined and identified. It seems to mean that some roads are planned to be more car friendly than others.
The VicRoads has created its own forum where anyone can log in and post suggestions at
Finally, the study asked all representatives to bring to the next meeting a one page summary of the headline issues as their group sees it. This is a call to all YCAT readers think about the issues you really want YCAT to take to the study. Send your issues to YCAT or comment on this post.