Residents advocate for Trains Not Toll Roads: Say Yes to Doncaster Rail

Concerned residents ( gather) outside the Collingwood Library (on Easter Saturday) to brainstorm ways of supporting the City of Yarra’s ‘Trains Not Toll Roads’ campaign.

The “Trains Not Toll Roads Campaign” supports a rail line connecting Doncaster with the city and opposes the East West road which would link the Eastern Freeway with the Western Ring Road via an underground tunnel.

The meeting was organised by the Public Transport Advocacy Campaign Steering Committee, and committee member Alison Clarke spoke about the importance of collective action.

“Things like tying toy train sets down the middle of Alexandra Parade, displaying posters in yards and stickers on windows,” she said to the group.

The group were also told that Linking Melbourne Authority had released an environment referral document on Wednesday and they had until the 10th of April to make a submission to the Federal Government in response.

A statement from Linking Melbourne Authority suggested that the East West Link would result in less carbon emissions from cars by reducing congestion at the end of the Eastern Freeway…

“They are comparing a road link to a tunnel road link, instead of comparing road to rail,” said Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly.  “A rail down the middle of the Eastern Freeway would lead to fewer cars on this road,” he said…

“Only 13 per cent of cars coming in off the Eastern Freeway head west. Most go into the city or inner northern suburbs,” said Jolly.  “People will be encouraged to drive more, and if money goes into the link, it won’t go into public transport – there’s not two buckets of money,” said Clarke.

Abbotsford resident Mary Fenelon, who is also the treasurer of Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport, said that if the East West tunnel goes ahead, she will lose her home.  “I live on the corner of Alexandra Parade… where they’ll have to widen the shoulder for people to get onto the link from Hoddle Street,” Fenelon said.

“But that’s not the reason why I’m here today – I’ll be compensated for my house. There are far more important issues,” she said.

Fenelon talked about the health issues associated with living near freeways and the impact the recent EastLink construction had had on the Eastern Freeway.

“EastLink put more cars onto the Eastern Freeway, and the East West Link will put even more,” she said.

Some attendees unfurled a banner bearing the ‘Trains Not Toll Roads’ slogan…

“If they do build the East West Link, then we are just one big carfest for the foreseeable future,” said Clarke.

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