Residents meet to voice concerns about planned East West Link

Concerned residents joined the Transport Users Association, Carlton Residents Association and Protectors of Public Lands representatives to voice their opinions about the proposed multi-billion dollar East West Link outside the library on Saturday, March 30…

The meeting was planned so people could talk about the new freeway proposed by the State Government, that would link the Eastern Fwy to CityLink and go from Melbourne General Cemetery close to Royal Park Station.

The State Government and the RACV support the new freeway, saying it would reduce road congestion on some of Melbourne’s other freeways and major roads reduce traffic in inner city suburbs.

But residents say it will do more harm than good. All who attended the meeting agreed a train line from Doncaster into the city would be more sustainable than a new freeway.

Former Yarra councillor and member of the newly formed Public Transport Advocacy Campaign Steering Committee Alison Clarke said the new link was unsustainable.

“It will encourage more car dependency and starve the public transport system,” Ms Clarke said.

“The whole of the inner city will be absolutely chockers with traffic if it goes ahead,” she said.

PTUA member and North Balwyn resident Ian Hundley said the new freeway would cause even more traffic noise than there already was in some parts of Boroondara.

Mr Hundley said the number 48 tram did not cut it for commuters and a train needed to go to Doncaster.

“The road network at Doncaster is filling up fast. Road-based public transport is no longer doing it, it needs to be heavy rail. The 48 tram is not a substitute for Doncaster rail,” he said.

Protectors of Public Lands Victoria secretary Julianne Bell said people would not pay the tolls on the new freeway and would just go through Boroondara instead.

Ms Bell said property prices in the inner city would decrease because of the freeway and she was worried about the negative effects it would have on Royal Park.

East West Link plans have been submitted to the Federal Government for the environmental approval process.

North Fitzroy resident Paul Prentice said he did not like anything about the freeway.

“I don’t want more cars on the road and it would have a disastrous effect on Royal Park and the suburbs. It will be so ugly and so noisy,” he said.

Carlton Residents Association member Ian Bird echoed Mr Prentice’s comments.

“More people would drive if the freeway goes ahead. It is such a hopeless idea and a waste of money. There are 180 railway crossings and separations that need upgrading, how come they can’t use the money to fix those,” Mr Bird said.