Get set for traffic chaos

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) today warned that the State Government is failing Melbourne’s inner and eastern suburbs by neglecting to adequately plan and provide public transport before the opening of EastLink, or deal with current overcrowding on existing services.

PTUA spokesman and Doncaster resident Christopher Trikilis said that unless something was done now, this situation was set to become a disaster. “We have inadequate public transport infrastructure in some areas, and a multi-billion dollar road construction project months ahead of schedule which will dump thousands of extra cars a day onto existing roads, changing traffic patterns forever.

“All the government can offer is a few extra buses starting in 2009, which will do little to ease the burden of congested roads, or to help the buses already overcrowded in peak times, which don’t have adequate priority. Is this the best they can do?”, asked Mr Trikilis.

While Eastlink is set to open in 2008, the early opening will cause headaches in Manningham when it opens, choking the area’s arterial roads with up to an additional 30,000 cars a day – with many streets set to become rat runs. This is in addition to the problems faced at the city end of the Eastern Freeway, which will struggle to cope with the sheer volume of traffic trying to access local roads and the CBD area.

The PTUA has called for funding allocated for the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) to be brought forward to next year allowing more frequent and reliable buses, and on-road priority allowing services to run to timetable, as well as extending tram 48 along Doncaster Road through to Shoppingtown to provide real transport solutions to the Manningham region.

“It’s time to stop paying lip service to public transport, to start delivering on better services to the area. The State Government must act to ensure that public transport alternatives are in place before Manningham is condemned to becoming a traffic sewer for drivers outside the region”, concluded Mr. Trikilis.