The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) today warned that the imminent opening of Eastlink will only have a short-term impact on the problems of traffic congestion in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, and do nothing to overcome car dependency.
The PTUA’s Outer East Convenor Jeremy Lunn said that spending billions on the new freeway at the expense of investment in public transport would maintain car dependency for another generation.
“The problems of growing traffic congestion and spiralling petrol prices will not be solved by this new road. Public transport is non-existent or woefully inadequate for most of Melbourne’s growing east.”
Mr Lunn said that the real solution was increased investment in public transport to provide a real alternative to driving.
The PTUA has identified ten projects, which could be implemented in the next two years a fraction of the $2.5 billion cost to construct Eastlink. They are:
- Springvale Road Bus Lanes to be completed by late 2008
- Bus priority at all traffic lights in the eastern suburbs
- Grade separation of Mitcham Road, Rooks Road and Springvale Road level crossings
- Upgrade off-peak daytime, evening and weekend train services on Belgrave, Lilydale, Glen Waverley and Alamein lines to operate at least every ten minutes
- Extension of tram route 48 to Doncaster Shoppingtown
- Extension of tram route 75 to Knox City
- Upgrade of route 733 Box Hill to Clayton (Middleborough Road) and 693 Belgrave to Oakleigh (Ferntree Gully Road) to SmartBus frequencies
- Duplication of single track sections on the Belgrave and Lilydale railway lines
- Construction of Lyndhurst station and the duplication of single track sections between Dandenong and Cranbourne
- Upgrade local bus services to operate at a minimum half hourly frequency between 6am and 10pm
“For a tenth of the cost of Eastlink we could provide a genuine public transport alternative for Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, providing much needed relief for families and businesses. The Brumby Government must get its act together and provide sustainable transport options. The community can’t afford to wait,” Mr Lunn concluded.