Motorways: Salami tactics

Traffic from the Eastern Freeway queues to turn into Hoddle Street and head towards the CityIt almost defies reason that, with our train system virtually falling apart and car use per capita in decline, this government is hell-bent on committing public money to a road project with 50¢ of benefit for every $1 of costs (The Age: “Western end of project could win priority“, 3/5)

When the Bolte Bridge was built just over a decade ago it too was supposed to be an ”alternative” to the West Gate Bridge. It hasn’t worked, because as every transport planner knows, every new road attracts its own traffic that cancels out any benefit in easing traffic flow. Why should we expect another new road to work any differently?

Prioritising the western end is just what Yes Minister called ”salami tactics” – do the least contentious bit first, then let pressure build up to ram through the rest. Nothing will help tackle traffic congestion and freight movement until we get serious about boosting public transport in our suburbs.

Tony Morton, president, Public Transport Users Association, Melbourne

— published in The Age, 4/5/2013