Geelong Advertiser 2/1/2010
It’s certainly ironic that VicRoads is warning motorists to avoid the Geelong bypass (GA 30/12), which was supposed to solve traffic congestion problems. But no doubt we will be told that the completion of another stage of the road will bring relief.
It wont, of course. The pouring of more and more cars on to the roads south of Geelong will lead to yet more congestion, and knee-jerk calls for yet more expensive road construction. As a result of the new bypass, the Mount Duneed road has just required a major re-build. Already the Great Ocean Road can be bumper-to-bumper from Bellbrae to Lorne on warm summer days. So do we then build a by-pass of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet?
It’s obvious that continually attempting to cater for ever-expanding car use is completely unsustainable. We need to focus on measures that will move people efficiently and effectively. The Surf Coast urgently needs a transport plan which aims to reduce the need for counter-productive road expansion and focuses on increasing the use of sustainable transport modes such as public transport, cycling and walking.
Geelong Times 11/2/2010
I’m surprised and disappointed that in a lengthy feature discussing Geelong’s “parking woes” you only looked at ways to cope with the demand for car parking and didn’t mention the more sensible and responsible alternative, which is to actually reduce the demand for it. This, of course, involves promoting alternatives to driving – public transport, cycling and walking.
As a report by the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of New South Wales puts it, providing ever-increasing car parking is poor policy because it “promotes car use; creates ugly, anti-social spaces; creates barriers to pedestrians and cyclists; increases the extent of paved area; removes green spaces; and reduces the viability of business and the affordability of housing”.*
Experience shows that you will never satisfy the demand for car parking, and the more space taken up by car parking in the city, the less room there is for the things which actually attract people to the city. You also increase congestion on the road system. Gimmicks such as free parking will only increase parking demand, and the revenue lost by the City Council will have to be made up in other ways.
Park and ride is not a viable solution. For example, (the very few) people using the park and ride set-up at Kardinia Park have already driven virtually the whole way into the city and are then allowed to park all day on public open space. And, perversely, they then get a cheaper bus trip than those who are using the bus for the whole of their journey.
The more people who are able to use alternative transport to get to the city (or anywhere else), the less demand there will be for parking space. There will be other benefits too of course. Given that virtually half of household greenhouse gas generation arises from car use, increasing their use of sustainable transport is the most effective way individuals can reduce their carbon footprint.
Geelong Advertiser 3/5/2010
We can sympathise with Mt Duneed residents who are suffering the harmful effects of increased traffic on their community with the opening of the Geelong Bypass (GA 3/5). Unfortunately their vision of a “free-flowing” connection from the Anglesea road to the Surfcoast Highway is an example of hope triumphing over experience.
Every “free flowing” motorway extension has to end somewhere, and where it does, choked roads become a nightmare for local residents and the environment. Knee-jerk calls for yet more expensive road construction are counter-productive. In fact, building more roads encourages more cars to use them, so the problem wont be solved, it will be worsened.
Continually attempting to cater for ever-expanding car use is completely unsustainable. We need to focus on measures that will move people efficiently and effectively. The Surf Coast urgently needs a transport plan which aims to reduce the need for counter-productive road expansion and focuses on increasing the use of sustainable transport modes such as public transport, cycling and walking.
Geelong Advertiser 18/5/2010
Cheryl Hilton (GA 12/5) suggests improving passenger access to local railway stations with a “park and ride” system, in which travellers park their cars at remote locations and take a bus from there to the station.
We’ve got a better solution – follow the examples of the world’s best systems and improve the whole public transport network in Geelong and the Bellarine. That way, people could choose to leave their cars at home altogether.
Buses running every 10 minutes in Geelong, and every half hour on the Bellarine, would ensure a good choice of connections with trains at major stations.
There’s a huge bonus as well. Making public transport more usable will benefit all travellers, not just those with cars, or those wanting to catch trains. It would also mean fewer polluting cold starts and less land locked up for car parking.
Geelong Advertiser 4/6/2010
Does V/Line actually look at its own timetables? The story on train overcrowding (GA 3/6) reminds us of a recent claim by V/Line that the $4.2 billion Regional Rail Link will enable it to run services to Melbourne every 15 minutes at peak times.
In fact, we have a better frequency than that already. Nine trains from Geelong arrive at Southern Cross between 7:05 and 9:05 on weekday mornings, which is an average of a train every 13.3 minutes.
Geelong Advertiser 30/6/2010
Whatever happened to the vision of Armstrong Creek as an innovative, sustainable development? The plans just announced for a railway station near Rossack Drive (GA 26/6) reveal that it has been comprehensively ditched. We are to get a station surrounded by a massive 2,500-space car park – the biggest in Geelong – which is promoted as enhancing the development’s sustainability!
The size of the car park makes it clear that the State Government has no intention of providing the bus services for any significant number of Armstrong Creek residents to get to the station – let alone anywhere else – without driving their car.
It is also impossible to believe that an attractive, walkable shopping centre near the station can be designed around the region’s largest car park.
Geelong residents are clearly being had. Despite the ‘sustainable’ rhetoric, the State Government is aiding and abetting the roll-out of yet another car-dependent suburb. Instead of ensuring that more cars fill Geelong’s roads, the government should be ensuring that plans for Armstrong Creek and its services match the original promises.