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Geelong Branch Media Release


PTUA Calls for New Approach on Inner South West Traffic

The Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association has called for a new approach after the release of the disappointing Inner South West Area Traffic Study, and has called on more residents to express their concerns. "All residents of Highton and Newtown need to ask themselves if they want more car traffic on their roads," spokesperson Tim Petersen said. "Because that's exactly what's been planned for by the traffic study."

"The study has basically predicted and provided for increased car traffic resulting from the 2000 or so new households planned for the estate bounded by the Barwon River, Scenic Road, Barrabool Rd and the Western ring road reservation."

"Despite the City's lip service on the need to reduce car use and dependence and increase the use of walking, cycling and public transport, there are no real attempts to reduce the need for car travel for residents of the estate. There is no zoning evident for local shops and not even a suggestion of a milk bar- meaning that residents would have to drive to the Highton Shopping Centre for even the smallest items. There are no guarantees that there will be footpaths on both sides of streets in the estate," Mr Petersen said.

"There are no plans for bus routes to run through the estate in the short term, and it is not clear how existing bus routes would extend into the estate so that all residents have good access to a local bus stop." Mr Petersen said. "Considering the residents of Queens Park/Buckley Falls have waited almost thirty years for a good bus service, and still only receive two buses per day to and from the city via Belmont, this is cold comfort."

While the study did suggest many positive moves, such as new pedestrian crossings, bicycle lanes and some new bus routes for the general South-west area, any transport other than cars has been treated as a distraction from the main purpose of the study. "The City's terms of reference made it clear that new car traffic was to be catered for. The result is that more traffic is to be directed onto Barrabool Road and Shannon Avenue, as well as east-west roads in Newtown," Mr Petersen said.

The study also revealed that around 80% of school children in the area were driven to school. "Parents driving kids to school are huge generators of extra car trips, while child obesity is a serious and growing problem. The City must explore ways to encourage parents to let their children walk, cycle or catch a bus to school. Better information and programs such as the 'Walking Bus' would help," Mr Petersen said.

"While the suggested bus service over the Shannon Avenue Bridge to Newtown and the City was a good idea, there was no assessment of the extent to which car traffic could be reduced by people taking the bus instead of driving. The study simply decided that it would be technically possible to run a bus through the traffic without slowing down the cars too much, which is why it stressed that the bus stop shouldn't be too close to the Barrabool Road/Shannon Ave intersection," Mr. Petersen said.

"The City needs to show it is serious about reducing car use- nice words in documents are not enough. They can start by not providing for (and therefore encouraging) more car traffic, and committing to improving public transport."

The PTUA has sent a submission regarding the Traffic Study to the City of Greater Geelong.

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 20 February 2002