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Media Release


Road Plans Slammed

Freeway Agenda an Outrage: Residents

A packed public meeting in Fitzroy has slammed road-building as a response to traffic congestion, and wants their local council to lobby for drastically improved public transport instead.

There was standing room only at the Baptist Church in Nicholson St, as local residents flocked to a public forum on transport issues convened by the Public Transport Users Association.

The meeting was called in response to the threat from the anticipated 28,000 extra cars a day at the city end of the Eastern Freeway, that would result from the construction of the Mitcham-Frankston freeway. Participants were angered by a recent call from the road transport industry to revive plans for an inner-city freeway link.

"Residents of the City of Yarra are being shafted by a powerful road lobby that wants to drown them in traffic," said PTUA Secretary Dr Tony Morton, who spoke at the meeting. "It's the usual salami tactics: build one freeway, then campaign for another freeway to 'solve' the traffic problem caused by the first freeway. And it goes on and on. Meanwhile, the local council here in the City of Yarra mouths a few platitudes but does nothing."

The option of a freeway link between the Eastern and Tullamarine freeways was rejected last year by the State government's Northern Central City Corridor Study. The study found that the majority of cars and trucks at the city end of the Eastern Freeway were headed for the city centre, with only 15 per cent headed due west.

"The umpire examined this outrageous idea for three years and then rejected it," said Dr Morton. "We've always been told that when a public transport proposal is rejected, that's the end of the matter. But somehow the freeway plans never die."

Dr Morton and Fitzroy resident Paul Mees called on the City of Yarra to "get moving" and lead a campaign for changes in transport policy. "In the long term, the only way to solve traffic congestion is to divert funds from road-building toward drastically improved public transport," Dr Morton said. "Otherwise all you get is a clone of Los Angeles. If anyone should be campaigning for better public transport the City of Yarra should."

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 23 August 2004