Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Community Rally for Sustainable Public Transport

Flinders Street Station
12 noon
Sunday 26 October

Followed by a family picnic in the park.

On Thursday, 25 September 2008 representatives from Community Action, Residential and Environmental Groups from Eastern, Western and Central Melbourne met.

The groups elected to work together to oppose the state government’s plans for an East-West Tunnel and Toll Roads and to advocate for sustainable transport.

The meeting agreed on a joint campaign commencing with a community rally on Sunday, 26 October 2008 at noon at Flinders Street Station followed by a family picnic in the park.

Note the day and time in your diaries, tell your friends, get a group together, bring your placards and watch this space for further information.

More details here - http://www.ycat.org.au/?p=71

Poster available here (pdf).

Rail, road upgrades top councils’ wish list

ELECTRIFIED train lines and road upgrades have topped a transport priorities list from six councils in the West.

The Western Region Councils group, made up of the Maribyrnong, Wyndham, Brimbank, Melton, Moonee Valley and Hobsons Bay City Councils, met with VicRoads and the Department of Transport earlier this month to earmark the transport needs of each municipality.

In a joint submission, the councils emphasised the need for more and better quality public transport.

“It is paramount that new and existing services deliver a broader geographical and timetable coverage that provide an integrated service with better connections, higher frequency and reliability that serves most residents,” the submission read.

The electrification of the Caroline Springs and Tarneit train lines topped Brimbank and Wyndham City Council’s wish list...

Read the rest of this article (including what road requests each individual councils put in) at StarNewsGroup.com.au

Monday, September 29, 2008

Interview with Paul Mees

Always insightful, Paul Mees is interviewed, this time by Yorran Pelekenakis.

Most of the interview is about public transport in Melbourne, as that is Mees's expertise. However, here's an excerpt where he discusses the road tunnel.

YP: The rail tunnel aside, on its own merits what is your opinion of the proposed road tunnel?

PM: The road tunnel is much worse than the rail tunnel. The rail tunnel is only a waste of money, whereas the road tunnel would be incredibly damaging for Melbourne as well as being a waste of money.

YP: The main reasons it’s so damaging being more cars?

PM: It’s not just that. I think part of the problem is, and this is an illustration of inner suburban bias, I don’t think people should be referring to it as a tunnel because in the western suburbs from Footscray right through to Western Sunshine it’s intended to be on the surface or even elevated above the surface.

It’s just going to be bashed through people’s suburbs and houses according to the Eddington report. So it’s quite inaccurate to call it a tunnel because for about half its length, it’s not to be a tunnel at all. Only in the rich part of Melbourne do you get a tunnel and in the working class areas, just bulldoze it straight through people’s houses.

So, the first thing is the direct affect on all those people but then its bad for Melbourne as a whole, and it would be bad even if it was all in a tunnel, because essentially its about entrenching automobile dependence at a time when we ought to be doing the opposite.

YP: What’s your opinion of the current Yarra Campaign Against the Tunnel?

PM: I think they’re doing good work and there are lots of other local campaign groups as well. I think it would be great if we could find some way of linking up the different local groups so that their campaigns can collectively produce a stronger voice.

I think the next step has to be, and not just in Yarra, taking the campaign to the local government elections. Making sure that we have local councils elected that will fight on this issue and not just issue platitudinous statements along the lines of “wouldn’t it be nice if people rode their bikes more?” but that will actually throw there resources and their political clout as councils behind getting the transport agenda changed.

Read the whole interview at The Socialist Party's No Tunnel Blog

When we get some more indication of policies from people running for council in Melbourne, we'll post it up here. We'd encourage each and every resident of Melbourne to contact the candidates and let them know what is important to you. More than that, let them know that unless they come out saying they will actively oppose the building of the tunnel in Holland Park (for Kensington residents primarily, but also throw in Royal Park, and the destruction of houses etc etc), you won't vote for them.

For what it's worth, at the recent meeting he held at the Bowling Club Will Fowles said that his group would oppose the tunnel and the construction of Holland Park, however when it comes down to it, it's a State Government decision and it's out of their hands.

Personally, I don't quite think that's good enough.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

North Western League - 2008 Skate and BMX Series

The BMX final is being held at the Kensington Skate Park at Holland Park on Sunday, Dec 14th.

Check out www.skatepark.ymca.org.au for more detail on the series.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spring day in the park...

If you have any pictures you like to share, email them to savehollandpark@gmail.com and we'll post them up here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tunnel Vision Backed - pg 32 of Herald Sun

Mary Bolling - Public Transport Reporter

A PROPOSAL for an east-west Melbourne rail tunnel should be given top priority for federal government transport funding, according to an influential lobby group.

The Tourism and Transport Forum list calls for major federal investment in five key capital city transport projects, and included a long wish-list for Victoria.

The forum document, released yesterday as the Victorian Government finalises its 30-year transport plan, also calls for an east-west road tunnel, proposed along with the rail tunnel in Sir Rod Eddington's East-West needs Assessment.

Another 12 trains and bringing forward a proposed rail extension to South Morang area also on the wish list.

Forum national transport manager Stewart Prins said the Federal Government had set aside $20 billion for infrastructure spending and public transport should be at the top of the shopping list.

"With rising fuel prices, peak oil (production) and greenhouse gass emissions placing new demands on urban transport networks, it is vital that a significant proportion of this money be spent on transport projects," he said.

"Funding is needed for projects to expand the capacity of Melbourne's public transport network so it can carry more people, especially during the increasing crowded peak hours."

Spokesman for the Federal Department of Infrastructure said that the fund would be operational by January 1 of next year.

The first allocations will be made in 2009-10.

The State Government is to release its Victorian Transport Plan in November.

Premier John Brumby has previously flagged that Victoria should be allocated at least a quarter of the $20 billion federal fund.

You can read this article on Pg 32 of Friday Sept 19th's Herald Sun. Curiously, it isn't available online.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

March against cross-city road link

A GROUP of West Footscray residents have vowed to march against a proposed cross-city roadway as debate on the project intensifies.

The No Freeway 4 West Footscray group - headed by local mothers Clare O’Sullivan, Lucy Liga and Anne Parsons - is planning to lead a protest march in October.

Ms O’Sullivan said residents had been kept in the dark about the planned roadway and its potential route through West Footscray.

She said the State Government was deliberately stifling debate over the “ugly, noisy and dirty” proposal, contained in the high-level Eddington transport report.

The report’s recommendations are being considered by the Government, and Ms O’Sullivan said residents should be consulted before decisions were made.

A community meeting last week attracted more than 200 people.

But Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the Government had been consulting widely.

She said more than 2300 public submissions were being considered and eight regional and suburban local forums were held last month.

But those forums were by invitation only.

Ms Kosky also last week accused Western Metropolitan state Greens MP Colleen Hartland of opposing new public transport for the West, after Ms Hartland spoke against the roadway proposal.

“If Colleen had her way the western suburbs would not see any new public transport or roads projects to increase capacity and access,” Ms Kosky said.

Ms Hartland has a history of advocacy for public transport in the West and has been a vocal proponent of train extensions to Bacchus Marsh, Wyndham Vale and Tarneit.

“What I utterly oppose are the new road tunnels, elevated roads and road widenings that will rip through the suburbs of the inner west,” Ms Hartland said.

“Ms Kosky is the Public Transport Minister. Hasn’t she got something better to do than attack people who campaign for better public transport?”

Read the original article from the Maribyrnong Leader.

We understand the final details of October's event are being finalised. We'll let you know as soon as there's more information.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Will Fowles - Labor Candidate for Lord Mayor

We did a post a while back about Labor's candidate for the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Will Fowles.

Well, he's coming to Kensington. We received a letter from him, stating he wants to make Melbourne better, and that he has Jennifer Kanis, Kensington/Flemington resident of over 10 years, on his team.

He wants to hear what's important to us. We'd encourage you to get along and tell him, and which way you'll vote.

Tuesday 23rd September
Flemington-Kensington Lawn Bowls Club
Cnr Racecourse and Smithfield Roads, Kensington

Note : Although initial documentation from Will Fowles regarding his stab at going for Lord Mayor of Melbourne was on official ALP letter stock, it appears that he will not be standing as an ALP endorsed candidate. At the meeting on Tuesday, he and Jennifer made the point of stating on more than one occasion, that they were both members of the ALP, however they were not ALP supported candidates.

Strategy to ease the squeeze - theage.com.au

Clay Lucas, Jason Dowling and Ben Schneiders

Waiting: The city seen from South Kensington station yesterday.

Waiting: The city seen from South Kensington station yesterday. Photo: Joe Armao

UP TO 20 new six-carriage trains will be ordered to ease overcrowding on Melbourne's rail system.

The $300-million-plus order will be a key plank of the State Government's coming transport statement.

As part of the statement, due by November, the Government is also set to order at least 60 new trams to replace the old Z-class fleet that was commissioned in 1975. Secrecy surrounds the transport statement, which the Government has been working on for several months, as commuter anger over the struggling system becomes a political liability.

But The Age believes the Victorian Transport Plan — the Government's fourth "long-term" transport statement since 2002 — is also set to:

  • Implement public-private partnerships across the train network in which developers build new railway stations in return for the right to build above the stations.
  • Consider abandoning the contentious $7 billion Footscray-to-Caulfield rail route proposed by infrastructure adviser Sir Rod Eddington, and instead make better use of an under-used 80-year-old train tunnel running beneath Footscray's Bunbury Street.
  • Announce a construction timetable for the $500 million Frankston bypass, now the subject of an environmental study.
  • Bring forward the Government's $660 million orbital SmartBus program, to be completed in 2010, an election year, rather than the planned 2012.
  • Dramatically upgrade bus services to Doncaster on the Eastern Freeway.

The Government also is moving towards backing the first stage of Sir Rod's proposed $9 billion road tunnel, which would go from Melbourne's inner west to CityLink.

This road option would result in hundreds of homes in either Yarraville or Sunshine being compulsorily acquired.

But with many tollway companies spooked by gloomy financial conditions, it is unclear who would pay for the road project unless the Federal Government steps in...

Read the entire article at TheAge.com.au

My bold.

I wasn't aware of the Bunbury Street tunnel. From the looks of it, it means trains don't have to go through Footscray station, crosses the Maribyrnong River on its own bridge, and then links back up with the train line.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Email from Protectors of Public Lands Victoria inc.

Dear Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. members and friends
On Friday 12 September 2008 the Age "News In Brief" Page 9 had a segment headed "Transport - Tunnel Plan Slammed" which reported:

"One of the top advisers deciding which Australian transport projects get billions of dollars in public funding says Sir Rod Eddington's proposed $9 billion east-west road tunnel should not be built.
Curtin University Professor Peter Newman is one of 12 advisers on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's $20 billion 'nation building' fund, Infrastructure Australia. Sir Rod's $9 billion road plan, recommended to the Brumby Government in March, would not provide enough economic benefit to be justified, he says. "

Note that Professor Peter Newman is the Director of the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University. He is best known in Perth for his work in reviving and extending Perth’s rail system, which is now seen as a model for modern cities. Do a Google search and read about his distinguished career.

As circulated earlier, Sir Rod said that he would issue a discussion paper to stimulate ideas. Infrastructure Australia's immediate tasks were said to be to conduct an audit of the nation's transport, energy, communications and water infrastructure, produce a priority list and develop guidelines for public private partnerships.

The link to the relevant section of Infrastructure Australia's website is:
Some see this as a work creation program equivalent to the Commonwealth "suso" (sustenance) employment programs involved in building infrastructure projects in the Depression.

PPL VIC intends to make a submission calling on the Federal Government not to fund road tunnels but to subsidise rail for commuters and freight.

We urge groups to make submissions also.

Julianne Bell
Protectors of Public Lands
We would encourage everyone to email yoursay@dot.vic.gov.au and Linsday Tanner with your thoughts.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tanberg - the master

A cartoon printed in The Age on 11/11/04

Commentary on the Premier's Transport Summit

Kevin Chamberlin was there, representing the Protectors of Public Lands Victoria inc. He gives his thoughts on the summit.

Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.


The Protectors of Public Land Victoria Inc. was selected by the State Government to attend the Victorian Transport Summit held on Friday 5 September at Telstra Dome. I attended as their representative.

The speakers at the Summit were:

Premier of Victoria – John Brumby
Minister for Public Transport – Lynne Kosky
Minister for Roads and Ports – Tim Pallas
Minister for Environment and Climate Change – Gavin Jennings
Minister for Major Projects – Theo Theophanous
Minister for Regional and Rural Development – Jacinta Allan
Minister for Planning – Justin Madden
Sir Rod Eddington – Chair “East West Link”

Each of the above made a presentation on the transport needs of Victoria from their respective portfolio obligations. The Summit was also attended by groups from the environment/community, union/trucking lobby, consultants with expertise in this area, RACV/road lobby, State Government administration and elected officials from Local Government. The City of Melbourne was not in attendance.

It became very clear following the presentations by the above that transport issues are very high on the Government agenda and the situation is serious. The State Government clearly sees the creation of major projects to overcome these problems as employment/economic stimulators for the state as much as they see them as solutions to the transport problems. It was emphasized that the cost of Channel Deepening and the M3 had played an important part in the economic figures for Victoria. Theo Theophanous referred to “pipelines of work” and “keepings the skills and equipment in Victoria”. John Brumby referred to “pipelines of projects” twice and stated “we will definitely get these”.

There was a “breakout discussion session” where the participants were divided into 5 groups. The themes were-

  • Creating a more livable, fairer and sustainable Victoria
  • Meeting the challenge of Public Transport and patronage growth
  • Meeting the challenge of road congestion and the increasing freight task
  • Meeting infrastructure delivery challenges
  • Connecting Regional Victoria

I was in the first grouping along with a cross-section of the participants including Ministers Jennings and Madden and their staff. I made the point, and had some support, that the Government needs to send a very clear message to the community that it is serious about fixing the transport situation in Victoria and a commuter/freight rail solution should be one of the highest priorities, and not new road/tunnel construction. It became clear during discussions in the group and privately, that many of the consultants with expertise in this area consider the situation in inner Melbourne to be so serious that a road/tunnel solution is not feasible. They believe that the social, environmental and economic impact of a road/tunnel solution is not sustainable and cannot be justified.

Other issues of interest were -

  • Victoria has 53,000 kilometres of road and 3000 bridges.
  • Containers will become much bigger.
  • Freight will grow from 15 – 20% of total road traffic.
  • Victoria’s population is currently 5.1 million and will grow to 7.6 million in 2036 (this is a government figure and is generally acknowledged to be conservative/inaccurate)
  • Melbourne’s population will grow from 3.74 million today to 5.41 million in 2036.
  • Regional Victoria will grow from 1.38 million today to 1.85 million in 2036.
  • The pressure from population growth will be in the north-west and west of Melbourne and in the Cities of Casey and Cardinia.
  • Growth will be slow in the eastern suburbs.
  • There will be significant pressure for growth in the inner city.
  • Congestion is estimated to cost between $2.6 billion and $3 billion annually.
  • The State Government has 7 funding options for major projects including tolls, PPP’s and Federal funding.
  • 3% of the journeys in Bendigo are by public transport.
  • 24 - Hour freight delivery is seen as an option by the Government.
  • 80% of all freight coming out of the Melbourne Port is destined for locations within 50 kilometres.
  • Doing nothing about Melbourne’s transport issues is not an option (Eddington and Brumby said this.)
  • The Government claims to have spent a total $73 million on bicycle paths.
  • The transport system caters for 200 million journeys a year while 10 years ago it was 100 million.
  • Freight volumes double every 10 years.
  • The Federal Government has a responsibility to contribute to the solutions and is seen as a definite source of funding.
  • Urban/strategic and transport planning need to be seen as one at a State level.

In his final address John Brumby guaranteed “the pipeline of projects” and said the Government was looking at a 10-year time frame and believed it could be managed and financed. He wants a strategy based on the whole State with short, medium and long-term objectives. He also stated he wants an improvement in all modes of transport with a “big expenditure” on public transport. He is of the view that we need to make better use of the existing infrastructure and it is essential to get the freight transport system right.

The lobby groups and others with significant interests in this area have the ear of Government and are very influential “behind the scenes”. It is interesting to note the link between the truck lobby and the Transport Workers Union and their influence in the Labor Party. It is now 8 years since the “Make Melbourne Marginal” campaign was started and has resulted in many community and other groups having success with the State Government on issues that are important to them. The view held by many in the Melbourne State and Federal Seats of Parliament was that they would have had very little influence while the Labor Party considered these seats as safe.


Kevin Chamberlin
Past President, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. and, currently, a Committee member

8 September 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

'Your Say' - document from Premier's Transport Summmit

Click here for a copy (pdf) of the document summarising the responses on the Eddington Report, that was distributed at last Friday's Transport Summit, held by the Premier.

RACV to Brumby: City fringe roads need $3.2bn

Clay Lucas

THE RACV has demanded that the Brumby Government double the money it pours into road building in outer Melbourne.

Calling for $3.2 billion to be pumped into 85 new road projects over the next five years, the RACV said there was a growing gap between transport options for people who lived in inner and outer Melbourne.

"The transport disparity between outer and inner Melbourne continues to get wider," public policy manager Brian Negus said.

Many of outer Melbourne's main roads were built for light rural traffic, but are now handling tens of thousands of vehicles a day, the RACV said in its report, Outer Melbourne Connect.

"Country roads are now handling city levels of traffic," Mr Negus said yesterday.

The report criticises governments for failing to provide adequate public transport to outer Melbourne. "(The) transport system has failed to keep pace with rapid population growth," the report says.

"Many of Melbourne's newly developing suburbs are public transport black holes with little prospect of significant improvements in the near future."

On top of $3 billion in road projects, the RACV called for:

■ Underpasses or overpasses to be built at five level crossings in Melbourne each year.

■ A "missing link" tollway from Greensborough to Ringwood, connecting EastLink to the Metropolitan Ring Road.

■ Rod Eddington's proposed $9 billion east-west road tunnel.

Some of the new roads should be paid for using a public-private partnership model known as "shadow tolling", the RACV said. Private firms would build a road and bill the Government over 20 to 30 years based on usage.

The RACV also called for a new railway line to Mernda, near Whittlesea, electrification and duplication of the line to Sunshine and new stations at Melton and Point Cook...


But Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said the RACV plan would deplete resources sorely needed for more urgent public transport projects. "Exactly what Melbourne doesn't need right now is more roads," he said.

To suggest it did not come down to a choice between roads and public transport was laughable, Mr Bowen said.

"As a city we need to make a choice: do we keep building roads like we have been doing for the last 50 years — which has just resulted in worsening traffic congestion and more reliance on petrol — or do we invest heavily in transport that provides real solutions?" he said.

The Metropolitan Transport Forum's 2005 study of Melbourne, Most Liveable and Best Connected?, found three times as much was spent on new roads in Victoria as on public transport infrastructure. In this year's state budget, $729 million was committed to roads and $730 million to public transport.

But the Federal Government will spend large amounts on road projects in Victoria — including widening the Western Ring Road — while spending nothing on public transport.

Read the whole article at TheAge.com.au

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

West is best for tunnel - news.com.au

John Ferguson

September 09, 2008 12:00am

A GIANT cross-city road and tunnel network linking west and east Melbourne would be built in stages, with the western suburbs to benefit first under plans being considered by the Government.

The Brumby Government is investigating a strategy to delay the eastern end of the 18km cross-city project.

The Herald Sun believes that senior members of the Government are seriously concerned about a voter backlash over the Eastern Freeway end of the project, which is planned to join CityLink at Parkville.

This aspect of the project is highly controversial because it has enraged politically active voters in key inner-city seats.

It would require the drilling of a massive tunnel under Melbourne General Cemetery.

Sources familiar with the Government's plans said serious thought was being given to backing the west over eastern Melbourne.

Labor was eager to appease its core constituency in the western suburbs, which is groaning under the weight of unprecedented traffic growth, particularly heavy trucks.

The Government has entered the decision-making phase of the Victorian Transport Plan, which will decide whether to back big slabs of the so-called Eddington report into east-west congestion.

The estimated cost of stage one of the west-east road/tunnel project was $2 billion, with two options for the western end of the 18km road.

Both would start on the Western Ring Rd and skirt the southern end of Flemington racecourse.

One would follow a rail line, the other the West Gate Freeway, before hitting the port area.

There is heavy speculation that the Government will not only back a west-east road link, but also a rail tunnel linking Footscray to Caulfield.

The rail tunnel is expected to include a rail freight component, which could potentially open up Hastings as an alternative cargo port.

Read the original article at News.com.au

West is best hey? Voter backlash over Eastern Freeway end hey? Hmm... doesn't the Herald Sun visit the inner west? There will be (already is) a HUGE backlash in the West... Count the green triangles (and other home-made signs).

Report on protests at the Premier's Transport Summit - Sept 5th

An email from Royal Park Protection Group

Dear Campaigners for Sustainable Public Transport No Road Tunnels - Report On No Road Tunnels Protest At Premier Brumby’s Transport Summit

Thanks to Protestors
Firstly, many thanks to all - about 50 people - who attended the community protest in the Plaza at the John Batman’s Datum (i.e. the red flagpole marking Batman’s Hill) at the Telstra Dome on Friday last 5 September 2008. It was at the difficult time of 1: 15 am for an 11:30 am start but was determined by the Premier’s Transport Summit which was scheduled to start at 12 noon.

Success of Community Protest
A measure of the success of the protest was that it was covered by four TV stations Channels 2, 7, 9 and 10. Channel 3 may be doing a documentary on the opposition to road tunnels. The Herald Sun mentioned our protest but not the Age news. (There has been a letter published today see below.) We expect that it may feature in local papers in the coming week including The Melbourne Times, The Moonee Valley and Melbourne Leader papers. (See the www.savehollandpark.org.au website for TV footage and photos by Baudman. See also www.ycat.org.au, YCAT website (Yarra Campaign Against the Tunnel)

Also an indication that we had been noticed - Premier Brumby refused to face the protest and went into the Transport Summit by a side door via the car park. We were there to present him, with the resolution passed at the rally. See attached and below. See also our media release of 4 September 2008.

Background - Failure of Government to Consult
Here is some background. As you may know the Brumby government staged 8 transport forums organised by the Department of Transport, ostensibly to consult with the public on Victoria’s Transport Plan. Members of Parliament with inner metropolitan seats. Members of Parliament with inner Melbourne seats - namely Bronwyn Pike (Melbourne), Richard Wynne (Richmond) and Carlo Carli (Brunswick) belatedly and at extremely short notice held their own forums.

These forums were intended to provide community feedback for the Premier’s Transport Summit, which was originally scheduled for mid September. Although the MP’s declared that their forums were for local residents they were by invitation only and, significantly many community organisations, individuals and local residents were refused invitations and admission.

See Letter in the Age 8 September 2008: “Talking to all the ‘right’ people

PREMIER John Brumby claims that we have been consulted over Sir Rod Eddington’s grand transport plan for Melbourne (Insight, 6/9). In the past month, eight transport forums - Clayton’s consultations - were held in country Victoria and outer suburbs, none in central Melbourne.

Then some Government MPs did their own thing and held forums. Carefully selected individuals and community groups were invited, but many were refused admission. ALP members did score invitations.

Forum facilitators ensured that controversial topics were not raised - such as Eddington’s $9 billion road tunnels through the inner city and elevated freeways through the western suburbs.

On Friday, the Premier evaded protesters waiting to present him with demands for sustainable public transport, slipping into his transport summit through the Telstra Dome car park. Not only is the Premier not properly consulting, but he also isn’t listening to the wider public on Melbourne’s transport fiascos.

Julianne Bell, convener, Royal Park Protection Group, Hawthorn

Organisers of Community Protest Opposing Road Tunnels
The Royal Park Protection Group (RPPG) and Yarra Campaign Against Tunnels (YCAT), in consultation with resident and environmental groups in the East and West of Melbourne facilitated the Community Protest for a wide range of groups and concerned individuals at the Premier’s Transport Summit. A special thanks to Freda Watkin of YCAT for her work on arranging the protest.

After recognising the Wurundgeri as traditional owners of the land, I - acting as MC in Rod Quantock’s absence - called on the speakers. Colleen Hartland, Greens Upper House Member of Parliament for the Western Metropolitan Province, spoke on the threat to the western suburbs of Eddington’s option for an elevated roadway through the western suburbs. It appears that 800 residences in its path may well be compulsorily acquired. Residents are in a state of uncertainty given that no proper plans have been released. She said that a number of groups in addition to the Greens have been formed including “No Freeway 4 Footscray”.

Daniel Bowen, President of the Public Transport Users Association (PUT) spoke on the extraordinary demands on public transport and the need for funding. He also covered the news of the breaking scandal of the 8 Hitachi railway trains carriages, which had been been sold off cheap to a collector, but bought back for service and again decommissioned when it was found that they were rusted throughout.

John Cox spoke for YCAT on the threat to Yarra municipality of Eddington’s road tunnels and I spoke for the Royal Park Protection Group on the certain destruction of Royal Park if road tunnel construction proceeds. On an Open Mike session we had comments from organizations including the Carlton Residents Association; the Kensington Association; the Mt Alexander Road Campaign Group; and the West Sunshine Residents’ Group. Also attending were representatives from No Freeway 4 West Footscray group and Greens campaigning for No Freeway through Nillumbik.

Resolution to Premier
The meeting agreed unanimously to pass the draft resolution to the Premier. See attached and below. Protestors walked down the concourse with banners - and the media in attendance - and reassembled at Gate 9 where the Premier was expected to arrive at 12:30 pm. His staff insisted that the resolution be given to them to be passed onto the Premier. He evaded both the protest group and the media by entering the Transport Forum via the carpark. RPPG plans to distribute the resolution to members of Parliament.

That this protest meeting, comprising community representatives from across Melbourne and facilitated by the Royal Park Protection Group Inc. (RPPG) and the Yarra Campaign against the tunnel (YCAT), resolve to request the Transport Summit and the State Government NOT to endorse Sir Rod Eddington’s proposals for road tunnels.

We demand that the nominal $9 billion allocated for the East West Link be invested instead in infrastructure for improved and expanded public transport and rail freight in Victoria. We ask that this include rapid transit rail to Doncaster along the Eastern Freeway.

Report from Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. on Transport Summit
A representative of PPL VIC (a coalition of 80 or so Victoria wide environment, heritage and community groups) and attended the Transport Summit. We will circulate any reports we receive.

Signed: Julianne Bell, Convenor Royal Park Protection Group Inc.
jbell5ATbigpond.com Phone 0408 022 408

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Director of Public Transport on 30-year plan - news.com.au

AS the State Government completes final consultation on the new state transport plan, one man is working around the clock on it.

But Victoria's new Director of Public Transport can't talk about what's actually in the 30-year plan.

Less than a month in the job, Hector McKenzie is coping with exponential patronage growth, and a system that's struggling to keep up.

But the senior transport engineer is not just putting it down to soaring fuel costs.

City jobs and population growth have also made an impact, but he adds: "There's a shift in the way people think about their impact on the world. They now go, 'I should do something, I should make a contribution'."

But Mr McKenzie doesn't believe cars should equal guilt for congested Melbourne.

He usually drives his company Holden Adventura to work, but is more likely to take the tram in the evening, and the train for weekends away.

"I love public transport, but I don't hate cars," he said.

But the shift is clearly occurring, and peak patronage growth last year saw plenty of frustrated commuters left on the platform by packed services.

Mr McKenzie said the key issue for commuters wasn't fitting them in, but frequent and reliable services.

He admits Melbourne's transport system has some catching up to do with the sprawling suburbs.

"You'd like to get the services in (to new developments) as soon as possible. It doesn't always happen," he said.

"The aim is to get everyone within a reasonable walking distance of public transport."

Read the original article at News.com.au

Hmm... hard to get a handle on this guy. He's worked within Melbourne's system for a few years, but perhaps some good overseas experience would be worthwhile for looking at real solutions? His last statement about having public transport within reasonable walking distance is great, but then, if he's the only one in his Holden Adventra (is it the V8, or the rarer V6?) when he drives to work... hmm...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Plan for free evening rail trips

Clay Lucas
John Brumby at the transport summit.

John Brumby at the transport summit. Photo: Craig Abraham

MELBOURNE'S rail commuters would get free evening travel under a plan by Premier John Brumby to reduce severe overcrowding in the afternoon rush.

Mr Brumby said free travel after 8pm could help spread out commuters.

He floated the idea as new Government projections showed public transport patronage would grow from 480 million trips a year in 2009 to more than half a billion a year by 2010.

Mr Brumby was speaking at the Victorian Transport Summit, the final stage of a consultation process for its transport plan due in November.

He said the morning "early bird" scheme, which allows free travel before 7am on Melbourne's trains, had been a "spectacular success".

"One of the issues we will examine is if there is the case to do the same thing in the evening," he said. "To shift some of that peak (on trains) between 5pm and 8pm."

Mr Brumby, who drove to the conference at Telstra Dome, said anything that helped reduce train overcrowding was a positive step.

Metlink, the transport operators' marketing body, said the "late bird" idea still had a long way to go.

"We've had some discussions that you wouldn't be surprised about," chief executive Bernie Carolan said. "When myki (the travel smartcard) is available, it ought to be feasible."

But the Public Transport Users Association described the idea as a gimmick, and demanded the Government increase train regularity.

"People won't change their travel time if they know they'll have to wait half an hour between trains," it said.

Mr Brumby hinted at the massive funding boost that would be needed to pay for the projects included in November's transport plan. He said: "(The projects) will be projects that are bigger than EastLink, bigger than channel deepening."

EastLink cost $3.8 billion and channel deepening upwards of $1 billion.

Possible projects under consideration are Rod Eddington's proposed $20 billion road and rail tunnel proposals, both of which run from Footscray to the eastern suburbs, and a possible toll road between the Greensborough bypass and EastLink.

Any funded projects would "need to go through final feasibility studies and the necessary environmental and planning processes" before they went ahead, Mr Brumby said. "Many of these projects will take many years to deliver."

Public-private partnerships, State and Federal Government spending and tolls would be considered to pay for the projects.

Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Brian Boyd said: "We need an immediate multibillion-dollar injection into building … transport infrastructure."

Read the original article at TheAge.com.au

TV News Footage - Transport summit and train woes

Friday, September 5, 2008

Brumby promises big spending on transport

The Victorian government is promising massive investments in infrastructure to address transport problems.

The government is holding a summit to discuss road, rail and public transport networks, including fixing chronic overcrowding on public transport and whether a proposed East-West tunnel is needed in Melbourne.

It will feed into the governments new transport plan being released later this year.

The Premier John Brumby says they are long term challenges that will need big investment.

"These will be projects which are bigger than Eastlink, are bigger than channel deepening, these are big projects," he said.

Earlier today, anti-road tunnel protesters gathered outside the transport forum to voice their anger over plans for the East West tunnel recommended in the Rod Eddington report.

The Royal Park Protection Group and the Yarra Campaign Against Tunnels say the proposed link is a truck bypass route in disguise and will be a blight on local communities.

"In the process of tunnel construction over five to twelve years, inner city suburban streets will be destroyed; Royal Park and Holland Park in Kensington will be transformed into giant quarries," tunnel opponent Rod Quantock said.

"It's extraordinary that the Premier should be favouring building road tunnels at a time when the public is screaming for improved and expanded public transport."

Read the original article at abc.net.au/news

Plan 'may ease' Melbourne's train crush - theage.com.au

Melbourne's long-suffering train commuters could be given free late evening travel under plans to ease the squeeze on the rail network.

Victorian Premier John Brumby flagged the travel deal on Friday, saying it would capitalise on the success of the earlybird scheme, which provides free travel for passengers before 7am.

It came as more than 100 stakeholders met for the Victorian Transport Summit to give their final input into the government's transport plan, due later this year.

Mr Brumby said free travel for passengers travelling after 8pm would help spread out the commuter burden, with public transport patronage forecast to top half a billion people by 2010.

It would be modelled on the early bird scheme which was a "spectacular success", saving families up to $1,000 a year, he said.

"Is there a case for doing the same thing for, say, a post-8pm fare and shifting some of that peak which is presently there between 5pm and 8pm?

"These are all issues that we're looking at."

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the earlybird scheme was being replicated interstate and overseas.

A "late bird" version would be an interim measure as the government continues to thrash out a transport blueprint to alleviate road and rail congestion crippling Melbourne.

Transport expert Sir Rod Eddington has proposed an $18 million infrastructure splash, including an east-west road tunnel and a rail tunnel linking the western and south-eastern suburbs.

Mr Brumby told the summit all funding options were on the table as the government sought to meet the challenges of unprecedented population growth, climate change and rising petrol prices.

He said the plan would set the framework for the biggest transport investment in the state's history.

But opponents of the road tunnel are angry they were excluded from the talk fest.

They believe digging through Melbourne's inner suburbs is a "dinosaur" solution for tackling Melbourne's transport crisis in an age of climate change and will be disastrous for residents.

"Sustainable public transport, not road tunnels - that's our war cry," Royal Park Protection Group convener Julianne Bell said.

Mr Brumby denied community and residents groups had been locked out of the summit.

He said the government had received more than 2,000 public submissions and forums had been held across the state.

"Honestly, I can't think of any process over the last few years that our government has embarked upon where there has been more opportunity for people to put a point of view."

Read the original article at TheAge.com.au

The tribe has spoken


Government warned of train crisis five years ago - news.com.au

by Ashley Gardiner, John Ferguson

PLANS to head off the public transport crisis were ignored five years ago, despite a warning of the looming crush.

The shelved 2003 Melbourne Train Plan forecast that the system would carry 200 million passengers by 2006-07.

The overcrowded network didn't actually reach that figure until this year, but the warnings were clear.

"There is limited capacity in the existing network to absorb growing demand," the plan warned.

It recommended several new lines, extending existing lines and upgrading signals -- none of which has come to pass.

"The Government can't claim it wasn't warned," Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said.

"It's a crying shame that the Train Plan document has languished for all these years without being funded and implemented."

Premier John Brumby will host a summit today ahead of the release of the Victorian Transport Plan later this year.

It will be the third major transport blueprint to be issued by the State Government in four years.

Mr Brumby described today's transport summit as the last chance for input into the Eddington report, whose key recommendations were an east-west road tunnel and a passenger rail tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield.

"We're looking at all of the options," he said.

The 2003 Melbourne Train plan recommended an extensive list of train projects to cope with the looming patronage surge, including:

NEW lines to Mernda, Epping North and the airport.

EXTENDING electric rail services to Cranbourne East, Baxter, Sunbury, Melton and Werribee West.

MODERNISED signals for the City Loop and the Hurstbridge line.

EXTRA tracks from Springvale to Caulfield, Footscray to Sunshine, Cheltenham to Moorabbin and Cranbourne to Dandenong.

The 2003 Melbourne Train Plan was never released by the State Government.

Another document, the Metropolitan Transport Plan, was released in 2004.

In 2006, the Government came up with another plan -- Meeting Our Transport Challenges.

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the Government was unable to do anything except make plans.

"They have had their chance and they haven't delivered," Mr Mulder said.

A spokesman for Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the 2003 Train Plan did not reflect the current demands on the rail system.

"Some of the content has already been completed, such as park-and-ride upgrades, Southern Cross Station and delivering extra services on many lines," spokesman Stephen Moynihan said.

"The plan was based on much lower annual growth figures of around 4 per cent a year. In the last three years train patronage grew by 39 per cent."

Mr Moynihan said a number of line upgrades were under way or had been funded.

"These will add extra track capacity to run more peak hour services," he said.

Read the original article at News.com.au

City of 8 million 'unliveable' - theage.com.au

by Cameron Houston and Royce Millar
Will Melbourne still be marvellous when it's twice as big?

Will Melbourne still be marvellous when it's twice as big? Photo: Craig Abraham

MELBOURNE'S population could explode to almost 8 million by 2056, placing massive strain on the city's public transport, water supplies and rapidly expanding urban boundary.

While the nation's population is set to hit 35.5 million by 2056, Melbourne is expected to grow to between 6.1 million and 7.9 million, according to new projections by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Melbourne's population could exceed Sydney's by 2039, according to the bureau's highest projection. The bureau made three projections based on different rates of migration, life expectancy and fertility.

Planning experts warn that Melbourne's much-vaunted liveability could be destroyed if the unexpected growth projections prove correct, and have urged the State Government to radically overhaul its infrastructure policy and investment.

"These projections are unprecedented. None of the state governments around the country have assumed figures anything like this," said Bob Birrell, director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University.

He said 1 million more houses would be needed over the next 30 years, as the State Government battles to contain urban sprawl and the housing affordability crisis.

"The Government is going to have to rethink its planning across the entire spectrum. It's a massive task that just got bigger," Dr Birrell said...

Read the whole article at TheAge.com.au

Overcrowding, but trains taken out of system

Clay Lucas

THE city's oldest running trains - some of which were bought back from a rural rail collector last year to relieve Melbourne's chronic commuter overcrowding - have been pulled out of service because they are riddled with rust.

The Government's silver Hitachi trains were withdrawn from the network on Sunday, after fears that serious corrosion in their floors was a potential danger to passengers.

Connex has been told to stop running the trains, which first hit the network in 1972, because of rusting around the doors and on the floors, which are part-plywood.

Some of the Government's Hitachi trains - disliked by many commuters because they lack air-conditioning - were bought back last year from rural train collector John Horne. Mr Horne bought them from the Government in 2002 for $2600 per carriage.

The Government last year bought three carriages back from him at a cost of $60,000.

Public Transport Safety Victoria director Alan Osborne confirmed yesterday that concerns over corrosion in the Hitachi trains meant they would not run until Connex satisfied him the problems had been fixed...

Read the rest of the article at TheAge.com.au

The also have a poll if you'd like to vote. Do you think Melbourne needs more trains?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Melburnians ignore trams, trains and buses - news.com.au

Mary Bolling

PUBLIC transport crowds may be swelling, but nearly a third of Melburnians say they never get on board.

A Metlink survey has found that 30 per cent of Melburnians never use public transport, and large numbers say they don't know how, or can't access it.

New passengers flocked to public transport at a rate of an extra 100,000 trips a day last year, but Metlink chief Bernie Carolan said the system was leaving others behind.

"We've got really strong patronage growth, but against that, there's still a decent percentage of the community who have literally never used public transport, or not for some years," Mr Carolan said.

"We know, in outer suburbs in particular, frequency and density of public transport services is not the same as in the inner suburbs."

But when neglected areas do get new connections, the shift is immediate -- Metlink figures show two of the top 10 most popular bus routes in Melbourne last year were new.

Route 901 from Ringwood to Frankston, introduced in March, averaged 5915 trips a week, and Route 900, introduced from Caulfield to Stud Park in October 2006, averaged 3616 trips a week.

Overall, last year bus patronage went up 7.8 per cent, while across all modes the figure was 7.7 per cent.

"If we introduce high quality services, people then have more confidence in the system, and the uptake is obviously there," Mr Carolan said.

"If we're trying to induce people to use public transport instead of their car . . . it's got to be frequent enough to attract them."

But Mr Carolan said for many Melburnians, leaving the car in favour of public transport needed a leap of faith.

"People get habitual -- they haven't used public transport for some years, and then they get nervous about using it."

He said that in spite of soaring patronage pushing some services to capacity, there was still plenty of scope for getting more Melburnians on to public transport.

"There are plenty of options for using services outside of peak, and in counter-peak directions," he said.

"We'd encourage people to use public transport, not just for daily work commute but for a whole range of things."

Read the original article at News.com.au

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mums oppose freeway plan

By Belinda Nolan

Freeway fears … Three West Footscray mothers are unhappy about the new proposals for traffic tunnels and elevated freeways and the negative effect it might have on their area, from left, Ava, four, and mum Claire O’Sullivan, Anne Parsons and Lucy Liga with son Hamish.

A GROUP of Footscray mums is pressuring the State Government for better transport options, in protest against Eddington’s proposed road tunnel.

Claire O’Sullivan, Anne Parsons and Lucy Liga fear the elevated freeway recommended in the Eddington report would devalue their homes and lead to increased noise and pollution, if the government decides to adopt it.

The residents have started a new lobby group, No Freeway for West Footscray, to make their voices heard ahead of the release of the Premier’s transport plan later this year.

The group will hold a public meeting on 8 September to inform residents about the proposal and are inviting local MPs to attend.

The meeting will feature a talk from local real estate agents on how house prices would be affected if the tunnel was to go ahead.

“We believe there are better ways of spending public money,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

“We think that we deserve better in West Footscray and we believe there are better options for all of Melbourne.

“This money should be spent on improving public transport, especially to the outer suburbs.

“We need a plan for the future, not a quick fix,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

She said the group planned to drop 3000 leaflets in Footscray to let residents know what was proposed.

“A lot of residents do not know what’s going on,” she said.

The meeting will be held at Footscray YMCA at 7.30pm.

Read the original article at StarNewsGroup.com.au

So that's Monday Sept 8th, at 7:30pm at the Footscray YMCA.

Claims east-west tunnel will be of little value to Geelong - geelongadvertiser.com.au

Jeff Whalley

A MERE 1100 Geelong people a day would use a $8 billion road tunnel under Melbourne leading to the city's east.

Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber yesterday said Bureau of Statistics Census data showed less than 2 per cent of Geelong commuters would use the proposed road tunnel linking Melbourne's western and eastern suburbs.

The tunnel is one suggestion by transport expert Sir Rod Eddington in his east-west transport study aimed at solving Melbourne's traffic gridlock.

The tunnel has been slated as one solution to allow easier movement for commuters and freight into Melbourne.

Geelong MP Ian Trezise this week told the Geelong Advertiser the tunnel should include an exit for Geelong commuters wanting to access Melbourne's CBD.

Mr Barber criticised the State Government and Mr Trezise yesterday.

He said cash should instead be spent improving public transport within Geelong.

"I can't understand why a Geelong MP wants to spend $8 billion on a road tunnel from Kensington to Collingwood, used by less than 2 per cent of local commuters at best," Mr Barber said.

"Most workers, and shoppers for that matter, stay in Geelong. Local public transport in Geelong is appalling and with petrol prices, people are desperate for an alternative. We could have a dream public transport system, with trains, fast buses and even a tram line, for just one of these billions they are talking about.

"For commuters from Geelong to Melbourne, I would have thought more and faster trains was the priority. It's the only way to clear congestion off the West Gate Bridge, permanently."

Mr Barber said the data showed three-quarters of the Geelong region's 65,000 workers worked locally with about 3000 driving to Melbourne's western suburbs.

He said more than 2000 people drove to the Melbourne central business district or southern suburbs.

The Greens MP said only 1100 drove across Melbourne's north to the eastern suburbs, while at least 1800 used public transport to get from Geelong to Melbourne.

Read the original article at GeelongAdvertiser.com.au

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Say NO to East-West Tunnels - Brumby's Transport Summit Protest

Say NO to East-West Tunnels
YES to Public Transport

Community Protest
Brumby’s Transport Summit

Friday, 5 September 2008, Telstra Dome

As you know the Brumby government has been staging transport forums organised by the Department of Transport, ostensibly to consult with the public on Victoria's Transport Plan.

Members of Parliament with inner metropolitan seats - namely Bronwyn Pike (Melbourne), Richard Wynne (Richmond) and Carlo Carli (Brunswick) have belatedly and at extremely short notice, held their own forums last week.

These forums, are intended to provide community feedback for the Premier's Transport Summit, which was scheduled for mid September. Although the MP's declared that their forums were for local residents they were by invitation only and, significantly many community organisations, individuals and local residents were refused admittance.

The Royal Park Protection Group (RPPG) and Yarra Campaign Against Tunnels (YCAT) are, in consultation, with resident and environmental groups in the East and West of Melbourne facilitating a Community Protest for Resident, Community, Environment Groups and concerned individuals at the Premier's Transport Summit.

Join us for a community protest

Venue: John Batman’s Datum (Red Flag Pole), Telstra Dome Plaza
Date: Friday, 5 September 2008
Assemble: 11.15 am for 11.30 Transport Summit Protest
Enter Plaza: From Southern Cross Station, internal lift or escalator to plaza
Escalators from Spencer Street, adjacent to Spencer/Bourke St. intersection
BYO Banners, Placards, Signs for No Road Tunnels for each community group plus………..
speakers, protest banners, resolution, delegation to the conference and much, much more!!!!

Royal Park Protection Group Inc. -
Julianne Bell 98184114 or 0408-022-408 jbell5@bigpond.com
Yarra Campaign Against the Tunnel (YCAT) -
Freda Watkin 0403-526-342 info@ycat.org.au
visit www.ycat.org.au

Click here for a flyer from YCAT

Transport giants back multi-billion-dollar roads strategy - news.com.au

VICTORIA'S biggest transport companies have backed construction of a $9.5 billion road tunnel through the city's inner north.

The Herald Sun has seen submissions on the proposal by international transport expert Sir Rod Eddington to build Melbourne's biggest infrastructure project.

Toll road operator ConnectEast, trucking giant Linfox, the RACV and the Transport Workers Union are adamant new roads must be built to cope with the state's population spurt.

ConnectEast, operator of Melbourne's newest toll road EastLink, says it wants to build the tunnel and claims it can be done at no cost to the Government.

But it would come at a cost to motorists - more tolls...

Read the entire article at News.com.au (of which, Sir Rod Eddington is a board member), and read the always informed comments of the Herald Sun readers here.