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.

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