Jacky Fristacky - surely, that's not her real name - in yesterday's Age:
As architect and urbanist Lewis Mumford warned, trying to cure traffic congestion with more road capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening the belt.
Not one policy maker I know of advocates we simply "loosen the belt" and build more roads. Most every expert - real and actual expert, as opposed to vested interest shill - and every other non-expert, me included, advocates we "loosen the belt", "eat better" and "do exercise". In other words: get cracking on a shitload of different infrastructure solutions.
If Melbourne is going to get another million people by 2020, we don't need more rail and less cars or less rail and more cars, we need more road, more rail, more trams, more buses and more bike paths.
1: Outer Link. A freeway that connects East Link with the West Gate Freeway.
2: Carlton Tunnel. A tunnel from the end of the Eastern Freeway at Clifton Hill to the Tullamarine Freeway and on to the West Gate Freeway.
3. Punting Hoddle Tunnel. A tunnel that connects the Eastern Freeway at Clifton Hill to the Monash Freeway at Burnley. Heaps of people wanting to go from the south-east to the north and north-east (and vice versa) have to come into town, get off the Monash at Richmond and travel up Punt and Hoddle to the Eastern. Getting 'em off Punt Road and into a quicker tunnel has rock all to do with the fact that I live close to Punt Road, but that's a beneficial side-effect. Yes, I am aware there would be some duplication with a my Outer Link, but this is my pipe dream, so stick your objection up your gonga.
4. West Gate Tunnel. Much the same philosophy as my Punting Hoddle Tunnel. This one would take traffic from the inner west to the inner east and north-east.
5. Levelled Crossings. Dunno what it's like in the wilds of non-Melbourne Straya, but we have lots of level crossings where cars meet trains. When they are not causing accidents in which the cars most always come off second best, they are stopping traffic on roads all across Melbourne. The government should embark on a long term project to put underpasses or overpasses at all these pains in the arses. Just ask anyone who travels down the new Middlesborough Road how effective the removal of the Box Hill level crossing has been. Imagine the same stewed-prune-style loosening effect at Springvale Road in Nunna. Sigh... one can only dream.
6. The Underground. The radial train lines emanating from the CBD should be put underground to a distance of, say, 5 kilometers from said CBD. First, there would be a reclamation of wasted, ugly real estate; for example, the rail yards around Richmond and North Melbourne. Come one, I dare you: just try to tell me that covering the Richmond rail yards and turning them into a big park with trees and benches and a hard-to-say aboriginal name wouldn't be the greatest idea since Rowntrees Fruit Gums. Second, it would do away with the need to build underpasses and over passes at many level crossings, since many level crossings are within 5 kilometers of the CDB. Third, see 7.
7. Bike Paths. Once the railways are gone, there should be bike paths. It should be possible for anyone within a reasonable riding distance from the CBD to get there by treadly.
8. Cables. When you see a new suburb built, can you see the power lines? No, you cant, you can't. All new electrical distribution - as opposed to transmission - is done underground. They do this because it is environmentally better to look at, and electrically better protected. The down side is that faults are harder to fix. However, with sensible installation and modern fault finding, it's not hard to pull in a new length of cable to replace a damaged cable, and if you really must, you can dig a hole to fix a fault. Like I said, though, you put cables underground to minimise the chance of them being damaged. Anyhoo, before I got electrical on yo asses, if they are installing cables underground in new areas, it doesn't take much of a leap of logic to work out that they could do the same in the suburbs where all the cables are above ground on poles. True, cables don't have a whole lot to do with traffic management, but while I'm on a roll...
9. Commission Flats. They are knocking down tenements in Baltimore - I saw it on The Wire - so why can't they do it here? Who wouldn't like to see the commission flats razed? Horrible things. Of course, you would have to find somewhere for the current drug dealers... I mean, residents to live. Well, politics being the art of compromise, they could live somewhere else.
10. Ring Rail. Currently if you want to catch the train from Dandenong to Epping, two of our more salubrious locales, you have to catch a train into the CBD and out to Epping. Bollocks to that. There needs to be a train line connecting the all of our outer terminuses; a bit like the rim of a wheel.
Don't be giving it any "running out of petrol" guff as an excuse for building less roads. Yes, we are running out of petrol. Next week according to some; around 2299 according to others. But people being what people are, you can have it London to a brick that as soon as petrol shortages become serious enough, Gyro Gearloose or his human clever-trousered equivalent will have come up with a suitable replacement. And just by the by, people like driving cars.
A thousand stuck-shut boom-gates at peak-hour on your "that's going to cost a lot".