Almost everybody, it seems, from political parties to academics, think tanks and planning experts, reckons the key priority for improving planning and public transport in Melbourne is to reform the way they’re managed.
The clamour for revised governance arrangements in order to effect reform has been increasing in Melbourne, with groups like the Committee for Melbourne, the Greens, the Public Transport Users Association and the Committee for Economic Development of Australia agitating for change.
It’s therefore sobering to see the Grattan Institute pointing out that reformed governance arrangements are not a silver bullet. The Director of the Institute’s Cities program, Jane-Frances Kelly, makes the point that:
the evidence from successful overseas cities does not support the idea that changing governance structures will help. In the successful cities we examined, no one type of governance was dominant. Unnecessary changes to governance structures can also be a distraction from the things that are vital. In short, changing structures is no cure-all. Read the rest of this entry »
The Age published details on Monday of what it says is a leaked Vicroads “plan for hundreds of kilometres of new freeways”.
The “plan” is actually just a map showing how Melbourne’s road network might look in 2040. Vicroads isn’t conceding that it prepared the map but it isn’t denying it either. Most of the projects are already shown on the Melway or are well known – only the outer, outer ring road and two Geelong roads seem genuinely new.
There is a heap of negative comment on The Age site. The most interesting comment however is a quote in The Age from an RACV spokesperson who says the map represents the sort of ”truly long-term thinking” needed if the city’s road system is to cope with predictions that Melbourne’s population will grow to 7 million by 2049.
I have no issue with the need to think about road transport well into the future. As I’ve pointed out before, even the most optimistic long term public transport plans envisage that the majority of travel will still be by car. While the car’s mode share is likely to decline, the absolute level of car travel – in green cars – is nevertheless highly like to increase.
But I beg to differ with an RACV spokesperson who is quoted as saying that this road plan constitutes “truly long term thinking” about the road system. I don’t see how the efficiency, sustainability and capacity of the road system as depicted in this wish-list can be assessed without having information on a host of other variables that will affect the use of road space in the future. Read the rest of this entry »