Eastlink vs West

Tandberg freeway cartoonSo, Eastlink is open. Whoop-de-do.

And even though it was meant to be the solution to eastern Melbourne’s traffic, it’s already clear it’s just moved the problems elsewhere:

Opposition leader Ted Baillieu said congestion on Eastlink could cause problems at both ends including at Hoddle Street and at the Frankston end at the Cranbourne Road intersection, which the government had not dealt with. — AAP

Even the RACV is saying the same thing, using it to ask for yet more roads to fix the problems caused by this one. Masterful! I mean, why did we bother?

As for the claimed $15 billion in economic benefits, that little myth is predicated on all sorts of false assumptions.

Normally I’d say that just like any other motorway, it’ll be chocka within 5-10 years, like all the others. And it may well be, with tollway operator ConnectEast happily pointing out in a corporate briefing on 13/6/2008 that: “Even if economic growth slows, many motorists don’t have much choice; they still have to drive … Certainly in the Eastlink corridor, there aren’t a lot of other options”.

But with Vicroads data showing rising petrol prices are reducing road demand, instead it may become a multi-billion dollar white elephant.

Over in the west, however, they’ve got the right idea: Huge rail expansion for Perth.

Cartoon: Ron Tandberg, The Age 11/11/2004

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

14 replies on “Eastlink vs West”

They should have built a train line along the money pit.
Read about the rail extension in Perth yesterday…it’s always some other govt with the commonsense.

its great to hear that Perth is getting some improvements, but hopefully this wont mean a sky-rocket in ticket pricing.

ive been to melbourne twice and relied on public transport both times – gotta say how proud i am of our trains that ALWAYS run on time :)

if this isn’t another sign that this government has no idea on transport policy, surely its awarding of the ‘corporate citizen of the year’ award to RACV is.

Daniel, are you aware of what plans, if any, the government has for coping with additional public transport users. I have just relocated to Narre Warren and am travelling by train 2-3 days per week to Port Melbourne. My concern is that I will soon be unable to find a car space anywhere near the station. I have tried getting there an hour earlier than what I would usually leave and am still lucky to get one of the few vacant spots left. I would estimate that there are maybe 600-800 spots available atm. Catching a bus to the station might be an option if they ran more than every hour and weren’t consistently 15-20 minutes later than the schedule.

The new rail lines in Perth are welcome but virtually useless. The transport options to and from the stations are extremely restricted. Connecting buses are too infrequent and the routes are incredibly restricted. Unless there are changes to broader PT options all they will do is shift the parking from the city to the streets around the suburban stations.

Hasn’t it been a commonplace for years that building more roads only encourages more traffic, such that you wind up with the same problems? As other commenters point out, rail alone isn’t the answer: proper, integrated public transport is the only way forward.

We may be about to pay a very high price for the legacy of building cities around an assumption everyone would have a car and that petrol would remain affordable.

Daniel, After you take your first drive down this wonderful new expressway please do tell us all about it!! HA HA This new expressway will most likely be traffic choked and over capacity very soon.

After living in Miami, Florida for over 16 years I have witnessed near constant road construction and widening projects that seem to be at or over capacity and obsolete just as they are completed.

Eastlink must be the FINAL road project in Australia. Brian Negus and his RACV wankers are bathing in a hot tub of bitumen. I hate seening the Eastlink sponsored “time on period” at the end of a quarter at the MCG during an AFL match. There must be and should have been a rail line down the median strip of Eastlink with stations at every major exist that would serve many areas at little cost to Eastlink’s $2.5 billion pricetag. This rail line should have run from Frankston to Mitcham station along the Lilydale/Belgrave line. This line was also part of the original 1969 transport plan. Perth is doing the right thing, just why can’t we do it here in Melbourne? Someone just tell me!

Jayne, I’m not sure about a rail line. Yes they should have left space for it for future construction, but there are a lot of other lines higher up the queue to be built, and with no really good PT network (E-W connections) out there yet, and no traffic generators on the motorway route itself, it would only get limited use.

Shaz, Perth is going great guns, and to my knowledge the previous rail projects (eg Mandurah, opened last year) didn’t result in fares going up. (Can we borrow Alannah McTiernan from WA please?)

Lyn, I’d love to tell you that the government planned to fix that. But they don’t. All they’re doing is building a few more station carpark spaces, which will almost certainly fill up as quick as they are built (and they’re costing an average $17,000 per space)! The Melway seems to indicate Narre Warren currently had 360 spaces; not sure if this is up-to-date though. I can appreciate your reluctance to rely on the buses, which are hopeless. If I were running the show, buses would run every 10 minutes into the stations, all day. Riding a bike can be an option for some people, but many don’t like doing so on busy roads or in the rain.

John, similar problems to here then… at least for those outside walking distance.

Doug, the message hasn’t got through to those with the purse strings yet.

I am a West Aussie living in Sydney and it does make me proud that WA is on the right track, especially compared to Sydney – the worst public transport city in Australia. I still like Melbourne for it’s tram and train network, almost every city can learn from Melbourne in a lot of ways.

But I am forever still telling my mates in Perth how good the trains and buses are compared to elsewhere and they still drive in traffic jams everyday. It doesn’t matter what good the government of the day does, you always get moron mentality and criticism from all directions.

I just hope the WA Labor govt can stay in to keep working on more public transport projects. The WA Liberals wouldn’t build half as much in the same period if given the opportunity. Alannah McTiernan is a trooper, but I reckon her workload would be taking it’s toll on her. I don’t how much longer she will stay in the job.

Also quick reply to John:
There is nothing wrong with shifting the cars from the city to the suburbs, that is still an improvement over everyone driving to the city. Eventually if the local governments encourage higher density housing around major transport hubs, then more frequent bus services will come eventually.

I live in the Perth metro area and must say I agree with John.
The new railway line to Mandurah is great but the parking facilities at the stations are totally inadequate. Cars are parked willy-nilly on verges around the stations. Just too bad if you come too late.
The extensions mooted should be seen in view of the fact that there will be a election soon. e.g. the Armadale line extension is a 6-7 km stretch which (although I think it should have been done years ago) was described by McTiernan not long ago as too soon to even start thinking about and it is in her own electorate!
As for the “high-speed” line to Bunbury, this is proposed to be a diesel powered train travelling at a maximum speed of 120kph. I’m sorry but that is not “high-speed” Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a “high-speed” like the French TGV or the German ICE.
I would also be nice and ecologically sensible if the government forbade the building of new office blocks in Perth and designated 3 or 4 provincial cities closer to adequate water supplies as the places to build them. Maybe starting with a few of the largest government departments. Then we could join them with real “high-speed” lines.

Your mention of Perth is interesting. It brings back memories of my trip there in 1999. I was there for a conference and on a free day took a drive north just to do some sight-seeing. Being originally from Sydney and, at that time, living on the NSW Central Coast (about 90Km north of Sydney) on the infamous F3 (definitely too narrow, supposedly too dangerous and, as a result, forced to be too slow), I was most impressed with the obvious extension of a freeway out of Perth.

It was under construction and it was huge! If I remember correctly it had at least 2 lanes both ways with good hard shoulders and proper breakdown lanes. But the most impressive feature was the central “island”. It seemed as though it must have been about 100 metres wide! And it contained … a railway!

It had 2 lines with plenty of stations. The stations had carparking areas both sides that could be accessed from the freeway service roads. Each carpark had an extremely long ramp (sort of like the one from near the Hilton to the MCG – or is it the Tennis Centre?) which crossed the freeway and led to the station “concourse”. I was driving so I couldn’t take in the fine details but I remember that there was lift access from the concourse areas to the platforms (I’m a wheelie so I try to notice these things). It seemed brilliant! I also remember thinking that Sydney could never do something similar because there was not enough land left around the city to create corridors that would suit that sort of development.

Will the new railways planned for Perth also be in the centre of new roads?

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