You’re welcome, but your car isn’t

Neil Mitchell in the Herald Sun last week, has some strange ideas about the City:

Second, there’s transport.

It is difficult to get into the city and difficult to move around it.

As Jeff Kennett said this week, those monster tram stops have clogged traffic and undermined the principle behind the magnificently simple design of Melbourne. It’s in the handbook that councils hate cars, and the MCC follows the book.

Traffic problems and parking restrictions are killing the city.

What’s the plan? What’s the vision?

How do we bring people back?

Errr, no. Wrong. Actually the city is thriving. It’s busy every day of the week until late.

Swanston Street

And the number of daily visitors has been growing every year.

CBD users 2004-2006
(Source: City of Melbourne: City User Estimates and Forecasts)

The problem appears to be that Neil expects to be able to drive his car down Collins Street at 60 kmh and park outside his favourite cafe.

Too bad. When you’ve got this kind of demand, not everyone can come by car. And most don’t. CBD car users are outstripped by public transport users 4-to-1.

Access to CBD, 2006
(Source: City of Melbourne: Central City User Survey)

The tram superstops haven’t clogged traffic. They’ve made very little difference. In just about every case, on each of the streets they’re on, there was one lane of traffic before, and there’s one lane of traffic now. What’s blocking the cars is… other cars.

Neil and his car are welcome at the suburban shopping centres such as Southland, Chadstone, or Highpoint. Good luck finding a park though.

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 “You’re welcome, but your car isn’t”

> The tram superstops haven’t clogged traffic. They’ve made very little difference.

One difference they’ve made is that the non-tram traffic is squeezed into a very narrow lane. This makes it much more perilous for those of us on a bicycle: the laughable “lane” for the bicycle is barely as wide as a man’s shoulders and is shunted onto the gutter, making it useless for actually, you know, riding a bike along.

Suzie: Whoops! The source data includes this, obviously due to rounding.

Ben: True enough. Though most cyclists I see (eg at the Collins St Superstops) just take the middle of the lane. I know if I were riding there, that’s what I’d do. It wouldn’t have much impact on the motor traffic as it’s slow all the way along Collins St anyway.

The tram superstops are a good thing because along St Kilda Rd it gets so crowded and is dangerously close to the traffic and trams.

To get around the city we have the City Loop train stations (quickest way to get around in my view), trams, and by foot, if you want to check out the shopping.

I also know people who work in the city who travel by car, actually park their cars in North Melbourne or Richmond and then they take a train into the CBD.

The intelligence behind Mr. Mitchell’s plans are staggering.

If I were responsible for the inner-city’s transport, I would have three tram routes taken off Swanston/St Kilda road and replaced on William Street (where 1 route currently runs). That would effectively even-out traffic congestion for trams and speed up travel times.

I would expect the ‘car’ figure to increase as the city outgrows its potential (hence, the disgusting urban sprawl) and as public transport deteriorates under incompetence.

Nathan: My assumption is it’s bikes, rollerblades, that kind of thing.

The figures are for 2006 (weekdays). I’d expect cars to have reduced further when the latest figures come out, as we know figures for trains, trams and bikes have been growing.

C’mon, get the units right! km/h, not kmh. You’re as bad as the Fairfax papers! They’re always talking about people crashing at 150 kilometre hours.

Err… they HAVE buggered up Flinders Street outside the station at Elizabeth Street. Drops from two lanes very suddenly into one on both sides. I’ve seen so many close calls since the new superstops being put in with motorists/cyclists/pedestrians.

Ren, I know that area quite well. I would personally recommend taking out an entire lane of traffic for the remainder of Elizabeth street so as to deter traffic in the first place. Also, the footpath could do with some widening.

And the superstops are kinda over-engineered. They should be smaller and more permeable, and located at the intersections.

It would be great to have some trams off Swanston and onto Exhibition and/or William. At the moment the ‘top’ end is kind of underserviced.

Also, the Loop needs fixing – you can’t use it to navigate the city easily – especially at lunchtime (one of the busier times of the day) when the trains stop running to change direction. Run some trains one way all day, and some the other; people can swap trains easily enough at Richmond, Parliament, Flinder or whereever.

It’s still easy enough to get into the city by car, it’s just the parking that kills you. And honestly, if you can’t figure out how to get around in the CBD on the trams and walk a few minutes you may as well give up and sit by yourself at home.

I personally hate the superstops (stupidstops).
Outside Flinders Street Station they have forced the 235/237 bus stop to be relocated 3 blocks away, instead of being out the front of the station, as they “forgot” to include space for the bus stop (even though there is still plenty of space there). As previously mentioned, they make life for cyclists much more dangerous than it should be. And for vision impaired/blind travellers, they make it much harder to actually find where the stop is (it was very easy when they were on every corner, before the intersection. I could go on….

oh, and why couldn’t thay have subway access to the new centre-stupidstop in Flinders Street (especially since they opened a hole during construction ! :-)

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