The old parties have a plan to choke Melbourne with a proposed tollway stretching from Melbourne's East to West. The Greens are siding with the community who want to see less congestion and pollution which means greater investment in public transport infrastructure.
First the former Labor government and now the Baillieu government have proposed a tollway stretching from the end of the Eastern Freeway (near Hoddle St) through Fitzroy, Carlton and North Melbourne to the Kensington/Docklands/Footscray area. Originally proposed as a tunnel, the government and developers are now reportedly exploring an above ground Citylink-style flyover through these inner-city suburbs, with on- and off-ramps into the city at various unnamed points.
There is a problem with congestion, but it's not an 'east-west' problem as the government says. The picture from all the studies is clear. The problem is the clogging of our roads from traffic wanting to get into the city, not travelling east-west. Of all the traffic coming in on the Eastern freeway, only 15-24% travels on to the west. By contrast, between 76- 85% ends up in the city, our inner-city suburbs or heads south out of the city. The more of these city-bound vehicles we can get off our roads and on to trains, the more we will alleviate congestion, freeing up inner-city streets for local traffic and the minority needing to drive from east to west.
With most of the incoming traffic heading into the city, building a rail line down the Eastern Freeway then out to Doncaster is the most urgently needed reform. Without that, many people in the eastern suburbs have no way of getting to work by public transport, so they drive down the Eastern Freeway, with more than 60,000 vehicles coming into our area in the morning peak period. The area down the Eastern Freeway was always meant for a train line. Thousands of people pass through Clifton Hill station every morning and there's no reason a Doncaster line couldn't bring the same traffic into the city. Building the Doncaster rail line would alleviate congestion and start to turn Melbourne into a world-class public transport city. The current Baillieu government should build a Doncaster line as a priority and that's where the Greens want to see federal infrastructure dollars being spent.
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