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Review of recent Melbourne Transport Forums

Posted in Events, Policies by Ferne Edwards on September 7th, 2007

By guest author, Stephen Ingrouille, Principal, Going Solar, Reproduced with permission from Transport Newsletter #28, 4 September 2007.

Melbourne Transport Forums
Two forums in Melbourne recently demonstrated remarkable consensus thinking in the need to fast track sustainable transport. The first forum, Public Transport Growth in Melbourne, was a debate resulting mostly in agreement, while the second forum, the Roads for Public Transport Summit, demonstrated that there has been a paradigm shift in the thinking of both VicRoads and the RACV. This is remarkably good news.

Many issues were raised including:
Congestion caused where parked cars force motor vehicles onto tram tracks.
Assumed ‘ownership of the parking spaces outside premises, and how in Japan such ‘ownership would be unthinkable.
How little financial value on-street parking actually provides for adjoining premises.
Why local authorities show remarkable reluctance to tackle shop owners on this issue.
The measures that can be taken to calm traffic (thus decreasing noise and danger) while at the same time keeping through traffic moving (thus reducing pollution) where parked cars are removed from the on-street equation.
The reluctance of the police to enforce fairways and transit lanes.
The reason that it takes so long to adjust traffic lights to improve the flow of buses and trams.

A common theme was the need for an independent authority to resolve these types of issues, with resolutions being achieved through consultation and consensus. Once agreed though, the process must be adhered to by all levels of government and agencies. It was recognised that there are winners and losers in this process and perhaps some sort of compensation can be provided (eg a 6 monthly PT travel pass for adjoining premises where on-street parking is permanently removed). However it was also noted that many people are being disadvantaged at the moment by parked cars and by the same rationale, they should be compensated. If the police wont enforce fairways and transit lanes perhaps that responsibility should be transferred to another authority – with a corresponding transfer in budget. Apparently a shortage of technicians is the reason that traffic light priority can not be implemented as fast as would be desirable.

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