Experts say East West Link won’t ease congestion

Amy Robertson, Monash Journalism
Croydon Station during peak hour. Photo: Amy Robertson

Croydon Station during peak hour. Photo: Amy Robertson

President of public transport, Daniel Bowen, says the answer to Melbourne traffic congestion lies in a more efficient public transport system.

MR BOWEN says the East West tunnel may initially alleviate congestion but in the long term will put more cars on the road, adding to Melbourne’s traffic problems.

“No developed city in the world builds these massive highways and then finds that that’s the end of their traffic problems. It always generates more traffic.”

“…You suck all that money out of the transport budget; billions and billions of dollars that could have otherwise been used to upgrade public transport…”

The East West tunnel will connect the Eastern Freeway with the Western Ring Road.

Linking Melbourne Authority, who are managing the road project, say it will reduce congestion, particularly at the end of the Eastern Freeway.

But Mr Bowen says we’re not fully optimising our public transport system and that improving the efficiency of public transport will encourage people to leave their cars at home.

Ringwood Station is due for a revamp. Photo: Amy Robertson

“The answer is not more roads. The answer is actually to get people out of their cars and move them more efficiently round the city.”

Chair of public transport, Graham Currie, agrees that the East West Link will not reduce congestion in the long term.

He says the government needs to focus on improving the efficiency of Melbourne’s public transport, rather than expanding roads.

“It actually acts to increase the amount of traffic on the roads, which creates more congestion.”

“We’ve built ourselves into a really bad situation with the future of our transport.”

Construction of the East West Link is expected to commence late 2014.

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