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There may be hope for us yet :) [vic]

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by vic, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. Age online article

    Transport revolution to get city moving
    February 7, 2010
    THE state government will unveil a ground-breaking transport plan, conceding that it can no longer simply build new roads to fix Melbourne's congestion crisis and must instead transform the way existing roads are used.

    In draft guidelines, obtained by The Sunday Age, that outline the government's latest attempt to solve Melbourne's transport woes, VicRoads warns that unless innovative action is taken, population and economic growth will cripple the city's road network within a decade.

    ''Maintaining the road quality and adding capacity by building new roads is reaching the limits of affordability, practicability and political acceptability,'' the report says.

    ''Into the future, Melbourne's road network cannot hope to cope with ever-increasing demands from a range of users. A more active approach to allocating priority is needed that separates … many of the conflicts by route, place and time of day.''

    The plan, expected to be released by the government this month, centres on the creation of a ''road use hierarchy'' that gives priority to cars, cyclists, pedestrians and public transport at different times of the day to improve travel times.

    The proposal is expected to have a profound effect on how road users move about Melbourne in the future, with the RACV saying the new measures will encourage drivers, walkers, cyclists and public transport users to alter their behaviour to make travel more efficient.

    Congestion-busting measures in the draft strategy, dated late last year, include:

    ■ Limiting the building of new roads.

    ■ Creating designated times along every major road when certain modes of transport are given priority over others.

    ■ Encouraging cars to avoid shopping strips during the day. This could be achieved by lowering the speed limit.

    ■ Giving priority to more tram and bus services. This could be achieved by using traffic lights and by removing street car parks.

    ■ Encouraging pedestrians to use activity centres with public transport and bicycle route access.

    Traffic congestion costs Victoria $2.6 billion every year, but that figure will double to $5.2 billion by 2024 the report warns, unless radical change to road use is embraced.

    Monash University transport expert Professor Graham Currie said the plan - an Australian first - marked a crucial change in thinking by the government.

    ''We've got to the point where we have to draw the line somewhere to get the best use out of our resources,'' he said.

    ''Road space is precious. We're not getting any more, but demand is soaring … This is a turning point.''

    Every major road in Melbourne has been assigned a ''priority road use'' in consultation with councils and the Transport Department. Plans based on local government areas have been combined into a network-wide map that will underpin how the strategy is executed.

    VicRoads has confirmed that scheduled road projects, such as the tunnel linking the inner-west with the Port of Melbourne, will proceed.

    But the authority refused to reveal ahead of the plan's launch how it would encourage different modes of transport to use particular routes at specific times.

    RACV chief engineer traffic and roads Peter Daly said the strategy could be achieved with lower speed limits and better crossings in pedestrian areas, traffic light priority for public transport on relevant routes, and more spacious roads with linked traffic signals to create better flow where cars have priority.

    ''Road users may notice local incremental changes in how roads operate, but over time, more significant changes will emerge,'' the report says.

    Draft VicRoads maps show Williams and Punt roads in South Yarra will be designated as a mixture of car and bus priority while large parts of High Street and Toorak Road will be given tram and pedestrian priority.

    Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, is designated tram priority, mixed largely with pedestrian priority, while Victoria Parade gives priority to cars, buses and trams.

    A large number of suburban shopping precincts are to be designated pedestrian zones.

    Mr Daly said the plan provided Melbourne with its first strategic blueprint to underpin future decisions about road priority and ensure thinking and implementation was consistent across municipalities.

    The RACV had advocated this approach for years, he said, and the plan would belatedly recognise that road space is scarce and can't be everything to everybody.

    ''In the past we've pretended it could and that approach clearly can't work and is not sustainable,'' he said.

    He said some freeway links and roads in outer areas were still needed but it was time for tough decisions, such as removing car parks on certain routes to create bus clearways and potentially lowering some speed limits.

    ''This is more than platitudes … It should mean faster and more efficient transport.''

    Bicycle Victoria's Jason den Hollander said he hoped the plan would ensure an improved cycling network with greater separation from road traffic, more bike lane connections and traffic light priority for cyclists.

    ''A route that is highlighted for cycling means that we no longer have to compete for road space behind other modes,'' he said.

    Public Transport Users' Association president Daniel Bowen said it was a recognition that the car should no longer receive priority by default.

    VicRoads would not release the latest versions of the road hierarchy maps or their guidelines but said plans would be released shortly that ''[combine] key road infrastructure improvements with a comprehensive plan of how our metropolitan road network will work sustainably into the future''.

    Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said road congestion had soared over the past 10 years under Labor's poor management of Melbourne's road and public transport networks.
  2. Re: There may be hope for us yet :)

    Election years :)
  3. Re: There may be hope for us yet :)

    I happen to know the person who is undertaking the study that will generate the answer to this question.

    I am not able to divulge their name. But, I know that this person is a very experienced motorcycle rider with whom I have had long conversations over the subject of "Road Space Allocation"......
  4. Re: There may be hope for us yet :)

    Should turn out better for all of us hopefully. This practice already takes place in Ankara where no car can enter the cbd or surrounds on 2 consecutive days to ease congestion.
  5. Re: There may be hope for us yet :)

    VicRoads, Monash Uni, RACV and cyclists. The great solution providers of the modern era. What's wrong with this picture?

    Better get the credit cards ready.
  6. Re: There may be hope for us yet :)

    At least in the Age motorcycles get a mention Here

    It's give and take for all transport
    February 7, 2010
    VICROADS' admission that the solution to Melbourne's traffic woes lies in reorganising the existing system rather than building new roads is what public transport and cycling advocates have been waiting years, even decades, to hear.

    The arrival of climate change in the public consciousness several years ago galvanised arguments for a greater share of road space to be dedicated to bike and bus lanes and traffic light priority.

    Activists said journeys by bike, bus and tram would be faster, smoother and, in the case of cyclists, safer.

    But road space is a scarce commodity, and the modest gains made by sustainable transport in recent years illustrate that any reallocations would come at the cost of cars, motorcycles and other road traffic.

    Trips by public transport in metropolitan Melbourne soared almost 50 per cent in the decade to last year to 491.5 million. But our roads are still clogged and the cost of congestion will double in less than 15 years without action.

    Clearly travel in Melbourne is changing and this plan shows that VicRoads, and the state government, are finally changing with it.

    When the plan is launched this month, it will provide Australia's first blueprint for situations where public transport, bikes and pedestrians get priority over cars.

    The message will ring out that cars are no longer the rightful rulers of every city road.

    But if the state action matches the sentiment in the draft guidelines, it won't just be sustainable transport that benefits.

    Cars remain the dominant form of transport in this city, and business would shut down if freight deliveries were taken off the roads.

    If the plan functions as it should, routes for private vehicles will be optimised to provide the quickest possible trips.

    It is unclear how far VicRoads will go to encourage different road users on to different routes. But, as in the ongoing stoush between the road operator and local traders over extended clearways, there will be losers as roads are regulated to meet particular needs.

    A booming population and a limited rail network mean that urgent action is needed if Melbourne is to avoid the nightmarish traffic jams found in large foreign cities.

    If the impact of new car and freight routes in suburban areas is managed correctly, it seems there is little to lose in trying this innovative approach.
  7. Re: There may be hope for us yet :)

    Yeah, when they say this...

    So, whatever it is that they have in mind, at least we'll be copping it the same as 4 wheeled traffic will be...
  8. I think we see a glimpse of the real motivation...

    FFS, do you ever think "hmm, will I drive to the shops or take the train? Oh, the speed limit is only 30, so I'll go by train." Where the heck do these idiots get these ideas? ...and how on Earth is this "encouragement"???!?!?!??!

  9. Not a positive word for motorcycles in either article, only negative. Motorcyles are way more practical in terms of real commuting than bicycles, and yet bicycles get mentioned, not motorcycles, and it sounds like they will get the road space.

    This is also very amusing, since not so long ago councils went ahead and closed down roads to one lane by adding tram stops that stick out into the road, which was and is an extremely stupid idea. They also removed many clearways, and yet have reintroduced many recently to the detriment of many shop owners.

    I hope this study produces a sensible result, and is followed up by practical improvements. Not likely though.

    +111111 to Stivor's comment. If you are going out to buy groceries, you need to be able to carry them home. A tram, train, bus, bicycle or even a motorcycle is not practical for doing that. We are stuck with cars because our whole society is built around the individual transport they provide. Anything they do now will be too little and way too late.
  10. WTF :S What are they suggesting is the alternative? Shopping during the day 10-4 is surely a good time to be doing it as its out of peak hour times.

    They need to work on an INCENTIVE scheme, not just making the current option (mostly driving) worse - they need to offer a better solution.

    As others have said, scooters/motorcycles are far more realistic solutions than bicycles. Remove tolls for them, allow parking on footpaths with enough clearance + make filtering legal, cheaper rego - all brought together through a massive driver education media campaign about the new laws and advantages to take up 2 wheels.
  11. I don't hold high hopes. I have middling hopes only because JK mentioned an important cog in this report rides bikes... otherwise I'd have zero hopes. The establishment are generally pro cars and anti bikes.

    Though the picture below is bicycle centric, it's not hard to draw the positive conclusion for bikes versus cars and is self explanatory regarding congestion.

  12. I thought that was explicitly legal?

    Currently legal... with a touch of grey(area)ness.
  13. Pic posted by Rob

    It would be nice if they stopped trying to insult us and took all three photo's from the same position/perspective.
  14. If you're implying that the photo's don't make the point, then you just insulted your own intelligence Lilley.
  15. The Powered Two Wheeler Road Space Study has been going for a little while.

    I've attended the first workshop which looked at the sort of things we'd like to see - topics included filtering, advanced stop lines, bus lanes, motorcycle only routes, shared lanes etc. Information about it is below. The first discussion was very good. Note that the consultants are Sinclair Knight Merz - this is not a road safety project (although that will get taken into consideration) but is being undertaken from a transportation and engineering viewpoint in the first instance.

    With the continuing growth in the number of motorcycles and scooters on our roads, there is a need to ensure that they are given greater consideration in the management of the transport network in Victoria.

    Consideration of opportunities to improve the way motorcycles can share the road space is a key initiative of Victoria’s Road Safety and Transport Strategic Action Plan for Powered Two Wheelers 2009-2013.

    To date, specific motorcycle road space management initiatives have not been used in Victoria. VicRoads has engaged the engineering firm Sinclair Knight Mertz to identify and evaluate potential road space management initiatives for motorcycles. This project is funded by the Motorcycle Safety Levy and has the endorsement of the Victorian Motorcycle Advisory Council.

    Stage 1 of the project involves a review of practices adopted in other Australian states and the identification of motorcycle road space infrastructure initiatives from other countries. The initiatives from other countries need to be assessed for suitability, along with their implications, in the Victorian context. The objective of the workshop is to discuss the initiatives identified by Sinclair Knight Mertz to validate their assessment and to identify those initiatives considered most suitable for further consideration in Stage 2 of the study.

    Stage 2 of the study will consider a range of issues, including road safety, traffic operation and enforcement issues, associated with these initiatives in order to identify those which may be considered suitable for possible application in Victoria. A decision regarding initiatives suitable for possible application in Victoria will not be made until the study has been undertaken, consultation has occurred with a range of key stakeholders and the findings considered.
  16. Why would the government or vicroads do something practical when they can just slug a 30-50 dollar congestion tax on every vehicle between those specific hours?

    More revenue.
  17. I read that news report yesterday, initially with a flicker of hope, and then with an growing sense of disappointment.

    Sorry, but I think the agenda has been grabbed by the idealogues and insiders. Prioritising 'certain modes' of transport? So far they are really only talking about making it easier for trams buses, and cyclists. There is a little bit of stuff about 'streaming' cars into a reduced number of arterials, which will get some priority, and that's about it. As long as their PPP buddies in public transport benefit.... problem solved?

    Why is it that every time this government uses the word 'encourage', it ends up meaning 'raid their wallets'?

    I can see a world of hard work ahead for motorcycle advocates. As The Age already alluded, motorcycles are in danger of being lumped in with cars for oppressive discouragement measures unless authorities can be educated on the idiocy of doing so. We can only be grateful those responsible for getting the PTW strategy document in place, because that's going to absolutely crucial in getting a good outcome for motorcyclists. Getting a good road space policy in place is going to be equally important.

    NB. When 'Red' Ken Livingstone introduced the London congestion toll, he was ironically hailed as hero by motorcyclists for not charging motorcycles. But it didn't happen without a lot of work by the rider groups.

    Edit: Maybe I'm being too downbeat (again). Who knows - maybe we will end up better off?
  18. Don't really see what there is to get excited about (in the article)

    For mine: legal (no grey areas, LEGAL) filtering, advanced stop boxes at the front of the queue at lights, no tolls for ptw, mandatory professional driver and rider training as part of the licencing process, and a change in the policing focus on the roads (from speeding to things such as indicating, obeying give way, correct roundabout use, on mobiles while driving, tailgating etc).

    As far as congestion goes, it's simple: a public transport system that works. Sydney city has regular services, but living out west I do not. It takes me 1.5-2 hours one way to get to uni on public transport, it takes 20-40min depending on traffic and how well I behave on the bike.

    Ah, to dream...
  19. thank f*ck i don't live in melbourne.

    go geelong.
  20. Due to congestion and the silly responses, and increasing population density, I can increasingly see my sojourn in the big city coming to an end!

    Big cities suck!