Saturday, July 05, 2008

public transport summit - a plan for the east

On Friday 4th July, I spoke at the Eastern Transport Coalition’s (ETC) Public Transport Summit. I was making the case for why we need a duplication of the Lilydale and Belgrave rail lines. The case for rail to Rowville and Doncaster also featured at the summit. (vist for copies of the presentations)

The summit was well attended with over 200 people including community members, public transport advocates, Greg Barber (MLC for Northern Metropolitan), Ted Bailleau (Leader of the Opposition), politicians, Mayors and Councillors from across the eastern region.

Speakers included Professor Peter Newman from Curtin University who spoke about the significant role public transport has to play in addressing greenhouse gas emissions as well as peak oil. Professor Graham Currie from Monash University spoke about getting the planning right around public transport with some great examples from around the world as well as Perth, Adelaide and Sydney. Telling in Professor Currie’s talk was that there were no examples of recent, well thought out public transport planning in Melbourne.

Rob Hudson MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Public Transport spoke as well as Peter Daly from the RACV. I shared a session with Cr Alex Makin from Maroondah who spoke passionately about the need for an updated, new approach at Ringwood railway station.

There is no doubt what our community needs is a fast, frequent and well connected public transport system. That’s not what we have now. Supporting information from the recent Eddington East West Link Needs Assessment show single track sections reduce capacity on a corridor and affect scheduling flexibility. The Lilydale line experienced the highest number of cancellations in the last year, 770 in total, was this due to the single track?

A recent survey conducted by the ETC (blog entry 29 April 2008) shows that only 26% of commuters at the Belgrave station believe the train service meets their needs.

In peak trains can carry up to 60,000 passengers an hour, one freeway lane of traffic can carry 2000 people an hour. Timetabling of services for Belgrave and Lilydale show the limitations of having single tracks. It is easy to understand that a train delayed in a single track section will have an impact on trains waiting from the opposite direction. Delays can only be accommodated so far in our timetable so it is inevitable that the ripple effect of a delayed train will lead to cancellations. Single tracks limit the provision of services.

Car parking at all stations along these lines is insufficient to meet demand. At the summit Rob Hudson announced additional parking for Lilydale, well quite frankly additional car parking at Lilydale alone just doesn’t cut it. All the car parking at stations are overcrowded and all along the line commuters are parking wherever they can, often in spaces for community use, shoppers and traders, in local streets, legally and illegally. Better connecting bus services are an answer too, if this was a reality people could leave their cars in the driveway.

The fact is rail transport is many times more efficient than car travel. We need to think to the future, we need to get serious about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, we need to get serious about peak oil.

I hear our community when they say we need better public transport NOW.

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At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sam,

Well done with your presentation, let's hope the government finally listens to the community and acts on the public transport needs in the outer east.



At 10:19 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

I couldn't agree more Alex, it's time to act now, we can not afford to wait for more decades of inaction.


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