The following is from the Moreland Greens’ Mike Puleston:
Moreland Council will be sponsoring a Public Meeting on the proposed East-West Freeway at Brunswick Town Hall on Sunday April 13 at 2.00. This will follow the Cyclovia, [pictured] when Sydney Rd will be closed to motor vehicles from Bell St to Brunswick Rd for the morning.
The Greens are opposed to the proposed freeway for a number of reasons:
1. The project puts motor vehicles at the centre of a transport strategy that should be looking first and foremost at public transport in this era of climate change. For example, motor traffic would be greatly reduced by construction of a light railway from Doncaster along the Eastern Freeway to link up with inner city public transport – this railway has been on the books since the 1970s.
2. Provision of freeways is massively more expensive than public transport options. The billions earmarked for the East-West Freeway could be better spent on public transport, including better rail connections to outer suburbs.
3. The freeway would funnel even larger numbers of motor vehicles into inner suburbs. Even though Eddington does not have off-ramps into the City in his report, there is general agreement that the project’s financial backers would not accept a lack of off-ramps. The increased congestion would not only affect suburbs such as Collingwood, Fitzroy and Carlton. It would also cause slowdowns to trams coming from further out, and greater risks to cyclists.
4. The freeway would cause massive disfigurement of Royal Park – which has already suffered from land grabs in recent years.
And so it goes on.
It would be good to have a strong turnout of Greens members and supporters. Please bring your Greens triangles – there will be triangles available if you do not have one.
Brunswick Labor MP for Brunswick Carlo Carli is showing uncharacteristic energy on this issue, and will speak at the meeting. It is hard not to think that Carlo’s rare burst of vigour has been largely promptly by the threat to his seat posed by the 30% Greeens vote in 2006 – the highest in the state. With a few more % in the primary vote and favorable preferences, the Greens will take this seat in 2010, as we will take Melbourne, Richmond, and possibly Northcote.
Although Carlo may speak out against the freeway, he is a small cog in the Brumby Labor machine. When it comes to voting in Parliament Carlo will toe the Party line – to do otherwise would be political suicide.
We need more Greens in state parliament to ask the questions others are afraid to ask.