Republic of Moreland

April 9, 2008

Meeting in Brunswick to discuss proposed freeway

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.


  1. Cyclovia killed sydney road for traders. A lot of shops didnt bother to open, those that did lost major money. Cafe’s I have rarely seen a free seat at were empty. I am all for the push for less cars, but the cost to traders was insane, I only hope the Moreland Council will re-imburse them so they dont run into negative.

    Comment by Local — April 14, 2008 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  2. It bothers me a bit that eddington was only asked to talk about the East-West corridor. When I have to negotiate the inner city by car, it always seems to me that the major stuffup is north-south and we need a more integrated plan. If we had a spare eighteen billion lying around, would we actually spend it on this, or some other major route? What happens, for instance, if we complete the ring roads properly so the east-west traffic can go round the outside?

    I think the Doncaster public transport issue is a bit of a furphy. There are buses already, which can be improved at no infrastructure cost at all. The traffic is supposed to come from further out.

    I would love to see what would happen if the government found a way to stop people driving to work in the city, which seems to be the big source of traffic on the Eastern freeway. I suspect that a lot of these problems would disappear by magic.

    And, like all the other cyclists, I wonder what would happen if the government put bikes (and the new electric bikes, I guess) at the centre of a transport strategy. Cost a mint, but not eighteen billion.

    Sydney Road, of course, is just an impossible transport nightmare caused by dumb planning as far back as the 1860’s.

    Comment by david tiley — April 15, 2008 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

  3. Is the suggestion somehow, Local, that Morelanders will only patronise shops in Sydney Road if they can drive there? If so, that’s rather more of an indictment on them than on any proposal to reduce traffic and encourage bicycle use. I’m sure that if measures to reduce traffic were made permanent both shoppers and shopkeepers would soon adjust, and that Sydney Road would become a real attraction, to boot.

    Right now, the only sightseers we get come to observe the mating rituals of malakas in their natural habitat. Scientifically sound, no doubt, but here’s hoping they soon become an endangered species.

    Comment by Bane of Malakas — April 15, 2008 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  4. Cyclovia was wonderful indeed. The clearway idea is a shocker – Sydney Rd is viewed as a place to travel trough and along not to.

    Comment by Peter Robertson — May 1, 2008 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

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