Media Releases 2011
Yarra Council continues to strongly oppose east-west road tunnel
14 November 2011
Yarra Council is calling on the State Government to abandon its support for an east-west road tunnel, saying the project would harm the liveability of Melbourne’s inner-city.
Yarra Mayor Alison Clarke said it had been disheartening to see a newspaper report over the weekend quoting the Premier as pushing ahead with the project.
Cr Clarke said Council stood as one with the community and environment groups opposed to the tunnel, which had been proposed by the former Labor State Government.
She said the tunnel would not alleviate inner-city traffic congestion, as studies had shown the vast majority of peak hour traffic was heading into or out of the city rather than crossing east-west.
“This tunnel would exacerbate air pollution and congestion, and lock Melbourne further into car-dependency, right when oil demand has outstripped supply, and petrol prices can only go up,” Cr Clarke said.
“Every big new urban road is supposed to fix congestion, but because new roads encourage car use, they all eventually just fill up with cars and grind to a halt,” she said.
“The argument will be that the tunnel is needed for freight to the west, but in fact the Eastern Freeway is mainly used by single-occupant cars heading towards the CBD. Many of those drivers would take the train if there was one.
“The only real, long-lasting solution to traffic congestion is a fast, frequent, reliable, well-connected public transport system.”
Cr Clarke said she was delighted that a $6.5 million study into establishing a rail link from Doncaster to the CBD was now underway, and congratulated the government on this initiative.
“The Doncaster railway line is a key part of the solution to congestion in Melbourne’s inner east and north, whether the line only goes to Doncaster or is extended through to Parkville and Ringwood,” she said.
“The 600,000-plus people who live in the Doncaster region need and deserve proper transport choices beyond the private car.”
Cr Clarke said that any proposed route for a tunnel would inevitably have to include entrances and exits in or near Yarra.
“Yarra’s residents would feel the pain of a tunnel, whether that be through pollution spewing out of ugly tunnel ventilation stacks, disruption caused by construction works, toll avoiders cutting through our streets, or less investment in public transport because money is being spent on a road tunnel instead, ” she said.
“I hope everyone who loves our city joins the fight against this tunnel.”
In 2007, the State Government commissioned Sir Rod Eddington to undertake a study into solutions to traffic congestion in Melbourne. Here is the Eddington Report (2.18MB).
One of the report's main recommendations was an 18 kilometre east-west road tunnel.
Yarra Council was among the community and environment groups which opposed the tunnel, calling instead for the creation of a rail link between Doncaster and the city. Here is Yarra Council's submission to the State Government regarding the Eddington Report (1,007.02kB)
The tunnel proposal was not included in the Victorian Transport Plan which was announced by the Brumby State Government in late 2008.
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