Council invests in public transport over road users

By: Jason Whittaker


Victoria’s Darebin Council will invest heavily in expanding its public transport network, giving preference to bus operators over other commuters

Victoria’s Darebin Council will invest heavily in expanding its public transport network, giving preference to bus operators over other commuters in an effort to reduce urban congestion.

The move is part of a strategy released by the council, which will guide decisions relating to transport over the next 20 years.

The council will spend more on boosting public transport accessibility, which will involve constructing more bus stops and expanding current bus routes.

The council is hoping its decision to favour buses over single-occupant vehicles will result in more people abandoning fuel-guzzling vehicles in favour of more sustainable transport vehicles.

The Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) has continually argued for the benefits of an effective bus network, with BIC Chief Executive Michael Apps claiming "one bus, on average, takes about 15 cars off the road".

The strategy highlighted a rising trend in traffic congestion, singling out the trucking industry as one of the main culprits clogging up local roads.

In an effort to improve traffic flows, the council will examine the feasibility of having more freight carried by rail, effectively freeing up roads for bus operators and creating a more efficient public transport network.
"Transport planning has shifted from planning for new roads to policies that create more efficient urban environments," the report says.

Furthermore, Darebin Council will not build new roads or widen existing ones. Rather, road space is to be managed with lower speed limits on main roads, video surveillance and the introduction of speed cameras.

The council highlighted St Georges Road, Albert Street, Grange Road and High Street as priority areas.

Darebin’s transport strategy says no amount of improvements or upgrades to current road infrastructure will ease traffic congestion. It will, however, expand and upgrade cycling and walking routes.

The Brumby Government has welcomed the strategy, which was formulated by input from the Department of Infrastructure, VicRoads and community representatives.

"The city of Darebin has shown continued leadership in the area of transport planning," Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky says.
"The Brumby Government will continue to work closely with the city of Darebin to improve public transport in the local area."

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