Victoria needs more than 'band-aid solutions to reduce congestion

By: Jason Whittaker

The Victorian Government is being urged to implement more than "band-aid solutions" to reduce congestion levels in light of its

The Victorian Government is being urged to implement more than "band-aid solutions" to reduce congestion levels in light of its announcement it will standardise clearway times to keep traffic moving.

While welcoming the Brumby Government’s decision to enforce a 10km radius around the 150 clearways in Melbourne’s CBD from 6.30am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm, Victorian Transport Association (VTA) Chief Executive says it is merely a short term solution to a long term problem.

According to Lovel, the Government must implement more initiatives if it hopes to reduce congestion levels in the coming years. This includes allowing more productive trucks on the road as well as removing bans and curfews introduced by local governments to restrict road freight movements.

"Melbourne needs a complete plan, not just a variety of smaller band-aid solutions," he says.

Lovel also wants high efficiency container transporters that currently operate at the Port of Melbourne to start operating on intrastate and interstate routes.
"Without these the roads won’t be able to cope with the 33 percent increase in trucks in the next 15 years," he says.

The clearways initiative is part of the Government’s Keeping Melbourne Moving plan, and was agreed upon at a recent roundtable meeting on congestion attended by Premier John Brumby.

"This plan will provide some quick, immediate relief with a focus on the 10km radius around the CBD which experiences some of the heaviest congestion during peak times," Brumby says.

In order to ensure the plan is adhered to, Brumby says the Government will beef up clearway enforcement practices.

The Government concedes the plan is a short term solution, aimed at bridging the gap between its medium and longer term plans which include purchasing new trams and trains and upgrading roads.

As part its $112.7 million Keeping Melbourne Moving plan, the Government will also extend its tram and bus priority program, devote more to removing broken-down vehicles, fund more cycling and pedestrian facilities and unleash an information campaign for motorists.

The plan forms part of the overall transport strategy of the Government, which is currently looking at the feasibility of Sir Rod Eddington’s comprehensive Investing in Transport report as well as spending more to boost public transport infrastructure as part of its Meeting Melbourne’s Transport Challenges initiative.

The increasing focus on ensuring the State’s transport network can cope with rising traffic levels and greater demand for services has also forced the Government to restructure the Department of Infrastructure.

Brumby says the department will be split to create the Department of Transport in an effort to focus more on delivering transport improvements.

Jim Betts, the current Director of Public Transport, will be appointed Secretary of the Department of Transport.

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