You would have to live under a rock not to know about the East West Link is now the Hottest Potato in Politics in Victoria. Sadly Denis Napthine has no clue as to what people actually want. He is pushing forward with the most expensively ridiculous waste of taxpayer money ever in the Tunnel that no one wants.
He knows he is losing the battle, so in a ditch effort he wants to 'buy off' cycling by adding a shiny new BikeWay. Now, if we have to have the tunnel, this is a little bit of bonus for us to enjoy in 6 to 7 years. that is the expected time the tunnel will take (over budget and time over runs) so during this time we will have to fight to get from the North into the City.
Not only are we in an election year, but we are 60 days out from the election, he is rushing contracts through as quickly as possible. The last time this happened we built a Desalination plant, remember that? The one the Liberals said they would not honour, you know, the one that has NEVER been used yet? That was another White Elephant and the Liberals are trying to force the same situation on to the incoming Labor party. (wow, did he just say incoming).
This election is fast becoming the 'Transport Election' and it will have to decide the long term benefit of a yet another Taxpayer and Investment disgrace. This is not about kissing babys. It is about a 6 year project (that will take longer) that will distroy families and homes, will disrupt those going from the Northern Suburbs down to the CBD and those going to the North for many years (10% of a normal life time almost). It is also the Election of Moving People. We don't seem to care about people getting around anymore, we just seem to care about cars. So Liberals are promising a new bike way or two, let's get this straight - this is a buy off to win back the Cyclist Vote. It is not guaranteed, but is instead an optional extra. The new bikeways are uncosted, they are window dressing and in the West they offer nothing new while removing for many years what is there already. In the East we get to spill into major roads that the cars will not use anymore (like Hoddle St), I mean how stupid can you be? Hoddle St will never reduce in traffic.
I hear you cry that people want to go to the airport, well that would be no problem because if we had better public transport in the East, people would use it and the roads would have less traffic to begin with.
This whole shame reminds me of a famous quote:
Walter Kulash - "Trying to cure congestion with more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt."
The last nail in the coffin for me on this is the endorsement today from Bicycle Network. It raised a red flag to say that this is being done behind the scenes, behind closed doors. Now a lot of people like to demonise Bicycle Network, and even I have had my run ins, but this scares me.
Cycling in Melbourne is way above the normal levels, we have some of the best infrastructure around, some of it is thanks to Bicycle Network, a lot more is thanks to people that get paid nothing to do it. My money is always on what Grass Roots wants. And I stand firm, this will knock us back years for more traffic to ruin what we have as a beautiful city. Time to pick up the placards and put ourselves out to work.
If we allow them to do this, riders will be pushed on to major roads for months and even years while these are butted into place.
If anyone thinks this is a win for cycling in Victoria, be prepared to be disappointed. If you want to see cycling grow in Melbourne, we don't need to be an after thought on an unwanted tunnel.
Here is the best reference for you to jump on:
Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport (YCAT)
Blog based on this Age Article
Cyclists on track for sleek new East West Link route