Media Releases | 29th Mar, 2004

Traffic Bill takes Melbourne streets back to “dark ages”

Tuesday, 30 March 2004

City and suburban streets would become over-burdened with traffic if a regressive State Government proposal gets the green light, said Victoria’s peak conservation body.

The proposal, outlined in the Roads Management Bill, aimed to improve traffic flow and speed with more clearways, said Environment Victoria (EV) transport campaigner Cathy McNaughton.

But, she said, by promoting driving the Bill would reduce parking, destroy the character of some of Melbourne’s most loved shopping centres, threaten businesses and even jeopardise avenues of honour.

“Clearways during business hours can ruin local businesses and make shopping strips unbearable for pedestrians and customers,” she said.

“Few people enjoy sipping coffee with traffic roaring at their elbow.

“While other cities worldwide are seeking to reduce traffic and create more livable cites this Bill takes Melbourne back to the dark ages.”

Ms McNaughton said the Bill also denied any avenues for independent review of VicRoads decisions, including upgrading streets from local to arterial roads, closing road access and introducing new clearways.

“An independent panel must consider disputes about road changes. If other land use and development proposals can be sent to VCAT or an independent panel, then so too should VicRoads.”

She said the Bill conflicted with the Government’s Melbourne 2030 Strategy, which aimed to reduce traffic and upgrade shopping centres, public transport, and walking and cycling areas.

“EV believes the Bill should be amended so roads cater for traffic and public transport, pedestrians, cyclists, shopping centres, historic avenues and roadside vegetation and allow an opportunity for independent review of road proposals.

“If the Government and VicRoads are serious about a greener and healthier transport system let’s see it written into the Roads Management Bill.”

The Bill was prepared by VicRoads to meet their regional road priorities and manage civil liability claims on road maintenance, and will go before Parliament in the session starting March 30.