I suppose it would be similar for Melbourne. Don't quote me for the exact years or speed but in Sydney back in the days of old, say 1915, the average speed of travel was 14 kph. Very few cars then. So it would be trams, horses, bicycles, walking and ferries.
We've come a long way baby. But not with travel speed. In Sydney, it is currently the same, 14 kph.
Wednesday's terrible traffic problems in Melbourne really make me wonder. When I drove to work along Queen's Rd and Dandenong Road, the traffic in the other direction was stationary for the whole distance to Wattletree Road. There must have been a couple of hundred trucks in the mix. If you are not in Melbourne, this is a distance of around say six or seven kilometres and varies from two lanes in Queens Road to five lanes in Dandenong Road.
What if there was never a motorway built between Dandenong and the City? Obviously the traffic woul.d not have been like it was on Wednesday. How would people and goods be transported from the east to and through the city? Is five lanes in both directions, albeit with traffic lights not enough? Would it have killed the development of the outer east of Melbourne? Would it have killed the resurgence of inner Melbourne?
What about the Tulla Freeway and West Gate Bridge? What if they were never built? What if the Geelong and Ballarat freeways were never built? What if the only way to Bendigo was along Sydney Road?
While it is hard to imagine life without these major roads and freeways, they weren't always there. How much would the lack of them restricted the growth of Melbourne into a city of international standards?
City Link was promised as a solution to traffic congestion and one would not mind paying the high price it charges if it was. But it has clearly failed. Having travelled to Frankston a few times lately, sometimes via City Link and freeway, sometimes via Nepean Highway and Frankston Freeway and once clinging to the seaside road, time wise, it is not terribly different. The coastal road was the most pleasant. Ah, but wait until the Ringwood to Frankston tollway opens. It will be a really quick trip then. City Link, Monash Freeway, East Link. Not so sure.
Let me guess a radio traffic bulletin in 2012. East Link is congested at Monash Freeway and again at Princes Highway. Traffic is a bit slow where the Nepean Highway meets, Vic Roads is showing total travel time, Ringwood to Frankston, sixty five minutes. West Gate Bridge Top is stationary, West Gate Bridge Lower, heavy and reduced to sixty kph. Tulla is very congested where the Calder meets and Western Ring Road is stationary.
I don't know what, but there has got to be a better way and I am sure it involves metal tracks, buses, skinny rubber wheels, mopeds and foot power AND if your children have legs, they can walk you know.