Maybe I held our previous Labor Planning Minister up to higher expectations because he was a part of the a Labor government. I expected little from our present Liberal Planning Minister Matthew Guy and he certainly hasn't disappointed me. I am not going to leave myself open for a legal attack, but what an extraordinary thing that Phillip Island business was. Never mind our city heritage buildings being demolished before our eyes.
Now Minister Guy wants to extend high rise buildings to the south, east and west of the city. Well we already have them to south and west. What's the big deal about a few more? Oh, there is that one little pocket not for high rise in the suggested area, coincidentally preventing a tall building being built where it would block the wealthy residents' view from Domain.
The idea of developing areas where there is already good infrastructure sounds good. The very inner suburbs maybe five kilometres from the city do generally have good infrastructure, especially if you are talking about public transport. Let us look at South Yarra, a fine area and new accommodation buildings, low rise and high rise are going up left right and centre. It has the infrastructure, the call goes out.
No it doesn't, not anymore. Train and trams are already crowded to the point where people can no longer fit on and have to wait for the next one, hoping, often in vain, that it will not be so full. The major South Yarra Roads are mostly stationary, with cars and trams. It is somewhat amusing to see a tram a with one hundred people on it sitting in stop start traffic along Toorak Road with a single driver in each car.
When Melbourne High students leave school in the afternoon and head for South Yarra Station, they make an impenetrable wall of bodies and no one can pass in the opposite direction.
The entrance to South Yarra Station is woefully undersized for the numbers who use the station. In the morning peak you might see fifty people get off each passing tram and another one hundred try to squeeze on. The station badly needs enlarging and renovating and the trams need to be larger, more frequent and get a better run.
Speaking of station renovations, what has happened to the Balaclava Station? Richmond? The new Southland Station? I just checked the timetable due to start in April this year and runs to December, and the Cardinia Road Station apparently won't be open by then. God, it is not much more than a bus stop. Apparently more electric in the wires are needed. Who would have thunk that in advance?
In some areas there may well be what seems to be good infrastructure, but it all seems to suffer from neglect.
While I well may romanticise London's Tube, it is a constant work in progress. Blackfriars Station is the latest to be renewed. Much to Tube commuters' frustration, it is a work in constant progress, unlike patch it up and she'll be right attitude to our public transport.