Tuesday, March 06, 2012

That Guy, yes Matthew Guy

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.


  1. Infrastructure all over Australia suffers from neglect. If only they'd see the light and improve things to the point where people didn't have to use their cars. A nationwide network of road and rail. Train or tram lines paralleling every main road. Bus access to these from every suburb. underpasses, overpasses.....enough to accomodate all the immigrants they want to bring in, as well as the people already here.

  2. You are asking a conservative government to be worried about public transport or about the control of rampant development? I don't think so!

    I doubt if any member of a conservative government has ever travelled by tram or train. Or their children. And why would they care about ordinary working families when their constituents are the Big End of town.

    I am happy to bet that you won't see Portsea over developed.

  3. River, it sounds like many European countries. The least we need to do is stop population growth until we catch up a bit.

    Hels, Turnbull regularly travels by bus and train. He would be the exception though. What you say about the Big End of town, well that is obvious to you and to me. Why don't most voters get that? You are probably right about Portsea, although the old rich do battle against the new rich, which is rather fun for we proletariat to watch. Ballieu v Fox over helicopter pad. Council v Lew over pool.

  4. Public transport is so far behind the eight ball it will never catch up with the population growth, by the time it does we'll all be piloting flying electric cars :-).

  5. This reminds me of Sydney's Town Hall station, just about the busiest on the network, with woefully inadequate platform space. Even in mid afternoon before the evening peak which is the most common time I find myself waiting to board a train from there I'm afraid to walk along the platform. It is so narrow I worry that some nutter will push me or some other passenger onto the track. No Government has found a solution apart from announcing plans for new lines to criss cross the existing ones, plans that never turn into action.

  6. One might be tempted to think the "trickle down effect" is a nonsense - but I'm sure the Peninsula Link Freeway has been built largely for the benefit of those with weekenders at Portsea. Frankston is grateful for the incidental benefit.

    You've spoken before of sewerage reaching our bay from time to time. Is this a result of decay within 5km of the city?

    While idling in Hoddle St last weekend I wondered if others - like myself, would be happy to park somewhere between 5 or 10 km out of town and take public transport if there was somewhere to park, and transport to take? Unfortunately the city boundaries seem to stretch further and further without any thought at all - [if nothing else, Cranbourne extending to Portsea might prompt some action].
    etc etc etc

  7. Windsmoke, it will cost billions of dollars. It rather depends on what sort of city or country we want to live in.

    Victor, I remember writing about Town Hall Station after our Sydney visit in about 2005. It was truly scary and I suppose it is worse now. I never experienced anything like that in London or Tokyo.

    FruitCake, in my experience, freeways seem to fail quite soon after they are built. It will help for a time. At least it will end the bank up/bottle neck at the end of you know where. The sewerage into the bay is the result of excessive storm water run off. I will have another crack at that soon.

  8. PS Cranbourne coming to Portsea. I'd like to see that!

  9. What IS happening with the Southland station?

  10. Fen, I don't think it was in this year's budget. I expect it will be in next year's.