While I am passionately pro public transport and when I retire from work, I hope to never have to drive a car again. I also want a clear road when I go to work. I have been driving to work along Dandenong Road between Chapel Street and Wattletree Road since about 1993, firstly from Balaclava and now The Highrise. In 1993 I may have very occasionally and silently fumed about traffic lights. In 2013, I fume about the amount of traffic, the traffic lights and idiot drivers. More so the idiot drivers. Naturally, as you would expect, I am a perfect driver.
Over three or more decades I have observed the decline in driving standards. Yet, I will say our roads and drivers are safer than ever. How does that work?
I used to see dangerous driving; speeding, erratic swerving, seriously bad and dangerous driving. Now, all I see is incompetent driving. I am blocked by excessively slow drivers. I am blocked by drivers playing on the phones while sitting at traffic lights. People cross over three lanes because they have just seen where they want to turn, never mind that they should have known they were going to have to turn. Lane discipline has fallen apart, with people wandering over lane lines to their left or right, never mind the people who like two lanes to turn left and seem unable to steer their car into a single turning lane.
I have heard that in Italy, cars move like they are linked together by a steel rod. That is, one car moves, the following one moves. A whole block of cars all move forward simultaneously.
Here in Melbourne, cars seem to be linked by rubber bands. The first car moves forward, the slack in the rubber band is taken up and then the band stretches, and then the next car moves forward, which pulls on the rubber band linked to the car behind which also eventually moves forward, assuming the person was not restraining the rubber band by playing on their phone with their foot on the brake. And then for no apparent reason, someone will brake and destroy any kind of operational but less than perfect symmetry that is underway.
A bit along the way, someone will spy an old bloke in a wheelchair who has turned towards the kerb to check if his taxi is coming. The driver will think he wants to cross the road and slam on their brakes and bring umpteen cars to a stop that were travelling 60 km/h. The bloke in the wheelchair will not notice, as his peers up the road for his taxi.
In some ways, I believe in a bigger population in the inner suburbs. I actually think that has been achieved and there is no need to add even more people to my area of the inner suburbs.What is odd is that inner burbs are easy living and you don't need a car. There is wonderful public transport at your door.
Yet Melbourne is being swamped by cars and car traffic congestion is terrible. Our roads can't cope with the increase in traffic. Our public transport can't cope with the increase in the number of passengers. Yet still our governments bring more and more people in.
I am starting to get a bit angry. Our governments either need to stop people coming to Melbourne to live, or borrow huge amounts of money to invest in infrastructure to cope with the numbers. My living standards are declining, through appalling overcrowding of public transport and even worse crowding on our roads. It is so simple. There are too many people in Melbourne for the services we have.
We are about to hit a population figure of 23 million. A new person is being added to Australia every 1 minute 23 seconds if you do the adding and substracting, and most of them are immigrants. Our services can't cope with the present number of people. Why on earth are we adding even more people?