Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The people, oh the people

In about 1982 we were living in East Malvern and traffic was quite heavy in Waverley Road where it joined Malvern Road. A year or two later the South Eastern Freeway was extended further inward to Toronga Road and lo and behold, the traffic in Waverley Road was gone. How good are freeways! Yet, a decade or more later I was in the area and inexplicably, Waverley Road was even worse than it had been ten years earlier. That is two lanes of inbound to the city traffic sitting stationary. Why aren't they on the freeway? Oh, that is two lines of stationary traffic too.

Then came City Link, which is marvellous unless you want to use it in peak times. My teeth gnash as I sit in stationary traffic and know I am paying directly from my pocket for the experience. Liberal Party politicians are fond of saying, what would Melbourne be like without City Link and a widening of the pay roads they took over from the government that were previously free to use. I would suggest during peak times, the traffic would be no worse.

I think it was before City Link when the Ring Road opened. Almost from day one it was disaster. It wasn't too long before it had to be remade and widened, and is still a horrible road to drive on and is regularly congested.

The Calder Interchange on the Tullarmarine Freeway used to get horribly congested and the government spent millions re-designing it and the design was good. But guess what. It now gets horribly congested.

The government spent a huge amount and caused a long period of inconvenience while it had the Monash Freeway widened and improved. Yep, that would be the road you sit on in your barely moving car. 

Sister was the first person to drive me along the new Hallam bypass some years ago. We agreed, two lanes in each direction did not allow for an increase in traffic and my hasn't traffic increased, to the point where cars more often than not in peak traffic are stationary.

Let's build a bypass around Geelong. Well, many cars use it, but traffic along the main route through Geelong but I would suggest it is no better and just as congested as ten years ago.

But this is the clincher for me. When we first moved to The Highrise some Friday nights the traffic would get into a horrible mess, with traffic banked up down St Kilda Road and and cars from Toorak Road blocking up the intersection and I thought it was a bank up of traffic trying to get onto the West Gate Freeway. When the entrance to the West Gate Freeway was redesigned and built at a huge cost and with the addition of massive flyovers, I thought the problem would be solved. It was not. The traffic below The Highrise is in a mess every night now. It is the sheer volume of traffic. My journey time from work to home has increased immensely. I am really not happy.

A huge expenditure on public transport is needed, but that will only ameliorate the problem. The real problem is the the huge population growth, mostly from immigration, permanent and non permanent. While a higher birth rate is regularly mentioned, what is not pointed out is that is immigrants with the higher birthrate.

Australia has built its economy, and quite successfully so far, on a Ponzi scheme of huge population growth.  Meanwhile, we suffer a lowering of our living standards by such a high population growth. Ponzie schemes eventually collapse and I have no reason to think Australia won't at some point in the future. Eventually our major cities transport systems will just grind to a halt, that is the roads, the trams and the trains.

The answer? Stop population growth. It will mean a collapse of many industries and as we are a rich country, we will assist all of those affected. We then catch up on infrastructure by borrowing money at very low interest rates because we can and then perhaps think about increasing our population.

13 comments:

  1. Less population works for me. It isn't as if the vast majority of us add anything worth-while anyway.

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    1. Less population........oh I wish

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    2. Andrew, be more tolerant. Your country is so huge. So much more people can develop industry and help economy..

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    3. EC, well the immigrants add a lot our economy, but is high immigration a sustainable manner to keep your country's economy growing?

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    4. Surely not a problem where you live John.

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  2. Most people no doubt wish to live within and in the city areas where there is not enough room anymore. Everyone wants a car, each member of the family usually has one. Australia is vast but you wouldn't and can't live in most of it as there is no water, or the bore water would kill you.
    Congestion of cars is a huge problem, and if only we had the answers

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    1. WA, that does rather sum it up, but so many less cars would be needed if our public transport was improved. Yes, most of our vast country is inhabitable, but your bit isn't!!!

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  3. Stop the EW Tunnel nonsense and put the $876532378997654321157 into public transport, trams and trains, instead.

    But refugees and migrants become the best citizens in every generation. We need to encourage them, not drown them or lock them behind razor wire.

    If Melbourne and Sydney are too crowded, other cities are desperate for population.

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    1. Hels, yes, money into public transport is what is required. I keep the two matter of refugees and Australia's population very separate.

      You may well find population growth is already a matter of concern in our large regional cities.

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  4. Don't talk about traffic ! In Brussels it's horrible traffic jams all the time ! They enlarged streets, built new once but it gets only worse ! You have to be a patient person to drive in Brussels otherwise you get a nervous breakdown !

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    1. Gattina, that is the very point. They enlarged the streets and what happened? The streets filled with cars.

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  5. Said it before and I'll say it again: build dams and pipelines to bring water to the interior so towns and cities can be developed to take the extra population. People only flock to the coast because there is nowhere else. Develop the middle and watch the (gradual) change happen. Then bring back the railways system for delivering goods to those new places (and to the old ones) Cheaper and faster than trucks on roads.

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    1. River, I expect big business and governments have reasons for keeping us in compact areas along our coasts. For sure get trucks off roads where rail can do it better.

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