Smart Roads and Activity Centres

The Priority Bus Lane

By Kevin Biaggini

VicRoads and its Smart Roads Policy, Activity Centres and all the other Vested Interests. What it means for US.

Thursday night March 24th at PTUA (Public Transport Users Association), Andrew Wall from VicRoads did a presentation on the concept of SmartRoads and what it meant to them and what it would mean for us.

It seems to hinge on the concept of Activity Centres and if that’s so then the pressure to introduce those activity centres will increase. He said that 29 of the 31 councils had accepted the concept of such centres. He did not indicate which were the two non-accepting councils as asked, only to say that they were councils who probably wanted no cars at all. I asked him about culture-explaining that my concept of Vicroads was a cars-first culture. He agreed and said that he wanted to get ideas and feedback from folks such as us to take back to his principals.

Its an interesting new concept he is flagging, looking at traffic in point of persons carried and not cars moved. Thats new, isn’t it? For VicRoads it is! It could have been a fantastic media beat-up to lull us into submission, or is that just my paranoia?

What do they mean by activity centre you ask?  What do people do at activity centres?

SmartRoads VicRoads

Activity Centres

During the PTUA presentation, Andrew Wall put up on his screen illustrations of Kew Junction as a good example of how a shopping centre Hub could benefit from changes as set out in the Smart Road Presentation. That is to say, it would benefit hugely if Kew Junction was to declared a ‘ major activity centre ‘.

Well guess what people? At this time of writing, Boroondara Council ( which has lordship over Kew ) is campaigning  to install an Activity Centre culture through its part of the city.

“He said the revised strategy, taking into consideration community views, would be submitted to state Planning Minister Matthew Guy for a final decision.

Mr Guy confirmed there were “a number of changes to the Boroondara Planning Scheme currently with the government”. ”

Is Banyule Next?

Now Read On, its gets all the smell of a fiendish plot:

Federal Liberal Plan for Cities

“Setting out an ambitious … plan yesterday for the development of Melbourne to 2030, [Federal Shadow Environment Minister Greg] Hunt said the city should bury overhead transmission wires, put overpasses and underpasses around every level rail crossing, divert industrial traffic away from the city through an ‘orbital network’ of roads and distribution centres, and progressively transfer port-related activity from Melbourne to Portland, Corio and Hastings. He said each of the capital cities needed a bipartisan integrated planning commission, made up of the three tiers of government and drawing on planning, social and business sectors to develop 30-year plans for open spaces, city boundaries, rail and road arteries, future water supplies, potential economic hubs and future port and transport terminals. To free the commission from controversy, its recommendations to state and local authorities should not be binding, but cities would be held to account by federal performance targets under a national liveability index.

“Mr Hunt said Australian cities were some of the most liveable in the world and were not broken, ‘but they are damaged. There is real damage to social cohesion in some sections of our cities where community has broken down … There is also erosion of quality of life where the corridors designed to limit congestion have become clogged’. … Mr Hunt said the state could make $1 billion by selling off land reserved for overhead transmission cables, which were an unpopular ‘dead space’ through the middle suburbs. Underground cabling could be done for less than $50 million. Reclaimed land could be used for housing and public use. More controversially, he said medium-density commercial and residential properties could be built in the waste space’ over rail lines and train stations, which he said would have to be in keeping with ‘local character.” (Stuart Rintoul, The Australian, 7/3/11)

Urban Task Force is an organization for developers.

On the morning of March 29th on television news the spokesman for Urban Task Force Australia said that Australians need to know that restricting population growth will force property prices down in the near future. He said that most Australian Cities were reaching the end of sustainability of their roads.

Here is the Urban Task Force’s own website for you to read:


About Friends of Banyule Inc

President & Public Officer of Friends of Banyule Inc, a community not- for-profit organisation to enhance and protect the environmental assets of Banyule City. Currently fighting the proposed NE Link freeway through one of inner Melbourne's most ecologically sensitive areas and historical areas.
This entry was posted in Activity Centres, Car Dependency, Population Growth, Public Transport, Smart Roads, SmartBus, Uncategorized, Urban Growth Boundary, Vic Roads and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Smart Roads and Activity Centres

  1. Sharon Marks says:

    Kevin, thanks for such an interesting review of the PTUA organisation’s meeting. There certainly appears to be conflicting directions being mooted from our political leaders and I for one wouldn’t trust VicRoads as far as I could throw them.

    As an ex-NSW person, I hear with dismay from family and friends about the rampant destruction of the green spaces in Sydney with Developers seeming to have free-range over the past 10 years, all at the expense of community and local ammenity. No wonder when I take a look at how well organised the developers are with the ‘Urban Task Force’ website you pointed me to.

    The people in NSW have spoken recently with their electoral voices and said ‘enough is enough’. It is so important that we in Victoria keep up the pressure on our political leaders to deliver on their election promises for Public Transport improvements that will result in much better outcomes for our city. More freeways will not solve the issue of congestion on our roads and it would be environmental & liveability suicide for Banyule.

  2. VivKay says:

    On the road to nowhere in Victoria – The Age April 9th
    “Bob Birrell, co-director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University, is pessimistic about how Victoria might meet its infrastructure challenges. He warned Victoria was now receiving a disproportionately large 28 per cent share of Australia’s foreign migrant intake, up from about 27 per cent when the recent surge began six years ago, with little thought being put into the broader ramifications”.

    ”When it comes to those big-ticket items like the Eddington proposal – road tunnels and a massive expansion of the public transport system – these things are desperately necessary, but they are beyond the capacity of the state government to provide, and even if they were, it would be a decade before they are finished,” Mr Birrell said. ”As long as these numbers keep going, it is going to get worse.”

    Our population growth from interstate, but mostly from overseas, adds to up to 1500 new people in Melbourne each week. This is choking our infrastructure, or finances, our “planning” – usually means more people living in high-density housing – and our environment. To reduce our reliance on “green” energy by 2020 is becoming more expensive and prohibitive, and water costs can only continue to escalate.

    Planning roads and swelling transport needs is a job far too difficult for our State government to manage. It’s like a python that’s swallowed a mammal far too difficult to swallow, and at the same time the animal growing! Melbourne’s whole infrastructure and layout was not planned for up to 8 million people, and it’s not in our interests socially, economically or environmentally.

  3. VivKay says:

    The Age Letter published Mon 18th April:

    Overpopulate and we will perish

    DENNIS O’Connell (Letters, 16/4) tells us that the state government must fund public transport infrastructure, not freeways, but fails to mention the elephant in the room – population growth.

    After 11 years of neglect of public transport by Labor, the Baillieu government cannot provide efficient and expanded public transport for the current population, let alone for the hordes descending on Victoria at the rate of 1500 a week.

    The answer is, as propounded by the gurus of sustainable population – business tycoon Dick Smith and the federal member for Wills, Kelvin Thomson – for the federal government to reduce skilled migration to levels in force under previous governments and take measures, such as expanding technical colleges, to train skilled workers instead of importing them.

    Melbourne is fast becoming one of the most unliveable cities in the world, with unaffordable housing and the corresponding growth of homelessness, traffic congestion, raw sewage pumped into creeks when the drains can’t cope, and overcrowded transport – plus scarcity of hospital beds. Most people just don’t get it – if we overpopulate, we perish.

    Lewis Prichard, Hawthorn

    PS: Population growth is outstripping funding – both Victorian and Federal. We end up with an addiction cycle due to lack of manufacturing, production and exports. Thus – to solve the shortfall? Add more people! It’s an unsustainable downward cycle into poverty and dept.

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