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?
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: http://www.urbantaskforce.com.au/history.php