Media release: Cyclists slam car tunnels as sink holes for taxpayer dollars and community amenity

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10 March 2011

Cyclists slam car tunnels as sink holes for taxpayer dollars and community amenity

The Brisbane Central Business District Bicycle User Group (CBD BUG) has slammed the Queensland Government for its road tunnelling mindset, after it was revealed in a previously unpublished 2008 technical report prepared for the Coordinator-General that dramatic traffic increases will clog a large number of Brisbane’s northern suburbs roads after the $4.8 billion Airport Link tunnel between Bowen Hills and Toombul opens next year.

CBD BUG spokesman Paul French said the report proves what was already known from the experiences of a multitude of other jurisdictions – that building more road space for cars does not eliminate traffic congestion – it simply moves it around to create more bottlenecks elsewhere.

The alarming possibility for taxpayers is that they may now have to stump up for yet another tunnel, this time under Stafford Road, apparently under consideration to cater for the significant additional traffic travelling to and from Airport Link. According to Mr French this perfectly exhibits the total futility of building additional roads for cars, because you continue to have to build even more roads to deal with the traffic congestion arising from the previous project.

“The road tunnel network currently under construction is largely replicating the 1960’s motorways planning of the Department of Main Roads. Government attempts to solve Brisbane’s traffic congestion by digging tunnels are an out-dated approach that is both economically irresponsible and socially damaging. The 1960’s motorway network devised for Brisbane will be redundant withf the upwardly spiralling petrol prices of this millennium” Mr French said.

“This state’s wealth from the mining boom is being squandered on white elephant projects for motorists instead of building the sustainable and environmentally friendly public and active transport system that Brisbane residents have been call on the government to implement. You only have to look to Melbourne with its extensive light rail system built with the wealth from the 1850’s gold rush, to see how a public transport system can serve a large community for well over 100 years. But, the Queensland Government makes the mind-boggling decision on ‘cost grounds’ to defer delivering the Cross River Rail Link until four years after the local rail system reaches 100% capacity” he said.

In a de facto admission that public and active transport modes such as cycling are the only genuine solutions to traffic congestion the State Government is apparently planning a cycleway and transit lanes to reduce demand for car travel on the soon to be completely traffic clogged Stafford Road.

However, Mr French pointed out that north side commuters may have to endure years of traffic delays due to the time interval between the Airport Link’s 2012 opening and the suggested traffic congestion solutions being installed. Furthermore, real solutions to traffic congestion – improved rail, bus and active transport networks – could have been built for a fraction of the Airport Link’s massive financial and social prices to the community.

Ends

Media contact: Paul French
0423 974 825
convenors@cbdbug.org.au

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