Sunday, 21 February 2010

More of the same

I always wonder how these millions of people find time to write regular blogs on so many subjects. I have had this account open for months waiting to find time to start writing about my favourite subject. The State election I thought is the perfectt opportunity.

It is often said that there is these days very little to distinguish the two major parties. I think there is a certain truth in that. At the very least in this State, they both furiously agree that one of the most important issues for the State is duplicating the Southern Expressway.

We are told it will cost about $450m. That is on top of the $180m already spent on the Gallipoli Underpass and whatever sum was spent on the Bakewell Underpass, as well as the money that apparently has been set aside for a monstrous great eyesore of a freeway above South Road in the north. In other words, major infrastructure projects for the sole benefit of motorists. I do not recall any cost benefit analysis being undertaken nor do I recall any quoted figures about the number of cars using the roads before and after the infrastructure works and, more importantly, where they came from, where they were going and what time of day they were doing it.

If you ask me, the duplication of the Southern Expressway is the most obscene of the lot. We are told that the one way nature of the road makes us a laughing stock interstate. No evidence is presented to support this. Even if it were true, people like Greg Kelton cannot seriously be suggesting that we should spend $450m because our feelings are hurt at people laughing at us.

The only people I hear whinging about the road in its current form are those who missed it by a couple of minutes and, by extension, feel that there should be a three lane highway wherever they want to go but someone else should pay for it.

The Southern Expressway is actually brilliant. It is painfully obvious that the traffic all moves in one direction in the morning peak and in the opposite direction in the afternoon. Granted there are some cars going the other way but they have available an uncongested South Road at their disposal. The journey perhaps takes an additional 15 minutes but is that really worth $450m?

I assume the new part of the Expressway will be three lanes. If not, and it becomes a two lane highway each side, they are actually reducing the capacity of the road in the morning and afternoon peaks.

Recently, Four Corners showed the plight of parents, some of them single parents, who look after children 24 hours a day with limited assistance. It is wrong to describe it as a "plight" because those parents love their children as deeply as any other parent. The point is that that $450m could be spent on helping those people.

If the money has to be spent on transport infrastructure, it could fund a tram extension to the airport (probably with change) or a new extension along North Terrace and the Parade all the way to Magill.

This looks to be yet another election campaign spent pandering to motorists. The sooner it stops the better.

Read the brilliant Copenhagenize website or David Hebrow's fabulous View from the Cycle Path. Any argument you have heard against spending money on cycling facilities he has heard and demolished. I plan to discuss some of them in upcoming entries - to get it off my chest and to show how the arguments relate to Adelaide. It is potentially the perfect cycling city. It is flat with a temperate climate. The roads are very wide and so have plenty of scope fo removing lanes of traffic to make wide separate cycling paths. It already has public transport corridors travelling north to south and the potential for many more. It could be brilliant.

No comments:

Post a Comment