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The Forum > Article Comments > Congestion > Comments

Congestion : Comments

By Ross Elliott, published 27/11/2012

Congestion just seems to be getting worse. And there are very good reasons why it will continue to get worse.

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This article is just plain weeeird!!

Now let me see if I’ve got it right:

Congestion is a major bug-bear in our cities. It is getting worse. It is caused by continuous population growth - not entirely but this is certainly the biggest factor.

Nothing we can do by way of new roads, encouraging public transport, etc, is likely to make much of a difference. So the biggest thing we can do to stop it getting steadily worse is to quell population growth.

Oh hold on, no….the article doesn’t suggest that! In fact it suggests that population growth is innately good, in fact so innately good that no justification is needed.

So we should look at congestion, and when we are sitting in traffic clog-down, we should think to ourselves;

‘Hey, this isn’t too bad – it is a sign of rapid population growth, and Mr Elliott says that this is a very good thing, and that’s all that really matters. In fact, we should celebrate our congested roads as a sign of a dynamic city, because apparently the only alternative to a congested city is a dying city!

‘We should no longer complain about congestion – we have more serious things to worry about.

‘Like um….the ever-rising prices of everything, while at the same time we are being told that we have a mining boom and really healthy economic growth. Where’s this economic growth at the personal level?

‘And um, our once-off mineral resources are being dug up as rapidly as possible. And it would seem that the wealth being generated from this can’t even keep up with providing all the necessities for our enormous immigration intake, let alone maintain all the basic services and infrastructure for the existing population.

‘And our environment is becoming more degraded.

‘And Gillard is talking about a sustainable Australia, but she is clearly not taking us in that direction, in fact are powering off in the opposite direction!

‘And so on and so on.

Posted by Ludwig, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 8:56:01 AM
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‘Gee….I wonder….could it be……….. Could possibly it be that Mr Elliott’s worship of high and continuous population growth is in fact the primary cause of all these woes and that he is seriously wrong about this?

‘But he is such a guru on the subject of growth and urban planning and policy!

‘No….hold on…. he said that there is no planning that can really tackle congestion. Maybe he’s not such an urban policy guru afterall…………….and I’m strongly getting the feeling that he is seriously not a guru when it comes to population growth!

‘No…..the more I think about it, as I sit here in my car in traffic clog-down in Sydney, is that he is completely and wildly off the rails about this’
Posted by Ludwig, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 8:57:22 AM
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Instead of jumping on your usual bandwagon and slagging off about population growth and our “enormous immigration intake” being responsible for just about every conceivable problem, you might like to address the issue at hand and actually offer something worthwhile – like a suggestion or two (no matter how outlandish) of how to fix the problem.

I agree that the article offers little itself by way of a solution, but it is posted here to inspire discussion by those who are able, for a nanosecond, to think outside the box and suggest any kind of solution to our congestion issues.

For instance, I live in Victoria and I would like to see – for a start – investment (by government NOT private enterprise) in proper, fast-ferry water transport around the bay. I would like to see mandatory light rail accompanying every new highway and tollway. Better that than all the ridiculous sculptures that have been installed along the Eastlink, at great and unnecessary expense. I want to see bullet trains operating between states and cities (God knows they manage it in other countries). I would like to see local governments using our ridiculously high rates to supply free, effective transport for every school age child in their area, to any school within their area. I would like to see public transport concessions honoured by every state, regardless of state of issue. Then I would like to see a stop to cars being claimed as salary sacrifice.

Every city and state has its problems. Every city and state needs to offer a solution. The question is: are we seven countries, or one?

There are any number of alternatives to what we have now. But the biggest hurdle that needs addressing, before any real change can be brought about, is the lack of cooperation between all states, and between state and federal governments. The second biggest is to draw to a close our eagerness to embrace privatization of what should be public assets.
Posted by scribbler, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 9:32:39 AM
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Crikey Scribbler. I’m making a totally valid point.

Yes I make this sort of point often on this forum. Now I wonder why that might be? Perhaps it is because population growth is the elephant in the living room that keeps getting left out of articles in which it should play a very prominent part.

<< ….offer something worthwhile – like a suggestion or two… of how to fix the problem. >>

Erm… there IS a suggestion inherent in my comments: stop population growth, or at least slow it right down. How did you miss that?

So, instead of thinking about every little thing that we might be able to do to alleviate congestion, how about thinking about the really big factors first?

It makes completely no sense for you to be tinkering around the edges while ignoring or refusing to tackle the MAIN PROBLEM here!

For as long as we have high and continuous population growth in our cities, we will have chronic congestion, amongst many other negative factors, no matter what we try to do about it.

Hasn’t this been proven? All the new freeways, toll roads, bridges, tunnels, attempts to get people onto busses and bicycles, etc, hasn’t worked! In fact all it has done is actually facilitate continuous population growth and congestion. The best that can be said about it is that it has allowed us to have quite massive population growth in Sydney, Melbourne, etc without it absolutely clogging us down!

I really think you’re being very wrong-headed in the way you are thinking about this.
Posted by Ludwig, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:58:28 AM
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I actually thought Ross was going to touch the answer when he said 90% of jobs are actually not in the CBD, but like all these planners, he then missed. He even admitted just how inefficient public transport is, except for CBD commuters.

Well mate, the answer is scrub the public transport, just after you scrub the CBD.

He almost touches the fact that most CBD workers are public servants, & the retailers that cater to their personal shopping requirements.

Move the public service out of the city, there is no logical reason for sop many to be there today, & much of the retail will follow them. Spread them in a dozen different locations, & the CBD generated congestion is a thing of the past.

Not only do we save billions in road building & public transport subsidies, especially for public servants, you have piles of high rise office space to convert to apartments. Thus we could get all the greenies, or inner city chattering class if you like, in one place, & that the least green in every state. Ironic hay.

We could save a few offices especially for the planners. Working there might just remind them that we are not all Copenhagen, when they start their modern dreaming.

Now that would be a major change.
Posted by Hasbeen, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 11:10:03 AM
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Well, it a bit like failure to launch, a sort of half whacked comedy, about an adult male, who simply couldn't or would leave his parents house, even when he clearly had all the material elements, that enabled him to fully grasp his very overdue independence!
Capital city congestion is simply a failure to decentralise!
Which parenthetically, really only serves ultra greedy landlords and inner-city redevelopers. [Sydney is arguably, now the most expensive capital city in the world?]
Very rapid rail, [350kph +,] and the decentralisation it would and should produce, if planned sensibly, is the answer.
Rapid rail could almost fund itself, if some of the resumed land near planned station stops, were subdivided by the procuring authority, and sold off later, as relativity low cost urban land!
Land adjacent to the most convenient, low cost, lowest carbon emitting, WI FI equipped, public transport option ever envisioned, would be snapped up!
Moreover, it would allow commuters to use the travel time productively, to study or do online business etc/etc!
And arrive cool calm and collected, and vastly more productive and or forgiving, as a consequence!
Should these new towns or cities, be planned as fully self contained, with their own CBD and industrial estates; self sufficient power and water supplies, they would encourage an unstoppable mass migration!
A migration that would boost state economies, and local manufacture, all while emptying out capital cities to the point, where any new city central infrastructure spending, could be largely eliminated; and or, replaced by essential maintenance only!
Posted by Rhrosty, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 11:19:57 AM
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