Wednesday, September 9, 2009

City vs Suburbs - Is the new undercity loop win/win?

  • 100 million underground station at Parkville.
  • 14 extra trains an hour to western and northern suburbs.
  • Links from inner city to the west to Stkilda rd district.

On paper there seems to be something for everyone here. It's a nice showcase project for Brumby to bring to the next election, given public transport could potentially be a achilles heel issue for him.

The question people from the suburbs, particuarly those in the outer suburbs should ask, is this really good value for money for them? There are those that argue that the inner city is already well serviced by many modes of transport. They have trams, trains and buses that run frequently compared to the suburbs which have only buses which run every 30 minutes or so.

Of course, with a growing population, many will argue that there is always room to expand capacity, and that's what Brumby is doing with this project. There are benefits of having a denser and more populated inner city, which will bring a new vibrancy and buzz to town. Then again, will there be more violence and crime?

What about those that argue for a decentralization of Melbourne? Development of so called transport hubs in the "middle suburbs". So people can work more locally, rather than take the hike into or across town? Are these too hard, or importantly less visible for a premier preparing for an election?

Unfortunately this project is likely to reinforce the "Tale of two cities". A great inner city, and CBD, and those "wasteland" suburbs. How long can these wasteland suburbs be swept under the rug before rearing their ugly head in terms of cbd and innercity violence?

So what do you think? Is it time for some political leadership, in order to tackle outer suburban infrastructure?

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