I thought the evidence was pretty obvious by now that spending massive amounts of money on freeways, tunnels and extra road space inevitably just leads to more people using cars, with a corresponding increase in pollution levels and a return to the traffic congestion levels that were used to justify the major roadworks in the first place.
Despite this, the Brisbane City Council, with a Liberal Lord Mayor, enthusiastically supported by the Labor State Government, have taken a major step towards locking the city in to at least 2 tunnels which will cost at least two billion dollars each. Yet those who argue for more money for public transport will be told it’s too expensive!
The online version of the local Courier-Mail is seeking public comment. Click here to read the comments to date and to get other information on the issue.
As the first reader comment states, the recent House of Representatives Environment Committee Inquiry into Sustainable Cities showed that:
“cities where public transport travel is faster than car travel spend less on transport (both road and public transport) and have greater economic growth. The sales pitch of Build Roads to reduce congestion and save our Economy is false advertising at its worst.
The first tunnel, known as the North-South Bypass, will run from near the Gabba under the Brisbane River to near the Exhibition Grounds, coming out around intersections which already get clogged from traffic coming off the existing Inner City Bypass.
While the next tunnel, the so-called Airport Link (which doesn’t actually go to the airport, but instead links to an arterial road which already gets clogged every morning with people trying to get to the airport) has yet to be approved, it will be an inevitability if the North-South Bypass is built, as the demand to solve the logjam it will create at its northern exit will be deafening.
Exhaust stacks to release the traffic fumes from the tunnel will be about as high as the floodlight towers at the Gabba. The towers will not filter the exhaust fumes. Strangely enough, the Council has been very reticent where the towers are likely to go, but one will have to be situated very close to the Royal Brisbane Hospital.
More pollution, greater traffic, bigger debt for the Council – it’s amazing what politicians can get away with just by promising a few minutes off the trip in the car. And of course by the time the promise is shown to be so much hot (and polluted and very expensive) air, the politician will be long retired, and future generations will be stuck carrying the can.