Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mr Newman's road obsession continues

An article in the (also road obsessed) Courier Mail's website mentions 5 options for upgrading the congested Kingsford Smith Drive. These options vary between a minimal $255m option, a $1.35b Riverside Expressway clone (seriously are politicians that stupid?), and a $3.2b double deck road tunnel.  It is quoted in the article that "Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said council had no option but to upgrade the road, which was already overloaded with almost 5000 vehicles an hour in peak times". Well Mr Newman, it may come as a shock, but there is a 6th option called public transport. Many "world class" cities have now discovered that building more roads just results in more traffic congestion. Sadly, the stuck in the 1960's Brisbane City Council seem to be hell bent on building more and more roads towards an totally unsustainable car based future. Even the financial difficulties of RiverCity Motorways (Clem7) has failed to ring alarm bells. The Queensland Government's Connecting 3031 plan also has rather poor projected mode shares for public and active transport.

There are plenty of public transport based solutions that could serve this part of Brisbane, which includes the Hamilton Northshore and Australia Trade Coast areas. There is already the heavily under-utilised Doomben Line, which has trains so infrequent that Velociraptors regularly have to be cleared from the tracks. An easy duplication and extension of this line, combined with considerable frequency improvements could serve Northshore Hamilton, with feeder bus services to the sprawling Australia Trade Coast. One 6-car train could take more than 600 cars off the road (that's an empty car lane for 20 minutes!). Other options could include Light Rail (LRT) or Busway along Kingsford Smith Drive (in place of extra car lanes) and into the CBD.

A fair proportion of the traffic along the "congested" Kingsford Smith Drive is to and from Brisbane Airport. Yet, Airtrain run one of the world's most infrequent airport train services, with no other public transport alternative. No wonder the roads are busy! Brisbane urgently needs it politicians and decision makers to realise that they need to seriously invest in public transport instead of turning Brisbane into one giant expressway.

Update 15/11/2010

Another Courier Mail website article here. Apparently the Northshore Hamilton development will add up to 2,200 cars per hour in the am peak, and 3,000 cars per hour in the pm peak to Kingsford Smith Drive by 2026. As usual, no mention in the article of the best solution - public transport. A train every 15 minutes in the peaks, along an extended Doomben Line would be able to support these loads. Busways or LRT into the CBD are another option. So why are SE Queensland's politicians insistent on just building more roads as the solution? This definitely is not the "Smart State".


  1. I'm surprised that we have this renewed interest in Kingsford Smith Drive. After all, the investment now known as Airport Link was originally slated to go via the Kingsford Smith Drive alignment. Only later was it routed via Kedron Park.

    I'd like to see if the opening of Airport Link has a fair impact on Kingsford Smith Drive.

    As for the Doomben Line, well, it goes the long way around and services suburbs that are relatively well off. Have fun convincing people to upgrade that service!

  2. Well BrizCommuter.

    I really don't understand Tunnel-Vision Newman's obsession with road transport. Like you said, if you build more roads, more cars will be on the road. The problem continues. He's spent nearly $5 BILLION of our city's money on tunnels no one uses. The future of Brisbane is not cars, it's subways, separated bike lanes, and more trains.

    Campbell Newman's lack of foresight makes me sick.


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