Blue Mountains Conservation Society
Our mission is to help conserve the natural environment of the Greater Blue Mountains
and to increase awareness of the natural environment in general.


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TRANSPORT PLANNING - Build More Roads and Airports, or Re-Think?

 

©Ross Coster
[Convenor of Blue Mountains Conservation Society No Badgerys Creek Airport Subcommittee]


On a recent holiday I gained a few kilograms, as I love to eat! None of my clothes fit me anymore. Should I lose some weight, or buy all new clothes? Next holiday, when I gain more weight, should I buy all new clothes again?

The M4 Motorway is operating beyond capacity in peak hours every day, turning into a parking lot at times. Do we need to add more lanes? Next time the M4 hits congestion, should we add even more lanes? When do we stop and re-think? When the M4 is 6 lanes, 8, 10, more?

Perhaps we could talk to the people in the cars on the Motorway, ask them why they don't catch the train, attempt to remove the public transport obstacles that make them drive.

Reduce the traffic to fit the road!

Sometime in the 2030's Sydney Airport at Mascot will be congested and no more flight slots will be available. Bigger planes will allow some passenger growth, but beyond that we will have problems leading to personal and economic consequences. Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne will also be congested and 'needs' another runway.

So what do we do? Build another Airport in Sydney? Build another runway in Melbourne?

NO!

We dig into the flight data, find out why people fly, where to, and look for alternatives.
Alternatives that do not massively increase noise pollution, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and risk.
Alternatives that do not run on precious fossil fuels.

We look for a clean, safe, fast way of moving people and goods that can be run on renewable energy.

We discover that 8 million people per year fly Mascot to Tullamarine or vice-versa, contributing to congestion at both Airports.

We discover that High Speed Rail is the answer in both cities.

High Speed Rail

Zero Carbon Australia have produced an amazing plan for an East Coast High Speed Rail, which you can read about here: http://media.bze.org.au/hsr/HSR_web_01_medium.pdf

This research and planning effort is a collaboration of Beyond Zero Emissions, the German Aerospace Centre and University of Melbourne. They have designed the route, the stations, the speeds, even the train timetable! The project is fully costed, and $30 Billion cheaper than the plan prepared by Infrastructure Australia. The HSR network will pay for itself over its first 40 years, runs on renewable electricity, and gets you to Melbourne faster than flying.

Some recent articles have been appearing promoting the HSR idea, including this one that says HSR could solve the housing affordability 'crisis'.

http://www.domain.com.au/news/a-fast-train-would-be-a-quick-fix-for-housing-affordability-20150625-ghrwil/

An interesting idea, people commuting from Goulburn to Sydney in 44 minutes.

An article in a Murdoch publication says that the only thing holding us back is inertia:
"Before it was axed by Abbott government in November 2013, the High Speed Rail Advisory Group released a report arguing the biggest threat to high-speed rail in Australia was not cost or any other obstacle, but "inertia" — brought about by perceptions a bullet train was unrealistic or would simply take too long to build."

"According to an independent report into high-speed rail released by think tank Beyond Zero Emissions last year, Australia is the only continent — barring Antarctica — not to commit to high-speed rail. Even the US has plans in the works to commit to high-speed rail as early as next year."
To read more, Google "Australian high speed rail: The little engine that can't".

One of the members of Residents Against Western Sydney Airport (RAWSA) has been promoting the idea of building the Sydney to Newcastle section first, as a kick-start for the whole project, but also to allow Sydney residents to access the Airport at Williamtown.

This Airport has been recently upgraded to handle International flights, has no curfew, and has minimal effect on residents.

I do not understand how anyone could want to build a second Airport, or another runway, when High Speed Rail could solve so many problems.

This great project is sitting on the shelf, 'spade ready', just waiting for Government action.

© Ross Coster
nwsa@bluemountains.org.au