Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Trains discounted forever in Government transport plans

During consultation last year, the Queensland State Government ignored and rejected any discussion put forward about reviewing options for Cairns' transport that was not road based.
"Some people asked why a bus-based system was being investigated over rail systems," the Transport and Main Roads department says in their September update.
"The opportunity to use existing heavy rail for urban public transport has been investigated, but studies show that a bus-based system can provide more flexible and frequent services to get people to the places the want to go."
What a huge cop out for innovative thinking that will address the serious vehicular congestion, that is getting worse every year with our population growth.
The existing road infrastructure around and through Cairns is bursting at the seams and is simply not coping. The main route from Gorndonvale to the city via Edmonton, Mt Sheridan, Woree, Earlville and along Mulgrave Road, is the most serious concerns for local vehicle commuters. This is followed closely by the pressure on the Northern route from Smithfield to Sherdian Street.
To blindly put blinkers on and discount any other option, unless it is vehicle / road based form of transport, is such backward thinking in this age where the motor vehicle is causing our small town such expensive headaches.
The only way to deal with this is to move vehicles off the road, and therefore its commuters into a rail-based transport network.
Adding bus lanes alone is not a solution to the twice-daily grid lock that we all experience.
In reviewing last year's consultation, the Queensland Government says that bus-based systems suit cities like Cairns that "have a range of housing types and a rapidly growing population." What the? What kind of pills are these public servants on that make up this rubbish? Housing types?
The Government believes that bus transport is going to be the magic wand to fix all our our transport woes.
"Bus transport transit systems provide the flexibility and affordability of a bus with the comfort and reliability of rail travel. Bus rapid transit system can carry a similar number of people per hour as light rail with greater frequency," Queensland Transport says in reviewing the way forward for the Cairns and Bruce Highway upgrade plans.
In a olive branch, they say that the project team have been investigating "environmental issues such as creek crossings, noise and flooding."
Little attention has been given to an integrated cycle network, that could compliment and take pressure off the main vehicle routes.
The Cairns Transit Network review, follows another report commissioned in 2005, called the Cairns Integrated Public Transport Plan, that was done between the then Council and the State Government. Much of the same discussion has been had by the same Labor Government, four and a half years on.
In April 2005, Minister Lucas said that "substantial public consultation has occurred to determine the current performance of the Cairns public transport system and identify the transport options that the community will require in the future."
He said that through that consultation, a set of key strategies and actions was developed.
"The State Government has provided an extra $1 million in annual funding to boost bus services, and $3million for bus priority infrastructure, to address issues identified by the study," Minister Paul Lucas said in 2005.
"Cairns City Council has incorporated the public transport network plan into its CairnsPlan to help guide future city development. The measures that are being put in place by the State Government and the Council as a result of this study will provide ongoing improvements to
public transport services in the Region. We urge residents to use public transport wherever possible."
So what has been achieved since then? It seems yet another four years of discussions, ignoring any solutions that don't involve us all being dependant on motor vehicles.
The latest propaganda says that the concept planning studies are considering many modes of transport, not just cars.
"They will include future provision for buses, cars and other motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians to provide a multi-modal transport solution using the existing corridor," Queensland Transport says.
The spin gets sickly when they claim that the highway upgrade will "deliver economic and social benefits, create new jobs and facilitate continued economic development in the southern corridor of Cairns."
In the latest update, Queensland Transport say the Bruce Highway Upgrade project
between Sheehy Road and Ray Jones Drive is a $150 million Australian Government
funded initiative being delivered by the Queensland Government.
"This forms part of $8.6 billion in Australian Government land transport infrastructure funding to Queensland over 2008-09 to 2013-14. The project is in its first stage which involves a concept planning study," Queensland Transport says. "A further planning study is underway on
the Bruce Highway from Wrights Creek, south of Edmonton, through to Draper Street, near the Cairns city centre."
Evidently, they're investigating a "long-term, multi-modal options to improve safety and traffic flow, reduce congestion and enhance access for users of this transport corridor in coming
decades."

It's all spin to me, and doesn't allow for smart thinking and smart solutions that are not based on the same old model that Brisbane and other large cities have adopted.
This all reminds me how the Bush Presidency loved creating a war so the companies that benefit from its massive war spending will proposer, meanwhile the country basic services go backward.
So appears the case with Cairns and it's awful transport bottlenecks. The Government and a complicit Cairns Regional Council will endorse a patch up here and there that will ignore dynamic and clever green transit solutions that could make Cairns a leading light in Australia.
One contributor to the consultation got it right when he wrote that most European countries have excellent integrated systems and Cairns is in the unique position of being able to pick the best from those systems.
If only the government knew how to read maps.

8 comments:

Stinhambo said...

Grr this small minded town gives me the shits with their backward views of how to do simple things like how to best get to a town centre.

I'd love to cycle from White Rock to the CBD but I value my life too much to attempt it.

I'd love to catch a light electric train that runs the length of Cairns from Gordonvale to Palm Cove but of course this is too big an idea for our simple councilors to lobby the government for funding.

Do they not see that by moving traffic from the roads, they will have a cleaner and safer town and will have to spend less in maintaining roads?

This will increase tourism and boost business as hotels, cafes and tourism ventures can sprout along this transport corridor. There won't be a huge need to be in the CBD because it's a dog to get in there in the first place.

Lastly, something needs to be done to make it easier and more cost effective to get to and from the airport. Again, a light metro would be a great idea.

mark said...

is anyone able to tell me with Heavy Vehicles are detoured via Redlynch?

Wade S said...

This is crap.

Council is Crap

State Gov is crap

Fed Gov is crap

Its all CRAP

We will stay a little backwater hick town with no infrastructure. We will lose out to Townsville for all future events and conventiosn etc and out Tourism $$ wil be pissed up against the wall and will eventually completly dry up because our city will not be worth visiting!!

Have i said that this is Crap ??

Stinhambo said...

We need a 21st Century Cairns.

Thaddeus said...

All it will take is for a major catastrophe to happen in the central business district, followed by a massive gridlock caused by panicked motorists in which essential service vehicles, fire, army etc are UNABLE to enter, hundreds of people are killed, buildings destroyed etc before the "authorities" do anything. Everyone remember what Mulgrave Road was like a couple of years ago with the false "tsunami" scare?????

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

I'd love trains going everywhere. I'd also like my own full-time chef, a butler, free housing on the beach, and my own airplane and pilot 24/7. The reality is that rail is enormously expensive to operate for the few number of passengers that it garners. Cairns has no where near the population, nor density, to support rail. Where does the money come from, morons? This "we want rail" mantra is complete nonsense. It will NEVER happen. Not if Cairns MP's had control of the government. It's not a reasonable solution to transport.

Claiming that Cairns is "choked with traffic" is absurd. A couple places have moderately heavy traffic for small times of the day, nothing even approaching maximum road capacity.

The professional are correct, dedicated buslanes, restricted busways, and other related strategies are useful and workable.

And for the guy that wants to know why trucks are being diverted thru Redlynch, the answer is simple: The inbound bridge over the Barron River has deteriorated to the point where heavy vehicles are unsafe on this bridge. Funny how no one at Main Roads has made this clear to the community - likely because then they'll have to deal with citizens that actually think it should be replaced. No one wants to spend any money.

Wade S said...

Clifton Ratbag:

Train service is nonsense?

Are you director of Dept of Transport ?

Only a few users??? Are you serious or is it a gee up ?? Have you lived anywhere other then Cairns ? In a major city ??

The bulding a new hosipitl, The southern corridor is expanding, JCU expansion, no parking (or details of future parking alotments) in the city - and yet you think no one will use it ? Not to mention the price of fuel and the environment impact of diesal buses running around. There would be thousands of people wanting to use the system.

I dont think anyone on this site or other forums denies that the costs are large or that our population will need to grow to fully justify the costs. But what are we told constantly by our hack politicians?

We are told: QLD is the fatest growing state, Cairns is one of the fastest growing areas! and all we have is Sunbus!!!! We need infrasturture in place now for the future.

I find it completly ignorant, arrogant, stupid and pathetic that someone could honestly say that a train service running from Gordonvale to Palm cove is not a good idea for Cairns.

The problem is that all levels of Govt are broke and with Cairns being at the End of the line (Sorry for pun)we miss out AGAIN!

Thank you Desely,Pitt, That other bloke, Schier and the dreamer in Canberra.

Stinhambo said...

We need a monorail!