Saving wetlands and grasslands from freeway construction. What are some alternatives?

Save Our Green Wedge Petition

According to a recent Mordialloc Leader article by Emma Watson in Melbourne, ‘community clamour for a long-awaited Mordialloc bypass’ as Vic Roads prepare a case for the Morning Peninsula freeway extension.

The community in support of this freeway is small. It is limited considering that 4 associations have supposedly joined forces with the ‘Build’ campaign. Emma mentions that the community is clamouring in support. These people are short term thinkers, and potentially threaten this part of Melbourne’s wild life and fauna. They are also closely linked to the liberal party and developers.

In the Vic Roads report, Vic Roads state “A freeway is not required along the Mordialloc Bypass to accommodate long term demands” … enough said.

We need to look at alternatives to building more roads and freeways through areas that could be used as open space and environmentally protected spaces. Some interesting options have been put forward.

According to Andrew Heaton we should be looking at emerging technological options.

Andrew writes that ride sharing services such as Uber and vehicle sharing services such as Zipcar could lead to a number of those living in cities or inner urban areas to use these services in place of owning their own vehicle, which could lead to reductions in vehicle ownership rates. Growing use of technology which allows people to work from home or perform certain tasks at remote locations, meanwhile, will reduce the number of trips required into central offices.

New self drive cars over the next 10 years will enable closer driving, linked vechile support and smart mapping software. Headway (distance) between vechiles could be significantly reduced, allowing high density with increased speed. With human drivers, it is not possible because humans are required to maintain a certain distance based on their speed and reaction time. You won’t feel comfortable to drive at 100 kph with only 1 meter distance between vehicles. Control Theory will enable greater autonomy into the future. This will provide congestion solving solutions. However cars are not the only answer.

The Vic Roads feasibility study identifies that congestion, even if a freeway is built will not meet new levels of congestion beyond 2046. So we must question the short term fix, for a longer term impact on fauna and wildlife.

Andrew writes that according to Telstra chief scientist Hugh Bradlow, the combined effect of each of these technologies could indeed be sufficient to enable Australian cities to accommodate the entire anticipated increase in demand bought about by the expected rise in population within the capacity of our existing networks today.

Under the first scenario, the researchers assumed there was no change in either demand patterns or the way in which we operate our roads. Should this happen, they estimated that road capacity would have to grow by 250 per cent between now and 2050 in order to meet the extra demand that a roughly 60 per cent increase in the population would necessitate over that time frame.

In subsequent scenarios, the anticipated effect of each of the three technologies was progressively factored in. By the time all had been added in, road capacity requirements in 2050 were virtually no more than they are today despite the expected growth in population.

Social changes need to be considered to include driver habits. Changes need to include an increased allocation and budget for public transport solutions in local areas, tolling and road congestion pricing, zoning, smart parking options, mini cities (relocating the jobs).

I would like to acknowledge the work of Andrew Heaton in this article.



  1. Urban sprawl is an unplanned, uncontrolled experiment in social engineering. It’s putting people at a distance from their employment, their relatives etc and creating a nightmare for urban transport. Further development on urban fringes needs to be reined in, if not halted completely. The only losers will be the big volume developers: medium density urban infill still provides homes, construction jobs, and so on. Having said that we already have a lot of urban sprawl. While things like autonomous vehicles,ride sharing are interesting and probably have some advantages, they still require a big expensive road network, and they still assume a lot of distance travelled. The transport of tomorrow, if we have any sense, has already been invented for a long time: bicycles and electric rail (and bus). One pair of rail tracks takes about as many people as six lanes of freeway, and has less overheads in terms of pollution, road trauma, maintenance costs. And requires less room, so more room for housing or wetlands for that matter.


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