Inner West Locals get organised to stop the WestConnex toll road.
On Wednesday 12 February 2014 at Herb Greedy Hall in Marrickville the community hosted a meeting to hear about the WestConnex from noted transport planner Michelle Zeibots and public transport advocate Gavin Gatenby.
Gavin Gatenby is the co-convenor of Ecotransit Sydney, a community-based transport advocacy group. Ecotransit Sydney grew out the city resident’s long running fight for sensible modern transport planning, and was instrumental in ensuring the construction of the Airport Rail Link and the Inner West Light Rail. Mr Gatenby delivered a detailed presentation on the proposal and its impacts on the Inner West.
“An unholy convergence of interests has gathered around WestConnex. The big construction companies want a multi-billion contract that’ll run for years, the developers want the government to resume whole slabs of the inner west and sell it to them for high-rise, and the tollway companies are trying to salvage a failed business model by generating another round of traffic growth with car-based redevelopment. It’s all backed by new planning laws stack the deck against local government, residents and small business. Sydney ‘s road traffic has been almost flatlining for a decade. The tragedy is that if we were to spend a fraction of the funds earmarked for WestConnex on public transport solutions it would fall dramatically.” EcoTransit Co-Convenor Gavin Gatenby said.
Dr Michelle Zeibots is a transport planner and research principle in transport at the Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney . Her research into road capacity, traffic speeds and volumes is widely respected and cited.
Dr Zeibots talked about her experience as an expert adviser on the transport panel during the drafting of the NSW Transport Masterplan. Working with the department and minister, the experts believed the state was ready to build the vital second harbour rail crossing, which would increase the Sydney rail network’s capacity by 50 per cent. Then just weeks before the master plan was released, WestConnex and other motorways motorways appeared in the plan and were given priority by the government.
Dr Zeibots refuted the argument that the motorway will reduce traffic and congestion, by citing the many examples of induced traffic; especially her research into the significant induced traffic caused last time the M4 was extended.