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6:17 AM
Manningham Resorts to Bullying

A while ago I wrote an article 'It's all your fault' which explained how the growing traffic congestion problems at Doncaster Hill were entirely the fault of Manningham Council.

In brief, I mentioned that Manningham Council commissioned GTA Consultants around 2012 to produce a report on possible traffic congestion problems that might arise at Doncaster Hill.

The report was dated August 3, 2012 and had the title "Review of Parking and Traffic Management Within Doncaster Hill".

The GTA report made it quite clear that (and I quote the report):

 

a) At full development, the resultant road conditions will not be dissimilar to those found in inner city areas activity centers across Metropolitan Melbourne where urban density is higher....

The results indicate the following outcomes:

  • Slower traffic speeds/longer travel times within and though the area.

  • Decreased performance of on-road public transport services within and through the area.

  • Increased delays at intersections

  • Longer times for localized traffic to access the arterial road network.

b) Overall, at 100% build out, the results suggest that there is a limit to how much the road network in Doncaster Hill can accommodate additional traffic, i.e. Development generated traffic. 

c) Traditional approaches to mitigating against traffic congestion involve increasing the capacity of the road network, however, in this instance improvements will result in localized improvements rather than overall network improvements. Further there are limited opportunities to provide significant capacity improvements on the arterial road network due to the constrained land availability.

d) Non-traditional methods seek to encourage a mode shift for users, away from private vehicle and onto alternate transport modes (public transport, walking and cycling) should continue to be investigated.

 

 

In short, Manningham Council knew full well back in 2012 (and probably earlier which is why they commissioned the report) that if they persisted with their plans for high density development at Doncaster Hill and the old Eastern Golf Links course, there would be significant traffic congestion problems at Doncaster Hill. Also they knew there was precious little they could do about these traffic congestion problems.

So what did Manningham Council do? They ignored the GTA report and went ahead and did what they wanted anyway.

And now they are in a panic over the traffic congestion problems at Doncaster Hill.

 

In my previous article, I also made the point that the 'non traditional' methods of enticing people to use public transport would probably not work. Indeed the whole program did not get off to a good start when the Manningham Leader newspaper pointed out the essential silliness of the scheme by putting a bus stop with a watermelon on top on their front page and referring to the whole idea as 'fruity'.

You see Manningham Council wanted to encourage us to use public transport by making bus stops a talking point and fun to use (see Manningham Leader, 11 April 2016, page 1).

 

I also made the point that Manningham Council did not accept responsibility for the traffic mess they have created at Doncaster Hill and are trying to blame the problem on 'we the people'. Their idea is that we are at fault because we like driving our cars.

I said that when their ill conceived program to make bus stops more attractive fails, as it no doubt will, they will look for ways of punishing road users and bullying us into doing what they want. That is, use public transport.

 

And that is were we are right now.

 

Manningham Council, having failed as town planners, are now trying to bully us to do what they want.

So what is Manningham Council planning to do?

In the June 20, 2016 Manningham Leader newspaper we get a clue of what they are planning. See page 9 "Road Fees Reality".

This article puts forward the idea of a congestion charge, similar to that used in London, be applied to congested roads in and around Melbourne.

Basically you will pay a fee of around $1 per kilometer when you travel on 'congested' roads.

The problems at Doncaster Hill are not mentioned specifically in this article but it does say that these levies would not just be applied to inner city Melbourne but would be applied to 'any busy road'. Also it says that 'congestion pricing' is the only way forward.

I think the Manningham Leader may be doing the bidding of the council. (After all, the Manningham Leader does receive financial support from Manningham Council.)

The Manningham Leader would never dare mention the congestion at Doncaster Hill in this article because most of us have a pretty good idea who caused that disaster. So instead the article talks in generalities. And we are simply left to understand that the problems at Doncaster Hill would be included in the Congestion fee scheme.

 

It must be wonderful to be in government.

If a private company were to cause a similar traffic congestion disaster, the matter would probably end up in court.

But that will not happen if the government does it. Council's can be arrogant, irresponsible and/or utterly incompetent. And when things go wrong, they do what government usually does. They refuse to accept any responsibility and blame someone else.

This time the public is being blamed. And now they are going to bully us around and get us to do what they want. They are going to quite literally make us pay to fix up the mess they created by forcing a new tax on us.

 

And this congestion fee would be a new tax. Please allow me to explain.

You will notice that they do not plan to implement an 'odds and even' number plate system as has been used in parts of the USA. That would solve the problem and not require any fees be levied upon the public.

No, what Manningham Council wants is money, always more money. They have opted for the solution that puts money in their pockets. Even though they are entirely to blame for the problem.

And to add insult to robbery they claim, in this news article, that the fees will be used in part to improve roads.

But remember what the GTA report said. There was almost nothing the council could do to widen roads or improve traffic flow through Doncaster Hill. So it would appear this congestion fee money the council would collect will be spent mostly on other roads.

That's right. These 'congestion fees' are just another tax the council plans to levy on us.

 

Unlike private enterprise, the more the government makes a mess of things, the more excuses they can find to tax us. And the more they reward themselves with pay rises.

As I said before, it must be wonderful working in the government.

 

And Manningham Council sets a shining example when it comes to the use of private cars.

Please take a careful look at the council staff car park next time you are at their offices at Doncaster Hill.

You will see that they take public transport almost exclusively. You will see that they do not add to the traffic congestion at Doncaster Hill. And you will also see that council staff are deeply concerned about the impact of the private motor car on the environment.

Here are some pictures of the council car park:



Please note that all these pictures are of different views of the large council car parking area. I have tried to take one picture of each section of the car park. There might be a small amounts of overlap but there would not be much. Note also that not all cars would be owned by council staff or operated by the council. The parking area is open to the public to park there too. However a very large number of these cars do belong to the council and council staff.

 

It appears that we are not the only ones who drive private motor cars to work. I wonder if council staff will pay their own congestion fee? (I wonder if the council staff even believe their own propaganda about the effect that cars have on the environment?)

 

 

 

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