Alternative Fuels Australia

Melbourne to have a car-free day…sort of

Posted by Car Geek on January 5, 2008

“Car free days” are gaining a lot of momentum worldwide, having been attempted in hundreds of cities with varying degrees of success. Melbourne looked to join them next year, with a group of environmentalists from the Centre for Sustainability Leadership convincing the Melbourne City Council to close many of the major roads in the CBD to traffic on February 15.

Melbourne at sunset. Image from http://flickr.com/photos/rtv/199179788/, licenced under CC 2.0. A lot can change in a few months, though. Premier John Brumby took considerable offence to the idea, labelling it a short-term populist stunt, and the idea has finally been reborn in a much more muted form. The day has been moved from the 15th (a weekday) to the 17th (a Sunday, when traffic is already at a minimum) and the number of streets being closed has been reduced from eight to three.

The compromise doesn’t seem to have left anyone particularly happy. Members from the Melbourne and Moreland Councils, who have joined forces to combine the car-free day with Moreland’s Cyclovia festival, support a “full-strength” car-free day like those held in Vancouver and London, while the State Government and the RACV maintain opposition to even this modest proposal, calling it a “one day stunt” and insisting that it will cause “traffic chaos”.

It would not be a great leap in logic to say that the Victorian Government doesn’t appear to be taking the triple threat of congestion, climate change and petrol prices seriously. It continues to attack each problem piecemeal, exacerbating the others with each “solution” – building freeways and tollways that might ease congestion but increase pollution, for example – rather than confront a major contributor to all three: cars. Providing commuters with alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles (such as public transport or cycling) reduces congestion, reduces emissions and is cheaper than petrol. Let’s see the government step up and support these sorts of endeavours. One day without cars, with enough publicity, could show people that they can get around the city without their vehicles and emulate the successes they’ve had in other, even more congested cities around the world.

(Source: Drive)

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2 Responses to “Melbourne to have a car-free day…sort of”

  1. I think the day without cars will be good to show people that there are alternatives to getting around, and to double think how necessary it is to bring the car into the city.

    That being said, there does have to be a holistic think about the transportation system as a whole, with alternatives being thought of rather then more freeways etc.

  2. Daniel D Martin said

    Australia has one of the greatest potential for the production of biofuels in the World ,having huge extensions of marginal land ,ideal for pongamia pinnata cultivation ,some potential for oil palm in the north and sweet sorghum all over the country
    Mixes of 25% ethanol in all petrol(like Brazil had successfully done for the last 30 years and countrywide distribution of E-85 for flex-fuel vehicles plus full availability of B-100 SHOULD STIMULATE A POWERFUL BIOFUELS INDUSTRY that could make the country into a big exporter of biofuels as well now that oil is bordering $90 /barrel again!

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