Council calls for region-wide approach to transport planning

The Greater
Geelong council has rejected a proposed Transport Network Operating Plan for
the Geelong CBD, instead requesting that work begin on new 10- and 20-year
transport plans for Greater Geelong.

Council had
been asked to endorse a plan that only covered streets between (and including)
Latrobe Terrace to the east, Garden Street to the west, Fyans Street to the
south and Western Beach Road to the north.

It prioritised
certain streets for pedestrian, bike and vehicle movement, but did not include
public transport.

councillors voted in favour of an amendment put forward by Cr Eddy Kontelj,
which requests City staff and the Department of Transport produce region-wide
plans that include and prioritise public transport.

It calls on
those developing the plans to explore “innovative public transport initiatives,
including light rail, trackless trams and buses,” with the aim of establishing
“an effective, efficient, safe and world-class public transport network.”

The amendment
also states that the new plans must:

  • Prioritise
    accessibility for members of the community with reduced mobility, including
    wheelchair users;
  • provide a clear
    vision for the long-term management of east-west traffic through central
    Geelong; and
  • establish
    efficient transport connections for east-west travelling heavy vehicles, away
    from central Geelong. Cr Kontelj made it clear that this must be done in a
    manner that improves road safety and travel times, and also productivity for
    heavy vehicle operators.

In addition to
the creation of a new transport plan, the council has also resolved to advocate
to the state government on several major transport initiatives:

  • Immediate
    improvements to bus services across the region;
  • a budget
    commitment and timeline for the construction of the Bellarine Link;
  • upgrades of Fyans
    Street and Breakwater Road, aimed at encouraging heavy vehicles to use these
    routes in preference to Ryrie and McKillop Streets; and
  • a viability and
    financial assessment to plan and build a bridge across Corio Bay;

Feedback on the
draft Transport Network Operating Plan released late last year supported
directing trucks away from Ryrie Street, but indicated strong concern from
McKillop Street residents about the possibility of increased heavy vehicle
travel in front of their homes.

Cr Kontelj’s
amendment was carried on a 10-1 vote, with all councillors in favour except Cr
Jim Mason.

Councillor Stephanie Asher – Mayor

This is a
determination by council that the shape and intent of the Transport Network
Operating Plan in its present form don’t meet what we need to achieve in terms
of traffic and transport solutions in the Greater Geelong region.

The document is
myopic. Council wants to see a region-wide approach to transport planning,
given movement in surrounding suburbs and towns impacts traffic flow into and
through the CBD.

It’s also
essential that all public transport, including buses, is included in any
long-term plan.

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