Monday, April 20, 2009

Build Near Tram Lines, Cut Sprawl

So says an article in the Age.
A Greater Melbourne Authority could take control of the city's public transport and help push through multi-storey buildings along tram and train corridors, in a bid to stop the suburbs sprawling further.
I wonder if the only thing that can really stop the suburbs is people getting fed up with paying too much for transportation. Anyone know how Toronto and Melbourne compare to American cities the same size? Seems like we can get at least a little glimpse of what we messed up when we ripped our trams out of the ground.



njh said...

Of course there are critics:

Getting high won't solve urban sprawl

YOU report that planning expert Marcus Spiller is to promote the you-beaut ideas of Melbourne City Council staff member Rob Adams of building high rises on tram and train lines to cram in the excess population swamping Melbourne ("Density near tram lines 'key to stopping urban sprawl' ", 20/4).

Why talk about transport for the teeming masses when the real issue is water supply? With the reservoirs now only 28 per cent full, the failure of seasonal rains to southern Australia since 1996, global warming and the likelihood of more dangerous weather events such as unstoppable bushfires, and the Brumby Government's insistence on continuing logging catchment areas, shouldn't the Prime Minister be redirecting migrants to Queensland or Tasmania, where at least water is not in short supply? Or, better still, cutting back migration numbers?

But then as P. J. Barnum, circus promoter, once said: "There's a sucker born every minute." That's Victorians for you.

Lewis Prichard, Hawthorn

A matter of numbers

MY GUESS is that if a new metropolitan authority is established, as economist Marcus Spiller advocates, to push through Melbourne City Council's design director Rob Adams' plan for multi-storey building along train and tram routes, the loss of democracy and planning input from local authorities will be traded for a rapid loss of amenity for people living in the city. Furthermore, we will still have urban sprawl, thanks to the Victorian Government's open-ended push for population growth.

Of the current residents of Melbourne, I cannot see any obvious winners. I wonder if Mr Spiller and Mr Adams will volunteer to live in the proposed high-rise units along one of the transport corridors.

Jill Quirk, president, Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian branch), Frankston

Bob Davis said...

As a member of the railway museum that preserves and operates examples of the Los Angeles Ry. streetcar system, I sometimes find visitors looking at the LARy map posted in the carbarn, and longing for the days when downtown LA had trolleys running in all directions. I will tell them--such a system still exists, you just have to board an airplane and fly (for about 15 hrs.) to Melbourne, the Promised Land for tramcar enthusiasts. And, as a native Californian, I can relate to the water supply problem "down under". It's not going to be easy in either place.