People moving

There are lots of ways of moving people around our city.

Buses, ferries, cars, bikes, scooters.

But we don’t seem to be serious about anything other than cars.

It worries me when I see political candidates saying the solution to traffic congestion is to build more roads.

Not only does that take a truckload of money and take a long time to complete, whilst significantly contributing to the chaos, but it’s like saying you can cure obesity by adding extra notches to your belt.

We know that within a very short time the problem will be even worse, and we will have made even more of a mess of the planet in the meantime. Not to mention the skyrocketing cost of fuel and being of no help to those who don’t drive.

The only sustainable solution to traffic congestion is to provide such good public transport alternatives, that people won’t want to use their cars for routine journeys.

This means frequent and affordable buses, ferries, safe cycleways for bikes and scooters, and more walkable neighbourhoods with shady paths in summer.

There are some great examples interstate. When I’m in Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth for example, I can easily get around on their free public transport in the city centre.

They’re also working towards making all new public transport accessible. Because I walk with a stick I really appreciate being able to glide on and off the platform at tram stations, straight onto a modern people-mover with plenty of room set aside for those who are less mobile.

We can’t replicate that in Clarence, but we could move towards an accessible shuttle bus which moves between parking and shops. An electric, automous bus would be even better. I rode on one in a trial in Sandy Bay a couple of years ago, so they’re not far away.

If people knew they could easily get to where they need to go, they’d be more inclined to leave the car at home.

We need solutions for this century, not the last one.

Graphic: Bartz/Stockmar, CC BY 4.0

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