We all want cleaner air, more green space, fewer cars and trucks on our streets, and healthier neighbourhoods for our children to grow up in. In the western suburbs of Melbourne, this vision has been out of reach for many years thanks to a shortage of green space, our industrial legacy and most importantly, the 21,000 container trucks that travel through inner west streets each day.
In response to the truck problem and congestion in general, Victoria’s Labor Government has announced it will build the $5.5 billion Western Distributor project. This new freeway tollway will expand the West Gate Freeway from 8 to 12 lanes and include a tunnel under Yarraville, a river crossing over the Maribyrnong River, and an elevated road along Footscray Road to the port and City Link.
While this sounds like it could improve livability in the west by taking trucks and traffic off local streets, the reality is that there isn’t any commitment from Dan Andrews that trucks will be prohibited from all local and residential streets, which is the only way to ensure they use the tollway.
The exact route of the toll road is yet to be finalised, but at this stage the government’s preferred approach will see the toll road impact on some of the west’s most precious parklands.
Another major issue is that new freeway will just encourage more people to drive. This will lead to further congestion in and around Melbourne’s CBD where the freeway ends, and to more greenhouse pollution.
Dan Andrews needs to start being transparent and honest! Sign the petition to tell the Premier to put the needs of our community first!
Dear Premier Andrews,
We want you stop the secrecy, and properly consult with the community when it comes to the Western Distributor project.
We as a community want cleaner, safer, and more liveable neighbourhoods. In order to achieve this, these are our demands for the Western Distributor proposal:
1. Prioritise our children’s health. Reduce asthma rates by committing to a 24 hour curfew for container trucks on all local and residential streets when the road is built, and extending curfews while the road is under construction.
2. Don’t build on top of our precious parklands and green spaces. They are already few and far between in the inner west. Minimise any impacts on parklands in the design.
3. Stop tens of thousands of construction trucks carrying equipment, tunnelling soil and toxic materials from taking over our local streets and impacting residents during the years of construction. Restrict construction trucks to the freeways, Whitehall St and Footscray Rd.
4. Build the Port Rail Shuttle immediately. This would take 3,500 trucks off our local streets every day, and reduce pollution from our freight industry.
5. Improve air quality across the inner west for the long term by thoroughly assessing and minimising air pollution impacts before and after the construction, and using the best pollution filtering technology in the tunnel ventilation system.
6. Protect local residents from noise pollution by planning best practice noise protection measures right from the start of the project and monitoring and abating noise during construction and after it is built.
7. Protect the community and construction workers by using world’s best practice management of toxic contaminants on construction sites.
8. Complete the Federation Bike Trail now! Dan Andrews is promoting the completion of this bike track as a benefit of the project, but it can be done independently of the Western Distributor construction right away.