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Thread: Planning in Melbourne

  1. #1
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    Planning in Melbourne

    Being an ex-Melburnian and recent interstate migrant I want to start a discussion on the state of metropolitan planning in Melbourne.

    While I think the inner city areas of Melbourne are quite liveable I think the metropolitan area as a whole is very ordinary indeed. This is like most cities throughout the country I suppose but with Brisbane's busways, buz network, airport train etc some issues have been put into perspective for myself.

    As a student I don't know if my comments are valid but having lived in Melbourne and knowing the city intimately I think that Melbourne is behind other Australian cities on the planning front.

    What do you think?

    Cheers,

    Hendy

  2. #2
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    You would be wrong

    Hey mate,

    Please don't be fooled into thinking that Melbourne (and Sydney!) don't have planning departments/facilities that aren't up to scratch.

    We do. Its just that due to our political system, and the fact that the state governments in both states have been in power for so long, it isn't about doing what is right, but what gets them the most kickbacks.

    Just look at the recent melbourne decision to expand the urban boundary. It goes against all of the melbourne planning documents (melbourne 2030 for example), yet it is being 'justified' as providing housing for new home buyers. Never mind the fact that these new home buyers then need to spend almost a third of their budget getting to work.

    And who benefits the most from such a decision? Well. Look at where the money is going for that answer!

  3. #3
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    Hey,

    thanks for the response.

    I'm not suggesting that the planning departments in Melb aren't up to scratch but I suppose operating within the political sphere you have described would be difficult.

    That said, a city that constantly goes on and on about its liveability doing so little compared to places like Perth and Brisbane somewhat astounds me. The expansion of the UGB accompanied by Madden's smug attitude pretty much pushed me interstate to pursue my career, for now.

    Interestingly, living interstate people often comment on how cheap land is in Melbourne to which I offer an explanation of just how far from anywhere most of these new estates are. It troubles me to think that people are rushing down to Melb to buy this 'cheap' land without much thought as to how isolated these places are from employment, entertainment, nightlife etc. It seems the petrol price spikes of mid-2008 have dropped off the radar.

    The most pressing issue for me is transport planning. Having lived in the outer east trying to get anywhere by PT was an absolute nightmare. The frequencies are very poor, the smart bus system is plagued by delays, the bus routes don't operate until reasonable hours, there are no trunk routes (even though Melbourne has an ideal grid layout), connections and transfers are nearly impossible to rely on.

    Surely, all of this is going to be a nightmare in years to come when people living way out start squealing about how they can't afford to get to work.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Please don't be fooled into thinking that Melbourne (and Sydney!) don't have planning departments/facilities that aren't up to scratch
    Whoever said Sydney had great planning? Worst PT and road networks. What other cities of 4 million feature a 2 lane highways out to affordable housing and future growth areas? That and the Labor government with the Dept of Planning sells itself and its integrity to the highest bidder without looking at consequences. I think Sam Haddad is the latest high end planner to be targeted.
    Last edited by expat123; 16 Nov 2009 at 4:58 AM. Reason: Correction

  5. #5
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    An airport rail link is really inconsequential in a city's liveability. Do you honestly think having one would make a noticeable difference in traffic conditions, outside of major events?

    Melbourne is light-years ahead of Sydney, in any case.

  6. #6
    BWharrie's avatar
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    Go Bike it

    Melbourne's Bike route surpass most capital cities in Australia. But because the bike routes do not follow or an important part of the grid road layout they do tend not to meet the daily commuter bike transport requirements ie most direct route. The Yarra Trail is an example as it wanders around the Yarra in south-eastern Richmond before heading in a more radial route next to the Eastern Freeway.
    The Yarra Trail is also at capacity for commuters (try riding in the opposite direction to the city commuters in late winter in the afternoon, scary! but great to see!) The Merri Creek and others are a bit more direct but get stuffed up as the near the city centre as more important uses take precendence, but minor changes in the last 20 years have accumulated to lessen the bike route problems. Southbank was a clanger as it lakes a safe, at grade, pedestrian separation route.(Fast, flat but like a Nintendo game of avoiding pedestrians)
    Melbourne Planning principally and officially begain in 1954, 1st March I recall and it was basically and separation of inappropriate land uses - residential in Residential C, new residential areas in Reserved Living zone, schools in Public Purpose, Main Roads, Secodnary Roads etc, nice see http://services.land.vic.gov.au/maps/pmo.jsp and use Builkd Map - Historical Planning Schemes
    Heriage areas came in about 1980 as an overlay. The whole deal was controlled by the Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works(MMBW) and initially covered about 52 councils. In about 1988? the planning arm of the MMBW was joined with the Town & Country Planning Board? to create a Dept of Planning & subsequent name changes. All Victorian planning sheme were brought into line with new planning scheme maps (all drawn by hand!)
    In all, Melbourne's poanning begun under the auspices of the same Givernment that supplied major services such as water supply, reticulated sewerage, stormwater disposal and then later on lage metropolitan parks. The MMBW through Melbourne' planning scheme was also able to reserve land for new freeways and road widenings and was in control of the compensation trhough loss on sale caused by the reservation or the eventual acquisition of land when the CRB (Country Roads Board) requested ie had the money to undertake the project.

    I think this strategic control of major infrastructure and served and set up Melbourne quite well taking into account the market's greed for 1/4 acre residential blocks. I also think this long term ability to administer this conglomerate MMBW was enhance by a Liberal State Government being in power for over 20 years. Public rights and participation was very limited or nil, decisions, generally right ones, but a few clangers, were made and things got done.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally posted by kettal View post
    An airport rail link is really inconsequential in a city's liveability. Do you honestly think having one would make a noticeable difference in traffic conditions, outside of major events?

    Melbourne is light-years ahead of Sydney, in any case.
    Yes, I do think having an airport rail link would be beneficial for Melbourne. Considering the airport is located in the north-west and the bulk of Melburnians living in the east/south-east most people have to travel on two toll segments and pay for the most expensive airport parking in the country. The airport is also 20km away from the cbd while the south-eastern suburbs now sprawl almost 60km from town. With most of the growth in Melbourne's population occurring in the fringe zones things are becoming more distant for a good number of the city's residents. This happens without much expansion of the city's public transport. If say, petrol prices increase a great deal then a trip to the airport for someone in the south-east could set them back a small fortune in tolls, parking, time and fuel.

    Further, with so much pressure on Melbourne's freeways any little incident creates major delays in either direction depending on the time of day. Also, the Melbourne-Sydney air route is one of the busiest in the world not necessarily for 'major events' but for business trips.

  8. #8
    BWharrie's avatar
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    City living

    Get out of the capital cities and enjoy a seductive or relaxed lifestyle. Try Culcairn or Walla just north of Albury NSW where life travels nice and slowly.
    Try Jindabyne NSW to observe the distinct change in social fabric as the town ballons to over 10 times its population for three onths of the year.
    Try Tawonga VIC for a green valley and views to snow capped mountians during winter and a 60 minute drive to Albury for all services.
    Or try Wodonga and Albury, cities with everything except exensive traffic jams.
    Try Bairnsdale, Vic with easy access to the ocean and lakes for fishing & swimming but a regional centre with everything.
    Try Launceston TAS with easy vehicle access to everything urban on an island far removed from the hectics of the mainland.
    Yes I've done the Melbourne thing for 30 years, some of Sydney (challenging PT but at least you can easily get from airport to city CBD), cycled around Adelaide (including hills, beaches, rivers) , Perth (including hills & beaches) & hilly Hobart.
    I find all cities around the world are the same, but smaller towns have a more friendly environment.

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