Socialist candidate: New car parks at Granville station won’t help

August 12, 2012

The Socialist Alliance NSW released the statement below on August 13.

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“Building larger and larger carparks next to railway stations is not the solution to congestion,” says John Coleman, the lead Socialist Alliance candidate for the Woodville ward in the Parramatta local election. “Public transport needs to be planned and maintained to provide a complete alternative to cars — not to encourage even more cars onto the road.”

Coleman is a CityRail worker, a public transport activist and a long-time resident of Granville.

“Planners, environmentalists and transport academics have shown convincingly that building more parking simply encourages more people to use their car,” Coleman said. “In a year, maybe two or three years, all the extra capacity provided by an expanded carpark is full — and we’re back to where we started from — only worse!”

“The only genuine solution is to increase public transport services, particularly bus-feeder services to the train station. What’s needed is more state money for buses that service all areas of the Granville catchment, and are timed to deliver passengers to the train — not five minutes after the train has left!

“If elected, Socialist Alliance councillors would fight to divert money from a worse than useless expansion of the carpark at Granville station and redirect it toward real solutions such as the provision of a genuine public transport network, including buses provided with priority over cars, to give residents a fast, efficient and ecologically sustainable transport system.

“Socialist Alliance councillors would also campaign for Council to fund a trial of free public transport from Granville and other Parramatta city stations, to increase public transport use. If the trial successfully increased public transport use, then it should be made permanent. After all, fares pay only a tiny fraction of the cost of providing public transport services.”


“In a year, maybe two or three years, all the extra capacity provided by an expanded carpark is full — and we’re back to where we started from — only worse!” If you have 100 car parking spaces and you increase that number to 300 hundred and they all become full. You aren't back to where you started from. You still have 200 more spaces! I note that Socialist Alliance doesn't use this argument when it comes to the health system. Have we ever heard the Socialist Alliance say “In a year, maybe two or three years, all the extra capacity provided by an expanded hospital is full — and we’re back to where we started from — only worse!” No. Will we see the Socialist Alliance opposing new hospital beds using the same argument?
You missed the bit about car parks encouraging car use. That would be the actual logic behind the argument. When you ignore that, you make a good point. But only if you ignore that.
When the "park and ride" at the station is full, the answer is NOT to expand the car park. Instead we should invest in connecting bus services and cycling facilities. To paraphrase Paul Mees (senior lecturer at the school of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning at RMIT University and authour of "Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the automobile age"): The best place for commuters to leave their car is at home.
Here's what GL said on the issue in May 1991: "if life in cities is made miserable by the car, for many people life without one is worse. The outer suburbs of all Australian major cities (and all smaller centres) are poorly serviced by public transport. In these areas, life revolves around the car. To be without one is to be virtually housebound or dependent on family and friends. Libraries, theatres, universities, speciality shops and other facilities tend to be concentrated in city centres. To be without a car is to go without all the things that can give city life its cultural richness. Women in the home looking after small children are often hard hit: a "family car" is of little use during the day if the husband has used it to go to work. Even the best public transport in Australia — the services concentrated in the inner cities — is maintained only at a level which assumes that most transport needs will be satisfied by the Under these conditions, it would be unfair, and entirely impractical, to call on everyone to do what some individuals have done: give up their cars. This is a problem which can't be solved at an individual level."
This article does not urge people to 'give up their cars', but instead calls for public investment in mass transit rather than car instrastructure

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