The Socialist Alliance NSW released the statement below on August 24.
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“Constructing an eight-lane motorway extension beneath Parramatta Road will ultimately just lead to bigger traffic jams,” said Pip Hinman, Socialist Alliance candidate for WALI (north ward) in the September 8 Marrickville local government election.
Since Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s June 30 announcement that if elected he would commit $1.5 billion to building the M4 East — possibly a tunnel between North Strathfield and St Peters with ramps surfacing in Haberfield, Rozelle, Glebe and Chippendale — the issue has become a concern for local councils in the inner west.
The M4 East has been on the drawing board since 2005 and has the support of Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition. But it has been stalled by community opposition.
The Liberal-National state government is also pushing the M5 East duplication and extension.
Hinman said: “Building more and wider roads might sound like an easy solution to traffic chaos and increased freight in the inner west. But studies show that increasing the capacity of roads ultimately creates more traffic. The increased traffic creates congestion, until, after only a relatively short time, you have a worse situation than when you started.
“International studies point to the phenomenon known as ‘induced traffic’. Increasing road capacity will decrease road congestion for a while, but after a matter of a few months (or years at best) traffic increases, encouraged by the new road, and the problem of congestion appears again, only in a worse form.
“The M4 East or the M5 East extensions will create a further problem: what to do with the extra cars? Parking cars that bring commuters to work is already a major problem for councils and residents in the inner west. Newtown, Enmore and Marrickville already experience car-parking nightmares.
“On top of the problem with the increased number of cars is the increased pollution. What is to be done with the exhaust fumes? Massive extractors will clear the tunnel and dispose of toxic petrol, diesel and LPG fumes into the atmosphere of the inner city. These, in turn, will have a catastrophic impact on children’s health, not to mention the natural environment.
“The number and speed of freight trucks is also a massive danger. Freight should be on rail — that's the safest and least polluting option.
“The state government should be looking for sustainable solutions. If elected to Marrickville Council, Socialist Alliance councillors would push council to campaign for a sustainable alternative to the M4 East and the M5 East that tackled congestion.”
Socialist Alliance is campaigning to:
• Expand light rail, including along Parramatta Road.
• Get the trucks off our roads: 100% of freight to be moved by train by 2020.
• Keep public transport in public hands: no privatisation.
• Make public transport fast, frequent and free — an incentive for people to get out of their cars for good.