“RACV has a very clear view that people should be able to choose their mode of travel and not be confronted by artificial policy directions that constrain particular modes of travel…
– RACV spokesman Dave Jones, Herald Sun 9/12/2013
Yes, it’d be awful if artificial policy directions prevented people choosing their travel mode.
Policy directions such as transport provision skewed almost entirely in favour of cars, resulting in a failure to provide most suburbs with fast frequent public transport services.
Decades of building roads at almost any cost, but in many areas a lack of safe convenient walking and cycling routes.
Sixty years of policies which give many Melburnians little choice but to drive their cars.
Yes, that’d be no good.
(RACV was actually railing against efforts by Yarra Council to reduce the number of cars on inner-city roads.)
It’s not hard to see the effect of the transport policies of the last half-century. At Southland on the weekend, motorists circled the car park looking for spaces. The alternative – mostly hourly buses – is no alternative whatsoever.
The whole idea of state-sanctioned racism, treating non-whites as second-class citizens by law, seems ludicrous now, yet it lasted into the 1990s in South Africa.
It was always a ludicrous concept, of course. No wonder The Goodies parodied it as “Apart-Height” in one of their episodes.
As a kid growing up, there had often been news from South Africa, of violence in the townships.
Some of my (white) English relatives actually lived there for a time, and in 1984 my mother visited them. While it appeared my relatives treated people well, my mother came back with amazing photos of Whites Only signs in public places, and stories of the segregation of whites and others, entrenched by an inherently racist rule of law.
I’ve had to look up the date — 11th February 1990 — but I remember it was a Sunday night in Australia. I was 19, and I stayed up watching television. On-screen for an awfully long time was a shot of a driveway outside the prison where Nelson Mandela was being held. Those present, and the many of us watching on television, were waiting for him to walk out to his freedom.
The ABC was taking a feed from the South African Broadcasting Corporation. When the SABC went to a commercial break, the camera man would take his camera off his shoulder and point it at the ground, or swing it around randomly. The commentators noted that he obviously hadn’t been told his shots were being relayed around the world.
Eventually, Nelson Mandela appeared, in a suit, walking out into the world, to the cheers of onlookers.
Over the years, as South Africa has transformed, I’ve often thought of that night in 1990, and I did so again on Friday when news of Mandela’s death came through. That night was just one remarkable moment in a wholly remarkable life.
And who remembers this song — the iconic Free Nelson Mandela by The Specials?
And this one, not nearly so iconic: Sun City by just about everyone (even Peter Garrett’s in there somewhere)…
Continuing my series of ten year old photos…
Next, perhaps the most useless Melbourne public transport map ever produced.
It doesn’t show the most well-known location, the CBD, and shows very few others. It also has numerous errors, including: Implies Sandringham is next to Clayton. Implies Glen Waverley is east of Clayton (it’s actually north). Implies Box Hill is east of Glen Waverley (it’s northwest). Implies Belgrave is next to Box Hill (it isn’t). Williamstown is actually in zone 1. Many of the others are on the zone 1/2 boundary.
Playing totem tennis in the backyard in Carnegie. (Animated GIF created by GIFmaker.me)
… You can read the full story on that here… or if you just want to know what happened:
I’m running a bit behind in my blogging due to general business.
Here are some pictures from the brand new shiny West Footscray station a few weeks ago.
The platforms seem uncluttered, and there are Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) and a clock, which are becoming the standard now for new stations:
There’s a pretty big car park, in part to make up for the parking lost at Footscray. You can also clearly see the space for the new Regional Rail Link lines which are being added:
There are bike cages as well as car parking, as well as a bike path/ramp from the concourse to the streets on either side. The main concourse/bridge over the tracks is pretty imposing, very visible from the surrounding areas.
Chris Hale from Melbourne Uni presented at the PTUA Annual General Meeting recently. He remarked that Roxburgh Park station looks like a jail.
Although I wouldn’t say it’s beautiful, happily the same can’t be said for West Footscray. At the very least, it’s more colourful, with blocks of green, and areas of wood on the ceiling (apparently to help the acoustics and reduce noise).
Looking east towards Footscray (central) through a tiny hole in the concourse wall, you can see the amount of development that’s going on there:
Minister Mulder’s decision to provide ramps as well as steps and lifts means there’s plenty of choice for getting between the concourse and the platforms. At least if the lifts break down, now there’s an accessible alternative. As you can see from the hoarding, despite having been officially opened, the work wasn’t quite complete when I went through:
All in all, not half bad for what will become a busy station as urban renewal takes hold in the area.
It’s not staffed, apart from PSOs. I would hope and assume that space was set aside for future staff facilities and toilets should they ever be needed — it appears so from the amount of closed-off space on the bridge.
One local I know seems to like it. As an occasional user of the old West Footscray station, I’d say it’s an improvement.
Hopefully future stations will continue to look less like jails and more like a welcoming spot to catch a train.
- Related: Lynbrook station design
Update 6/12/2013: I’m told one other feature of the new West Footscray is that it has solar PV panels on the roof; enough for all the station’s power needs.
Analogue TV has been shut off in most parts of Australia in the last few months.
Sydney was yesterday morning, and one enterprising bloke managed to record the last moments of all five stations. Have a watch, it’s great. Note Channel 7 (top right) which actually marked it by playing an old animation. The others just went blank as if in some horror movie:
Channel 7 also made an effort when their Brisbane analogue signal ended back in May:
Melbourne makes the final switch-off next Tuesday at 9am.
I assume most people have switched already, and thankfully the household assistance package has meant people shouldn’t get left behind.
The extra channels should have been motivation enough for most of us. And the government’s motivation? Lots of revenue from selling off the old analogue spectrum.
The big question will be when we start to get more high definition (HD) channels. Will there be another switch date in the future when standard definition equipment is no longer supported? How many SD-only setups are out there, who can’t get ABC News 24, 7Mate, and GEM?
Oh and by the way, if you’re culling the duplicate channels in your tuner, you might like to know that SBS HD and SBS1 are not actually identical. SBS HD usually shows SBS1, but sometimes shows SBS2 for movies and sport and other programming that benefits from HD.
Melbourne shut down, all channels:
Channel 7, which marked the occasion with archival footage:
On the road to Rutherglen a few weeks ago, we came across this: the old railway. Some photos below.
Apparently it opened in 1879, with passenger trains running until 1962, and freight trains until 1995. These days the nearest operating railway is at Springhurst a few kilometres away, on the main line to Albury and Sydney.
If you take a look at Andrew Waugh’s excellent VRHistory web site, you’ll see maps that show just how extensive the Victorian Railways were. By 1940, the network reached most populated parts of the state, before it contracted in the decades following.
By the way, it’s notable that some argue that not only should the South Morang line be extended to Mernda, but also another 10 kilometres to Whittlesea where it used to run. I’m not convinced. Just because there used to be a line to Whittlesea doesn’t automatically mean it should be rebuilt. The Urban Growth Boundary doesn’t extend out that far. Serving the population, not empty fields, is the priority for public transport upgrades.
The term blog is a shortening of web log… well, this blog post is a log for primarily my own purposes, though it may be of interest to others.
Seems the cluster headaches are back this morning.
They often return at the change of season, but I haven’t had them since about two years ago.
(That blog post went into some detail about them — and this point is particularly worth noting: no conventional painkillers are effective against them. Not paracetomol, not aspirin, not Nurofen. Nothing works. It is not the same as migraine.)
So, this time around, so far:
5:40am, for about fifteen minutes. Started to fade when I went outside for some fresh air. Thankfully at this time of year it’s light, not too cold outside.
7:30am, about the same length of time. Again went outside, which seemed to help.
9:10am, I thought another was coming on, but it only gave the warning signs (pain in starting in the nose and moving to the left hand side of my forehead), without the main event, the searing pain through the left side of my head, of the earlier ones.
This time around they seem to go for about 10-15 minutes — in the past it appears mine have gone for longer. It’s always a little hard to tell what is helping, or if it’s simply disappearing by itself. That said, oxygen is recognised by many as providing relief.
I’ve found in the past that consumption of caffeine and sugar (that is, a Coke) can also help. My GP long-ago prescribed medicine, and I’ve never really determined if it helps or not, but on the off-chance it does, I’ll be getting some more.
While I’m not afflicted by them as badly as other sufferers, the pain is intense, and When it fades, there’s a feeling of immense relief.
I’m hoping they don’t hang around for long.
Update Sunday 1/12/2013 — Thankfully, no further recurrences… quite unlike previous episodes, but hopefully it was just the two yesterday and that’ll be it for now.
Update Tuesday 3/12/2013 — …however, I have had another, more conventional headache, since Sunday night. Not clear if it’s related. It’s not as strong, but it’s almost constant.
Update Saturday 7/12/2013 — One again this morning, 7:15-7:30. Helped by fresh air outside. Could it be that after a few days of winter-like weather, the turning back to spring/summer today helped spark this one?
I spotted this a while back, but forgot to blog it. It was published by the ABS in October 2012, but it’s still worth noting:
“While the household car is still the preferred method of travel to work for most Australians, the train has overtaken walking as one of the most preferred modes of transport,” Mr Henderson said.
“The proportion of people opting to take the train has increased from 3.4 per cent in 2006 to 3.9 per cent in 2011, putting the train in the top three methods of travel to work.”
Trains being in the top three is pretty amazing given that while walking and driving are more-or-less universally available in every area in Australia (the latter subject to income and ability), travel to work by train is confined to a much smaller proportion of the population.
Of course, driving still dominates because most people have no viable choice — as I’ve said before, if we want more people to choose efficient modes, they have to be given the choice… which, remember, is the sort of investment that what most people want.
Car (driver) 60.2%
Car (passenger) 5.3%