Grumble

Please note that I’m away for a couple of days, and may not be able to approve comments that fall into the moderation queue while away.

Caught in trafficI don’t drive as much as many people, but one trip I do regularly is from my place to Marita’s (in Footscray), generally with a big box of fruit+veg from her favourite green grocer in Ripponlea.

There are two principal ways of doing it, to avoid the CBD:

When I’m in a hurry and/or don’t mind paying the toll: Kingsway, Westgate Freeway, Bolte Bridge, Footscray Road.

When I’m not in a hurry and wish to save the toll: Kingsway, Westgate Freeway, Montague Street, Wurundjeri Way, Footscray Road.

The toll is $2.15. Not a huge amount, admittedly. But then, it’s not a huge time-saving, either. And sometimes I like to check out the state of the Wheel or see if Melbourne’s fascination with Costco is still leading to queues into the carpark.

Not to mention the “spot the people who get into the left-hand lane for Aurora Lane and then try to sneak back out again” game.

As of this Sunday, the toll-free route will vanish:

New westbound entry-ramp at Kings Way for drivers heading to the West Gate Bridge, Bolte Bridge or Todd Road (please note drivers will no longer be able to get on at Kings Way and get off at Montague Street)
West Gate Freeway – major traffic changes October 2009

Grumble.

I suppose I could go via South Melbourne to get to Montague Street, or via King Street, but I’d rather not clog up South Melbourne or the CBD with my car — nor get caught in traffic. Or I could go all the way over the Westgate then up to Footscray. But I suspect I’ll just end up paying the toll.

Which is not to say I’m against road tolls for the purposes of reducing demand or getting cars off city streets, but this may have the opposite effect. And while I know my taxes and rego etc don’t pay for the cost of roads, this could be seen as a massive $1.4 billion tax-payer funded subsidy to Citylink.

Oh, and thank you too to the government for failing to fund more frequent train services so that this kind of cross-town trip could be done without the current 20-30 wait between trains on weekends.