How many motorways does a big city need? And what sort of city do we want?

On Friday, The Age reported that Infrastructure Australia has put out a report that asks what sort of city we'd like to have in 2046: The Expanded Low Density scenario - similar to Los Angeles - sprawling, dispersed suburbs, even more car-dominated than today The Centralised High Density scenario - similar to New York City - concentrating jobs and housing in the inner 15km ring The Rebalanc

Film, Melbourne, Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

1978 film “Mouth to Mouth” includes scenes of Melbourne anti-freeway protests

The recent anti-motorway protests in Melbourne are nothing new. In fact the very same area was subject to protests in the 1970s, when it was proposed to link the Eastern Freeway to the Tullamarine Freeway by way of an aboveground link, by converting Alexandra Parade to a freeway, ploughing through neighbourhoods in Collingwood, Carlton and Fitzroy. Film and television can sometimes provide litt

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Luckily most people don’t bring their cars to central Melbourne

Sometimes in the city, it's a bit like a Where's Wally book. City of Melbourne figures indicate the average daily population for the CBD and surrounding council area is 844,000. But Christmas shopping is a very busy time of year. City of Melbourne has some very clever pedestrian monitoring systems, which can tell us just how busy different parts of the city are. They have sensors arou


My smartcard collection – I’ll report on Opal soon!

Here is my collection of Australian public transport smartcards. The ones I'm missing are Adelaide, Canberra and Tasmania -- all of which have been introduced since my last visits there. Notably Perth's SmartRider is the only card that is blank on the back, which is why the card number (which I've blacked-out) is on the front. Some friends and family have also given me cards from over

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Metro Bingo :-(

Given the Flemington/Showgrounds line isn't running this morning, and the Stony Point line has planned bustitution, I'm going to go ahead and declare that we have Metro Bingo this morning due to the storms. And no, it's not much better on many of the roads. Good luck to everybody (myself included, shortly) trying to get to work this morning. PS. My trip in wasn't too bad. Although

Photos from ten years ago, Toxic Custard newsletter

Some photos from July 2004

Another in my series of old photos from ten years ago... In 2004 the situation with crowded trains hadn't really hit as a big political problem, which is why it took until 2006 for the government to decide not to scrap all the Hitachi trains after all, but expand the fleet. It was certainly occurring at that point however, and I snapped this photo one morning at Richmond. I was particularly ple


Want to avoid Chuggers? Now you can, with City of Melbourne’s handy map

One of the great things about Melbourne's CBD (the Hoddle Grid) is that it's so easily navigable. There are lots of parallel streets and laneways, so when walking around it's pretty easy to take an alternative route, and still not get lost. You can use this to avoid Chuggers. Charity Muggers are notorious for getting in the way of pedestrians, desperately trying to get people to sign up for


Hardly any money on your #Myki? You can still travel – but beware of the caveats

Just a little tip -- because it seems a lot of people don't know this: For metropolitan services, you can touch-on a Myki and travel with any balance which is non-negative, that is, zero or above. It doesn't matter if the card balance is less than the fare. This means if you find yourself needing to catch a tram, with only tiny amount on your card, and nowhere to top-up (thanks to the ret


The Ukrainian crisis – so many familiar names in East St Kilda

Hearing the news of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has an added dimension for someone who grew up in East St Kilda. Lots of street names in the area come from the Crimean War -- from the British forces, names of battles (which in turn are mostly named after locations), and even Florence Nightingale is in there. There's some guesswork here, not an authorative list: Alma Road -- The Battle


A look inside the new E-class trams

Melbourne's first new trams in years -- and the first Australian-built trams in about twenty years -- were officially launched yesterday, after months of testing around the network. The first two "E-class" trams, numbered 6001 and 6002 started service. I managed to catch one for a ride at lunchtime. As you can see from the video, the destination displays look very flickery on camera. The