More roads is not progress

LORELIE Tacoma (Progress please, Melville Times, August 4) wonders why opponents of the Perth Freight Link have not “come up with an alternative route”.

This critique is disingenuous for two reasons.

Firstly, opponents have made practical, workable and commercially sensible suggestions that will achieve the stated aims of �reducing operating costs for the transport industry, business and commuters through free-flowing traffic movement�.

Those suggestions will also achieve reduced exhaust emissions, lower fuel use and improved safety.

The suggestions � to remind the author � are to re-open tier 3 rail lines, rebuild the Fremantle traffic bridge to allow for separation of the passenger and freight rail lines, allowing double-stacked freight trains, improve the port’s vehicle management system to reduce �empty running� and commence work on the outer harbour, which we know will be necessary in any event.

Simple, cost-effective solutions will achieve the same outcomes as the PFL without trashing the Beeliar wetlands, requiring the demolition of 70 homes for carving a massive multi-billion dollar six-lane highway through our communities.

These solutions are better and cheaper than the PFL. Proponents of the PFL have, as yet, offered no serious critique of them.

The second reason the author�s critique is disingenuous is that it assumes that the PFL will reduce exhaust emissions, improve traffic flow and improve safety.

The whole point of our objection is that it will not.

A toll will encourage trucks to avoid the PFL and move along our residential streets � leakage from toll roads is a plain fact, evidenced by the experience of every toll road in human history.

This will pose a serious safety hazard.

Additionally, the increased volume of truck movements that the PFL requires to be commercially viable will make exhaust emissions worse, not better.

As for improved traffic flow, it is not clear to me that the PFL will do anything but make the crossing of Stirling Bridge and the turn onto Tydeman Road anything other than a horrendous traffic snare.

Like the author, I too wish for progress, not stagnation.

I wish for our shortsighted politicians to progress beyond the bizarre notion that simply building more roads counts as progress.

TOMAS FITZGERALD, Palmyra.