Traffic Congestion – Sydney’s Paradigm Paralysis

On returning from my overseas trip in July of this year I came across an article published in the (sydney) magazine entitled “I have a dream” which explored four different experts’ points of view regarding the state of our city: where did we go wrong and where do we go from here?

This was quite timely as I was already in the process of writing up notes and observations collected during a visit to Milan.

If you haven’t heard or read about the recent increases to the NSW Parking Levy you must either live on some other planet or don’t own a car (in either case you can stop reading now). So far all we have been able to determine is that the levy is merely a tax grab on the part of a State Government that is on the brink of disaster – a relatively easy way to collect a few more million, the destination of which nobody can tell.

Several articles appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 23rd October and 24th August 2009, heralding such headlines as “Access for all to Public Transport”, “Charge for road use” and “Transport plan to put metropolis back on the rails”. Even more relevant is the article “Schemes to raise the $40b needed for improvements”. In this latter article two points are raised relating to the plan put forward by Garry Glazebrook, of the University of Technology in Sydney, which includes an extensive system of new, mostly underground, Metro trains:

Congestion pricing in Singapore, London, Stockholm and Milan discourages residents from bringing cars into the city centres and the money raised helps fund public transport.

Parking levies, such as the $44 million the NSW Government collected in 2002 from parking in the CBD, Parramatta, Chatswood, Bondi Junction and St Leonards. The levy was raised in the mini-budget and could be further enhanced by extending it to other suburban centres, as public transport in those areas improves.

I therefore thought it timely to review the systems adopted in two European cities and the benefits that have resulted from their introduction.

Continue reading this article, including a focus on the London Congestion Charge and the Milan ECOPASS scheme, by downloading the rest of the report in PDF format here.

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