Councils stand firm on clearways and B-triples

Melbourne councils refuse to support government push to extend clearway times and the introduction of B-triples

By Brad Gardner

Melbourne councils are refusing to support a government push to extend clearway times and the introduction of B-triples to cope with a growing freight task.

At the meeting of 79 councils last week, the local government peak representative body adopted an anti-clearway and anti-B-triple position.

According to a submission tabled during the meeting, the Brumby Government’s approach to extending clearway times in the morning and afternoon "is an inadequate response to a complex issue".

The submission, from the Boroondara City Council, also refutes the Victorian Transport Association’s (VTA) argument extending clearway times will reduce congestion and improve road freight productivity.

"It potentially inflicts a serious financial burden on struggling retail precincts yet, at best, will only deliver marginal additional road capacity, which will likely be taken up quickly by additional vehicles," the submission says.

"Alternative options have not been adequately considered and scant regard has been paid to the diminished safety of pedestrians and cyclists arising from higher vehicle speeds in busy areas."

As such, the Municipal Association of Victoria, which represents the councils, is pushing the Government to scrap the proposal following consultation with impacted councils, an analysis of alternatives and a broader strategy for sustainable transport solutions.

During the meeting, councils also opposed any moves for B-triples to operate on urban roads and streets.

Municipal Association of Victoria President Dick Gross claims the councils fear the bigger trucks and do not want them operating in suburbs or country towns.

B-triples are seen as the answer to the growing freight task, which is expected to double by 2020.

The trucking industry is pushing for their implementation to reduce the number of smaller trucks on the road and the productivity benefits B-triples bring by being able to carry more freight per load.

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