Questions and Answers
Q: Is MTAG wanting all trucks banned?
A: Absolutely not.Trucks are crucial to the functioning of our society. Trucks that have legitimate business in our communities are welcome. However port related trucks that are simply short cutting through our residential streets to avoid congestion or tolls on the Bolte Bridge are not welcome. It is these trucks that MTAG wants rerouted away from residential areas
Q: The trucks were here before the residents so don’t they have a right to use our streets?
A: Most of Yarraville’s houses were built around the turn of the century, long before the trucks. Yes industry was here as well but modern road transport was only introduced in the 1950’s, prior to this freight was moved almost entirely by rail. The trucks came long after the houses and use roads never designed for massive modern trucks, particularly today’s double and triple trailers.
Q: Where can the trucks go if they are banned from our streets?
A: MTAG wants trucks without a local destination to use the Westgate Freeway and Citylink. VicRoads have done studies to show this saves time and fuel even when tolls are considered. Presently many trucks exit Westgate Freeway at Williamstown Road to avoid the tolls. MTAG is also campaigning for a truck bypass to be built to give truckies an alternative route to the port through industrial area.
Q: Francis Street and Somerville Road have truck curfews already. Isn’t this enough?
A: Francis Street and Somerville road have night and partial weekend curfews. However MTAG believes this is not enough, all residents on truck routes should have curfews and weekend curfews. At the moment during curfew hours the trucks just use other residential streets such as Moore Street and Buckley Street. These roads were never designed to carry heavy volumes of trucks either and are also lined with houses. During these curfew hours there is ample capacity on the freeway sytem
Q: We now have cleaner fuels and tighter emission controls for trucks so what’s the health problem?
A: Yes the federal government introduced new laws in January 2009 to reduce the amount of sulphur in diesel to 10 parts per million (ppm) down from 500 ppm before 2006. New trucks must also meet EuroV emission regulations. However many of the trucks using roads in the inner west are much older with dirty engines. However even new trucks still pump out diesel exhasut which the World Health Organisation recently declared causes cancer, there’s no question any more about the negative health impacts. With the new standards diesel exhaust contains even finer particles which lodge deeper into lungs and can cross into the blood stream.
Q: Why doesn’t Maribyrnong Council just ban the trucks and container parks from our city?
A: The major roads in our city are controlled by VicRoads and not our Council. Maribyrnong Council can enforce bans on minor roads and streets but not the major routes. The same applies for container parks, the council does not have the power to rezone current land use to force containers out of the municipality.
Q: It’s only the new yuppies that don’t want the trucks, why don’t they just move out, the trucks were here first?
A: Whether you have lived here for only one year or for 30 years it doesn’t matter. No one should be exposed the massive number of trucks we experience in Melbourne’s West. Residents here have just as much right to clean air and safe streets as someone living in other parts of Melbourne. The freight being moved through our streets is for the benefit of every Victorian, we should not pay the price with our health. According to VicRoads over 21,000 trucks use the streets of Maribyrnong every day and these numbers will continue to grow.
Q: The State Government is building a new container terminal at Webb Dock, wont this fix the problem?
A: No, this new dock is needed to deal with the expected doubling of imports into Melbourne Port over the next 10 years. This new dock will deal with half the expected growth of an additional 2.5 million containers by 2025. The other half of the growth will be met by Swanston Dock, where the majority of our trucks originate from now. Without an intervention we will see truck numbers in the west increase and increase.
Q: Will the planned East West Freeway link from the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road remove the trucks?
A: The government is only planning to build the first stage from the Eastern Freeway to Citylink. This will not remove one truck from our streets. The first stage will cost between $6-8 billion and is about 8 years away from completion. Even if the money if found for the western section its completion would be at least 15 years away. However MTAG does not believe the completed road project will alleviate the truck issues around Yarraville and Footscray. We will continue to have trucks exiting the Westgate Freeway at Yarraville to avoid congestion and tolls on the Bolte Bridge. We are also weary of bigger and bigger roads as being the solution. Past projects including the Western Ring Road, Westgate Freeway and Citylink and have only added to our truck problems and caused more rat runs through our residential areas.
Q: What does MTAG believe the solution to the problem is?
A: There’s no one magic solution. We need a range of solutions including a truck bypass; freight on rail and intermodal hubs plus extended and additional curfews to control the trucks. However of all the solutions that have been discussed a truck bypass will deliver the biggest reduction in trucks, The previous state government estimated their planned Truck Action Plan would have remove over a million truckes per year from residential streets.