Posted on 17. Jan, 2013 in News

The Baillieu Government’s refusal to consider proposals to fix one of the state’s worst traffic bottlenecks has caused major headaches for would-be spectators at Melbourne’s premiere international sporting event, Shadow Roads Spokesman Tim Pallas said today.

Mr Pallas said documents obtained through Freedom of Information demonstrate that Road Minister Terry Mulder rejected a proposal in March 2011 that would have alleviated the traffic snarl on the doorstep of Melbourne Park, home to the Australian Open.

“Thousands of tennis enthusiasts are getting a front seat view of Rod Laver Arena, but it is on the wrong side of the turnstiles as they are stuck in their cars for up an hour and half trying to get through the Swan Street/CityLink intersection,” Mr Pallas said.

“What is infuriating is that a solution to the traffic snarl was provided to Mr Mulder but he did nothing for nearly 12 months, ultimately rejected it out of hand.

“As a result, the experience for thousands of spectators who drove or took taxis to the tennis centre has been a slow frustrating one – and Mr Mulder is the one responsible.

“The bottleneck is so bad that many motorists are making illegal turns, risking fines and accidents in order to cut the queue.”

Mr Pallas said a proposal from RACV, which suggested altering the dedicated Swan Street turning lane (into CityLink) into an optional turning lane, along with removing the median strip from Swan Street, would have cut the commute time in and out of the tennis centre precinct.

“Mr Mulder went into hiding today when the traffic starting backing up, instead sending out VicRoads to answer questions about the snarl,” Mr Pallas said.

“VicRoads response was that the traffic movement was acceptable and there were other options for motorists aside from using Swan Street.”

“Right now we think the arrangement of the lane is appropriate.” said a VicRoads spokesman.

“The claims that the setup is appropriate will give commuters and tennis fans little to cheer about as they continue to endure lengthy waits in slow moving traffic,” Mr Pallas said.

“VicRoads have suggested changing the signalling sequences at the intersection and installing new signage, which is unlikely make any significant difference.

“The fact is Mr Mulder made the decision to do nothing on Swan Street, which is why, each day of the Australian Open this year, people are spending more time sitting in their car and less inside Rod Laver watching the tennis.”

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