Readers offer pollies ideas on how to end our traffic pain
UPDATE 2pm: QUEENSLAND'S politicians seem stumped when it comes to finding a solution to the semi-permanent traffic jam that is the Bruce Highway between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
It's just as well, then, pollies, that the residents of the Sunshine Coast have your back.
After the Daily reported yesterday the LNP was demanding Queensland's Labor Government step up and fix the issue, but had no ideas of its own on how that might be done, readers were only too happy to offer some solutions of their own.
Interestingly, few of the comments from readers advocated simply adding more lanes to the existing highway (although some did), with many suggesting developing alternative routes, such as Steve Irwin Way, and fixing the rail line.
"Why not upgrade Steve Irwin way to 4 lanes (2 each way) then if there is a traffic incident there's an alternative," commented Jesse Serrell. "Upgrade the Bruce to 4 lanes each way not 3 and improve rail. All of these can ease congestion between Caboolture and the Coast."
"Link roads," suggested Tania Dee Chapman. "Build more roads. More lanes doesn't help. There are some places where there should be a road but there is not one. So everyone has no choice but to use the Bruce."
"Inland highway from Bells Creek Aura that runs parallel to Beerburum, Torbul and Donnybrook, and Caboolture," proposed Daniel Nitzsche.
"Upgrade Steve Irwin way to 4 lanes each way, upgrade (the) Bruce from Cooroy to Caboolture to six lanes.... And enforce the law of keep left unless overtaking."
Quite a few suggested a big boost to public transport, such as the recently touted North Coast Connect fast train, would improve things by taking cars off the road.
"Adding lanes just adds more cars. The only solution is fast and affordable rail when it comes to traffic," commented Ben Kelly.
Another popular solution was better driver training and stronger penalties for those who failed to follow the rules.
"Teach people how to drive and seriously fine them/suspend licences if they cause a crash due to inattention or tail-gating," suggested Cliff Chambers. "Way cheaper than building a bigger road. $1000 and 6 month suspension for the driver at fault in a crash requiring emergency services should be a good start."
Still others suggested working on local infrastructure and resources, so fewer people had to make the trip to Brisbane in the first place.
"How about more jobs in the Sunshine Coast so there's no need to drive to Brisbane and back every day or ... just provide the infrastructure before approving developments! City of grey," commented Julian Russell.
So there you are pollies. If you're stuck for ideas on any other major elements of policy affecting the Sunshine Coast, you know who to ask.
INITIAL REPORT: THE LNP has labelled this week's latest Bruce Highway logjam as just another example of the Palaszczuk Government's inaction in addressing SEQ congestion.
But when asked, shadow transport minister Steve Minnikin dodged questions about how the LNP would address the issue, saying that would be revealed ahead of the 2020 State Election.
"I feel for all those caught up in Labor's latest road-and-rail fail but sadly it's becoming the new norm for southeast Queenslanders," Mr Minnikin said.
"No wonder our roads are so clogged, because unfortunately no one can trust our rail network any more.
"It's such a shame that Brisbane trains have gone from a 96 per cent on-time running performance under the LNP to 470 fewer services per week and the nightmare we have now under Annastacia Palaszczuk.
"The Commonwealth Games start in less than a month and Labor must guarantee the trains will run so we are not embarrassed on the world stage.
"The LNP calls on the State Government to fast-track studies into alternate routes for the southeast and enact our plan for a second M1 as soon as possible."
Mr Minnikin said Sunshine Coast residents were sick of the Palaszczuk Labor Government's excuses and just wanted a new rail line built to end their commuting nightmares.
"Labor promised to build the Sunshine Coast rail duplication way back in 2009 when Anastacia Palaszczuk was the Transport Minister in the Bligh Government and here we are almost a decade later and nothing's happened," he said.
"Labor's at it again, claiming it'll build the Nambour-to-Beerburrum rail duplication but only after it's built a $15 billion rail line in Jackie Trad's electorate.
"The LNP committed to building this desperately-needed second rail line to the Sunshine Coast before the last election and our message to Annastacia Palaszcczuk is simple: just build it."
Asked to outline the LNP strategy for fixing southeast Queensland congestion, including which projects would get priority, Mr Minnikin said only that the LNP would release a congestion-busting plan for southeast Queensland in the lead-up to the 2020 election. That plan would clearly set out priorities, what they'd cost and how they would be funded.
He ignored questions about whether there should be a state infrastructure plan to match forecast growth and whether he prescribed the reason for the congestion now being experienced as a consequence of the rate and pace of growth, the failure to properly plan for the cost of that growth or a combination of both.