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Residents must unite against the Northern Link car tunnel in Brisbane

This was originally published on on 5 Jun 08.

Local impacts of the car tunnel will include property resumptions, increases in air pollution, more traffic, a four year construction zone and loss of neighbourhood amenity. City-wide impacts include increased traffic on the road network, increased greenhouse emissions, massive outlay of public funds and accelerated depletion of scarce oil reserves.

Although it is important for residents to work for better outcomes in their own street, all residents must ensure they are not just pushing the problem into someone else's backyard. That is no solution at all.

Even if residents get better outcomes in their particular street (which does not seem likely, given the bulldozer approach used by government when dealing with similar groups in the Airport Link planning process) the broader impacts will still have major adverse impacts on them. For example, even if residents have the exhaust stack moved 100m away from them they will still be exposed to the pollution emitted from it, even if it is not next door.

If residents conclude that the tunnel is a foregone conclusion then this sends the message to government that it is acceptable to build road tunnels through residential areas at a time when reducing greenhouse emissions and usage of scarce oil resources are global priorities.

If communities show no opposition then Government will keep building car tunnels across Brisbane (e.g. next might be Toowong to Everton Park) and a whole new group of residents will be exposed to the same issues you might face and that residents of Wooloongabba, Windsor and Bowen Hills are already facing.

Yes, the No Tunnels fight is difficult, but this is partly due to the fact that thousands of people have decided to give up and accept their fate without even putting up a fight. Imagine if all the thousands of people who are thinking "We can't influence the government's decision on the tunnel, so we'll just keep quiet" worked together. We would start to see some major change.

It is important for residents to put forward alternatives to government such as improved commuter and freight rail, priority bus corridors, more frequent cross-city public transport and a convenient network of bicycle paths. Residents must send these messages to government and to other members of Brisbane to show that there are far superior alternatives to the Northern Link disaster.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT - NOT CAR TUNNELS is the best slogan for this campaign.