Brisbane City Council is about to spend $115 million of ratepayers’ money converting a 700-metre stretch of Lytton Road in East Brisbane from four lanes to six. This is only stage 1 of the ‘Wynnum Road Corridor Upgrade’ – a major road-widening project which will cost several hundred million dollars over the next ten years, but which will fail to significantly reduce congestion.
Research from around the world clearly demonstrates that if you increase a road’s capacity, new motorists will choose to drive and fill the extra space. If you widen roads, travel time doesn’t significantly improve – you just get more cars on the road, which means more noise and air pollution, and in the case of Wynnum Road, more traffic funnelled into the already-congested Kangaroo Point/Story Bridge bottleneck.
We can do better
Instead of widening Wynnum Road, council should first seek to reduce traffic congestion with a high-frequency bus route and peak-hour transit lanes. Currently, buses along Wynnum Road are infrequent and unreliable, meaning many residents of the inner-eastern suburbs who might otherwise catch public transport are choosing to drive.
For months, I have repeatedly asked Councillor Cooper to publish the business case and feasibility studies for the project online so they can be publicly scrutinised and debated, but she has refused to do so. The lack of transparency around such an expensive project is undemocratic and reckless.
Read more about the Widening of Lytton Road here