If you could clone one element from another city you’ve visited — a building, a cultural institution, a common street food, etc. — and bring it back to your own hometown, what would it be?
I think it would have to be infrastructure. Roads; rail and tram networks; more efficient public transport systems. Seriously, how is it 2014 and we’re STILL without an airport rail link?!? Oh that’s right, because we’re so behind the 8-ball it’s ridiculous.
I look at other capital cities with populations around the same as ours, and slightly larger and their transport infrastructure and network is far superior to what we have. Granted, it’s cost them billions of dollars to implement, but at least they had the concept to think forward to what they will require for their citizens within 10 – 15 – 20+ years. You can’t expect that our current infrastructure is going to be sufficient enough for a city with a couple of million people, and rapidly growing at a considerable rate.
Our governments seems to be reactive rather than proactive in terms of planning and development. Granted, yes it all boils down to money, and how much governments are prepared to (and able to) spend, but to me, it makes more sense to invest more money initially to set up a great foundation, rather than just start with something basic and adequate and then expand down the track.
For example, let’s talk about highways and major arterials so, for us we have something called the Tullamarine Freeway which is the primary route to our major airport. In some sections (the tollway) it gets as wide as right lanes, but then for a massive section after the tollway, it narrows down to only four lanes (two in each direction). Only recently has government announced that they will be spending an obscene amount of money to widen the highway…. Now surely, SURELY somebody had the initial thought to make it bigger like six or eight lanes instead of four, given that it’s a major arterial that leads directly to the airport; it’s one of the busiest roads in the city, and therefore is always one of the most problematic. As soon as there is an accident on the Tulla… Hundreds (if not thousands) of people potentially miss their flights. It’s also one of the oldest roads, and one of those roads that is regularly being repaired. For those of you who have travelled along it, you will be familiar with all the lumps and bumps and holes it has…. Yes it’s great that they’re expanding it, but it should have been expanded when it was first developed.
And that’s just one of the major roads we have. There was also talk about expanding the Westgate bridge which is already eight (or is it ten) lanes… But I’m not sure if that project is still going ahead, again, something that is going to take a couple of years to complete, and create a nightmare for everybody who uses it.
I just wish that fifteen years ago, our government had a vision, and actually planned for the future… Over develop and over build which would seem quite ridiculous at the time, and quite grandiose, but 15 – 20 years down the track, everybody would be quite grateful that they had the initiative to be so grand back then, because it would still be quite adequate for the growing population.