Monday, September 7, 2009

Opposition to the Sherwood Road Bus Depot – Is NIMBYism at work?

The BCC’s plans to build a new bus depot on industrial land in the suburb of Sherwood has stirred up a lot of controversy. The ensuing debate has also revealed how many people feel about public transport and development in general. These issues are likely to impact on all areas of Brisbane, including the Pullenvale ward, as the Council and State Government look to expand public transport infrastructure and promote higher density living in general.

The planned depot at 469 Sherwood Road would accommodate up to 200 buses. Clearly, in order to provide the extra buses Brisbane needs there has to be somewhere to put them. Spreading depots over the city allows bus drivers the opportunity to live near their place of work, means buses can be kept nearer to the start of their routes and (hopefully) will improve their reliability. At capacity, buses will come and go from the depot about 700 times a day. Current traffic on local arterial roads is over 30 000 vehicles a day.

At first glance the proposed site would appear to be a good one, it is near urban areas but is actually industrial land and is next to a major road that could presumably handle the extra traffic.

So why are so many local residents opposed? Is the site simply inappropriate or is it a case of Not In My Backyard? As usual the opposition runs from reasoned, to irrational scaremongering.

Objections and (some) counter arguments include (click to expand)

Depot will pollute the Oxley creek – Will it? And would a factory be less polluting?

Buses will cause traffic congestion – If some buses are used on local runs they can decrease congestion. In any case ~700 buses (mostly travelling to/from depot outside peak traffic hours) will have little effect compared to ~30 000 cars.

Better sites available – Could be true (the BCC claims to have picked the best one).

Nearby school, traffic dangerous to children – School at busy intersection. Bus routes already go past, extra buses would increase traffic by less than 0.5%. A cynic might suggest this would probably pale in comparison to the traffic created by parents driving their kids to and from the school.

Pollution/diesel fumes from buses – New buses run on natural gas, which is cleaner burning that petrol/diesel with much lower particulate emissions. Even if some depot buses were diesel buses when you have ~30 000 other vehicles a day would it make much difference?

Safety of storing fuel near homes – Any more dangerous than a service station?

Will Sherwood/Corinda residents get extra bus services? – Currently unclear.

Bus/depot noise.

So, is this a case of NIMBY or have the council got it wrong? How would we feel about a similar depot in our area?

Nb: Residential concerns mostly sourced from here.
Information sourced from BCC website and Walter Taylor South Action Group.

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