Sorry if this is a bit OT, but it has issues for cyclists as well.
Today's Herald-Sun reveals details of the government's plan to run a large scale commuter ferry service to the west
to "reduce congestion on the West Gate Bridge". On first glance this seems a good idea - maybe cyclists could use it and actually take bikes aboard. I hate to put down a viable PT plan but this one just shows how out of touch and illogical this government's plans are.
Such a commuter service, to make a difference to West Gate traffic, would need to provide for quite a large scale operation - thinking 300-400 seat ferries, running every half hour at least, or even every 20 mins in peak. This demands a few things.
1. Parking - Werribee South is well away from the new suburbs around Werribee. Most people will choose to drive, and will need to leave their cars there. This will demand either vast acres of car-parking (across fertile market garden farmland), or perhaps multi-storey car parks.
2. Congestion - the new congestion will be on the narrow roads to Werribee South and Point Cook. I woud not like to be competing for road space on a bike on such roads to get to the ferry.
3. Ferry docking - The west coast of Port Phillip Bay is very open and exposed to southerly and SW gales and storms. There is no natural harbour. So the government will need to build new man-made harbours to allow for all-weather access. This will have implications for coastal wave action and beach sand movements. The reason Sydney can run ferries so easily is because firstly, the harbour is very sheltered from storm waves, and secondly the distances are vey short. Same applies to Brisbane, Auckland.... etc.
4. Travel times - the stated "less than an hour" would need to have added to it the extra 30-45 mins it will take to get to the ferry terminals from places like Tarneit. I really don't see the time factor being a winner.
5. Cost - I've no idea about the costs, but would like to see a thorough cost/benefit comparison made between building ferry terminals (with the harbours) and running costs for them, compared with the costs of building and running a better western suburbs rail service.
6. Climate change - issues of greenhouse gas emmisssions should be considered, and I would think that a rail service would produce less carbon emissions than a ferry service on a per passenger/km basis.
I remain sceptical about the idea, but look forward to more information.