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Brisbane’s Cross River Rail – feeding the centre at the expense of people in the suburbs?

Brian Feeney writes in The Conversation (6.7.17) that the Cross River Rail proposal may well help get more commuters into Brisbane’s CBD, but the author argues that it offers few benefits for the parts of the broader metropolitan area where most population growth is occurring.

‘The Queensland government is pushing for the Cross River Rail project, a second railway connection through Brisbane’s CBD.

‘In the state’s ShapingSEQ regional plan, advocates of the project claim it will remove a constraint on job growth by improving access to inner Brisbane. However, the plan neglects an alternative strategy of prioritising job growth in a few strong “metropolitan centres” within the greater Brisbane metropolitan area to the CBD’s north, west and south.

‘The Cross River Rail project emerged from a narrow focus on boosting the CBD’s peak-hour commuting capacity by overcoming a bottleneck on the single rail bridge across the Brisbane River. The issue was framed as a problem, rather than a potential opportunity to encourage employment decentralisation.

‘… The sense of urgency created around Cross River Rail works against the need for genuine community engagement in planning for the Brisbane metro area and the broader region.

‘The Cross River Rail project should be considered in the context of a metropolitan area that citizens want, not simply as a response to forecast travel demand.’

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