Doncaster Rail Project needs community involvement

The Perth freeway rail could be a model for the Doncaster rail project

By Ian Hundley

If built Doncaster Rail could provide a sustainable solution for Banyules’ traffic congestion and lack of public transport.

As you will know the Victorian government has recently embarked on a study of a possible rail service for Doncaster. People in the City of Manningham have been lobbying/ campaigning for a rail service for many years. In the early 1980’s a study of  a proposed line was undertaken which would have connected the network at Victoria Park with the service occupying the middle of the Eastern Freeway reservation to about Bulleen Road. The rail reservation then extended directly up to Doncaster Shoppingtown.

In the end the service did not go ahead and the non-freeway part of the reservation was sold off by the government of the day. Some preliminary excavation work was then commenced near Victoria Park station but was later filled with gravel.

The current study is comprised of two parts. The first part, which is likely to conclude in about August 2012 will be considering alternative routes for a rail line. There will be a public presentation of these alternative routes in about March 2012. Consideration will also be given to issues related to extending a rail service eastward beyond Doncaster to Ringwood. The first part of the study will only contemplate a heavy rail service, but it is possible that the second part of the study could consider other vehicle types.

You will find details of the study on the Department of Transport website at  http://www.transport.vic.gov.au/projects/pt/doncaster-rail-link In addition, the study team website at  http://www.doncasterrailstudy.com/

Opportunity for public comment and feedbackThe Department indicates that the study will be of potential interest to people in the municipalities of Manningham, Boroondara, Whitehorse, Maroondah and Banyule. The question of the alignment is important not least because of potential environmental issues and the accessibility of the service to residents/ businesses in different areas along the route.If the service were to go down the Eastern Freeway reservation there are likely to be stations on the freeway reservation, possibly at Chandler Highway, Burke Road and Bulleen Road, and similar to the Perth, W.A., model on the Rockingham and Clarkson lines. These should logically be accessible to Banyule residents by connecting bus service.I attended the community workshop on Wednesday evening at Manningham which I estimate was attended by about 60 people, mostly residents of Manningham. The idea of a railway line was supported by the majority but there were some who expressed concern about possible changes to their way of life. Some people raised issues about the preservation of the open space they value and a current lack of car parking space, seemingly unaware that the two concerns were potentially incompatible. This seems to often be the case in locations that are car dependent, as Manningham has been since it became a dormitory suburb in the 1960’s, but have not yet sacrificed all their open space to roads expansion.Join Friends of Banyule to get more involved in this study to give thought to how the addition of a rail service to Doncaster, and perhaps beyond, can be promoted as a preferred approach to projects such as the proposed North-East Link. Another point to ponder is the Baillieu government’s recent enthusiastic endorsement of the East-West link from the western extremity of the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road. If it goes ahead it is likely to significantly increase traffic in and around the Melbourne CBD and in a roads dominated transport system could be seen to be complementary with the proposed North-East Link. Note in particular that if the project went ahead it would also be likely to absorb space on the Eastern Freeway reservation – space that should be better used for the train service to Doncaster.To join the monthly Friends of Banyule meetings become a member or contact us at friendsofbanyule@gmail.com.
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About Friends of Banyule Inc

President & Public Officer of Friends of Banyule Inc, a community not- for-profit organisation to enhance and protect the environmental assets of Banyule City. Currently fighting the proposed NE Link freeway through one of inner Melbourne's most ecologically sensitive areas and historical areas.
This entry was posted in Baillieu Government, Car Dependency, Investment in Rail, Ne-Link Freeway, Public Transport, SmartBus, Trains and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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