While the community is divided on the level crossing removal proposals for Moreland Road and Bell Street, it seems everyone agrees Reynard street level crossing should be removed as part of the project.
What wasn’t presented for community discussion by the Level Crossing Removal Authority was a whole of line solution.
Each major road level crossing is being considered largely in isolation from other level crossings.
This is simply bad planning.
The Level Crossing Removal Authority ruled out road under rail or road over rail options as both of these would entail significant property acquisitions, and told the community that this was why they were not under consideration.
Only Rail over road (skyrail) or rail under road (trench) solutions were declared open for discussion by the community.
It is even possible one option will be chosen for one level crossing and another for the other major road level crossing creating a roller coaster ride on the Upfield line.
Out of the two flawed proposals, the skyrail solution is still the best for the possibility of providing commuter veloway and more extensive shared use paths, parkland, open space and vegetation, as contained in our submission.
A solution not given public consideratiion
There is another option: full cut and cover, whereby the rail trench is made deeper to encompass the train electrical cabling which is then covered enabling 2 to 3 metres of soil to allow trees, grassland and open space and pedestrian and cycling paths on top.
Cycling Underpasses of major roads could be engineered as part of cut and cover, for a dedicated separated commuter cycling path.
But none of this was presented for community discussion.
The Full cut and cover would likely be in the realm of 20-50 percent more expensive than the other two options, and would need to be a whole of line approach.
It’s called divide and conquer.
While we argue about two flawed proposals, we ignore the failure of the Level Crossing Removal Authority to fully present all the options at the community consultation, and the opportunity for an underground metro rail service and linear park through Brunswick and Moreland.
Instead the Level Crossing Authority have Moreland residents arguing between two flawed options, when the community engagement process itself was flawed.
Read the Front page article in the Moreland Leader:
Push to cut extra crossing
Commuters want Reynard St in project
MORELAND commuters are calling for a one-and-done solution for the removal of level crossings at Coburg and Moreland railway stations that would see Reynard St included in the works.
Two options for the removal of level crossings at Bell St and Moreland Rd are open to public feedback with both rail-over-road and rail-under-road options touted.
The community has been split on the possibility of sky rail but agree that Reynard St should be included in the works.
Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton said while his association wasn’t ready to declare which method was better, a combined solution to remove all crossings was preferred.
“We think there is merit in a ‘do it once, do it right’ approach, going right through from Moreland Rd to Bell St and doing away with the Reynard St crossing,” Mr Morton said. “It avoids the need to come back in a few years time and shut the line all over again to do more work.”
In both designs, the Reynard St crossing, which sits between the two crossings, stays in place.
Frank Trimboli, a founding member of the Facebook group Don’t Raise the Rail Moreland Bell, said it made “total sense” to include the whole stretch in the works.
Mr Trimboli, who lives near Moreland station, said he preferred the rail-under-road plan as it would create more space and have less impact on the look of the area.
“You can actually cap it and use it as community space,” he said.
Extend the Bike Path to Upfield campaign co-ordinator John Englart has called for the sky rail option and wants a veloway — a raised bike path — running either alongside or below the rail track.
LXRA project director Michael Caink said the authority would continue to listen to feedback to find the best way forward and no decisions had been made.
The authority has earmarked 50 crossings for removal but Reynard St does not feature on the list.
Feedback on the designs can be made online until August 9 at levelcrossings.vic.gov.au