Community vision: stations straddling roads for increased pedestrian access with elevated cycle veloway

Community Vision for Coburg Station with elevated veloway and ground level cycling paths

The Community plan for Level Crossing Removal for Bell Street to Moreland Road includes both dedicated ground level walking and cycling paths and an elevated cycleway, or veloway, as part of the station design.

Part of the vision by the Upfield Corridor Coalition is for the elevated stations to stradle the major roads to increase pedestrian accessibility.

The Upfield Corridor Coalition commissioned some basic designs for how the elevated rail could look incorporating the Community vision document. The community Vision and commissioned artist impressions including a plan for Coburg Station, was presented at a Town Hall meeting at the Coburg Concert Hall on July 28.

The community coalition argue that Moreland and Coburg stations should stradle the Road crossings with pedestrian access to the elevated stations from both sides of Moreland Road and Bell Street. For Moreland station this also means the possibility of avoiding chopping down mature trees in Gandolfo Gardens and Moreland Reserve.

Mobility research experts Professor of Transport at  University of Sydney and PhD Candidate in the School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney, argue that stations that provide more access points are far more efficient and can substantially increase train patronage.

“adding a second entrance can make new transit-oriented development that much more valuable. This is because it will likely increase activity on the previously less accessible side of the station” the researchers say in the article on The Conversation website: How to increase train use by up to 35% with one simple trick.

This article was also published by the ABC as The design trick that could cut 12 minutes off your train commute.

The plan commissioned for Coburg station by the Upfield Corridor Coalition shows the veloway in blue and in the station cross-section.

Community Vision for Coburg Station with elevated veloway and ground level cycling paths

An elevated veloway is particularly important as there is a substantial pedestrian cycling conflict at Bell Street and around the Coburg station precinct, according to Active Transport Data. There is substantial pedestrian and cycling movements north south to the station and beyond the station, as well as substantial pedestrian traffic on an east-west axis. Providing an elevated veloway for commuter cycling would substabntially remove this conflict.

Cycling advocates recommend that an elevated veloway be provided attached to the Upfield rail viaduct with appropriate fencing and privacy screens, handrail lights to prevent light spill pollution, and with a minimum number of access points.

The veloway would be accessed south of O’Hea Street and rise with the rail viaduct. It would ramp down following the rail viaduct just north of Tinning street. A third access point with a switchback ramp could be provided near Reynard street, which is near the middle of the 2.3km veloway.

Map of proposed elevated veloway

LXRP provided statistics on daily traffic movements, number of trains, and daily station entries at their consultancy sessions, but provided no data on active transport movements.

I asked a question at Moreland Council meeting on July 10 regarding what active transport data Moreland Council had provided to LXRP, and what data LXRP had provided to Moreland Council as part of two way information briefing. I was formerly advised by Moreland Council officers in response to my questions:

“I’m writing in response to your question from the July 10 Council meeting, and I apologise for the delay in my reply. You asked whether Council had provided any active transport data to the LXRP, and if the LXRP had in return shared any data with us.

“I can advise that Council has supplied the following active transport data to the LXRP:

  • 2019 Upfield Corridor Study (24 hours – Park Street to Sydney Road)
  • 2017 Upfield Corridor Study (24 hours – Park Street to Sydney Road)
  • 1999 to 2015 Upfield Corridor Study (24 hours – Park Street to Sydney Road)
  • 2019 Super Tuesday report (2 hours at a range of locations across Moreland)
  • 2018 Super Tuesday report (2 hours at a range of locations across Moreland)
  • Super Tuesday Summary report up to 2017

“All of these studies relate to bicycle count data and have been provided to the LXRP to assist in their understanding of bicycle traffic along the Upfield Shared User Path and wider bicycle network across Moreland.”

“In response to your second question, officers are not aware of any active transport data that has been provided to us by the LXRP.”
Source: Email to John Englart – On Notice Item from 10 July Council meeting, 30 July 2019.

LXRP have the active transport data and are well aware of the need to resolve the pedestrian cycling conflict around station precincts and the problems with providing a solution for commuter cyclists as part of this project.

Between 2017 and 2019 the Moreland Council Upfield Corridor Study data indicated that at Moreland Road there was a 100 percent increase in the cycle traffic in a 24 hour period. For the peak period this translated as a 300 per cent increase in cycle traffic. It is clear commuter cycling is increasing rapidly in Moreland, which will be further assisted by Moreland’s Integrated Transport Strategy that is just starting to be implemented.

Providing a dedicated bike path between stations does not solve the pedestrian cycling conflict issue around station precincts and road crossings.

Providing a dedicated bike path between stations does not improve commuter cycling traffic flow and need for priority over the 5 road crossings, when cyclists are currently assisted by the Upfield wave effect following trains when the boom gates are down.

The Upfield bike path needs to be upgraded and future proofed as part of level crossing removal. Band-aid partial solutions are not enough.

John Englart
Sustainable Transport Campaigner

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