Level crossings removals and car parking

As the Level Crossing Removal Project ramps up across Melbourne, there is one interesting requirement that comes up at every site – “no net loss of car parking”.

New car park on the eastern side of Thomastown station

Just take a look at the projects currently underway or in planning.

Heatherdale Road, Mitcham (Heatherdale station)

optimising the car parking to ensure there is no net loss of parking spaces.

Mountain Highway and Scoresby Road, Bayswater (Bayswater station)

Reconstructing the station car park with no net loss of spaces across the line

Blackburn Road, Blackburn (Blackburn station)

There are currently 112 car parking spaces at Blackburn Station. Detailed plans for car parking will be finalised when a contractor has been selected. It is expected that there will no net loss of parking at/near the station.

Furlong Road, St Albans (Ginifer station)

relocating the car park to the east of the rail line, maintaining at least the same number of spaces.

Main Road, St Albans (St Albans station)

reconstructing the station car park providing the same number of spaces as a minimum

North Road, McKinnon Road and Centre Road (Ormond, McKinnon and Bentleigh stations)

reconstructing the station car parks providing the same number of spaces across the three sites.

Burke Road, Glen Iris (Gardiner station)

There are currently 220 car parking spaces in addition to disabled parking spaces at. Gardiner Station. Although the location of the car park will change, there will be no net loss of car parking numbers.

Gardiner station is a real standout to me – 220 car parking spaces is the equivalent of a single carriage of passengers, and the area surrounding the station now has apartment blocks so tall they require a tower crane to build. So why is precious open space being wasted on ground level car parking?

X'Trapolis 198M and 961M cross the tram square at Gardiner station

Meanwhile in a different part of the State Government, VicTrack used surplus railway land at Glen Waverley to build apartments, and plans to do the same at Jewell, Hampton, Essendon, Windsor, West Footscray, Victoria Park, East Richmond, Ringwood and Watsonia stations.

You’ve got to love how Melbourne does transport planning, don’t you?

Behind the names

Notice anything about the names of the grade separation projects? They all feature the name and suburb of the road being removed, but don’t mention the railway station at all! it just goes to show – these projects are all improvements to the road network, with any benefits to rail being accidental.

A historical footnote

Back in 2006 a $4 billion proposal titled ‘Operation Double Fault‘ hit the news – it would have created 100,000 square metres of new land for 1500 apartments by grade separating the Glenferrie, Toorak, Tooronga and Burke Roads level crossings, and rebuilding the railway stations at Heyington, Gardiner, Kooyong and Tooronga.

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22 Responses to “Level crossings removals and car parking”

  1. Daniel says:

    At Ormond/Mckinnon/Bentleigh, it looks like Ormond will lose spaces on the NE side of the crossing, to be made up by adding spaces at Bentleigh, extending the current NW side car park almost all the way to the substation, eg about a third of the way to Mckinnon – and losing potential parkland/open space in the process.

  2. Kevin says:

    It’s understandable that project names do not include the station name: the station wouldn’t really have anything to do with the actual road crossing.

  3. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the Station Precinct Enhancement Program link.
    I wonder how/if the Jewell redevelopment would affect or be affected by any possible regrading of the Upfield line?
    And Essendon Station too, on the Craigieburn line, with Buckley St and several other road crossings in the vicinity?

    • Marcus Wong says:

      The current round of grade separation projects all involve a new station being slowly built at the bottom of a hole on surplus railway land, a ‘big bang’ shutdown to slewed the tracks over to the new alignment, and the old station abandoned.

      If the surplus land is sold off for apartments, it makes it impossible to follow a staged approach to construction.

  4. Rohan Storey says:

    Yes its all a bit curious how this has developed into one of the major infrastructure projects, yet it will do little for trains – though there is often the mention of number of train being limited by need to not have the gates closed for ages, so presumably will allow greater number of services than otherwise …..though that also relies on better signalling, which is a long way off !

    These projects do seem to get decided on an ad hoc basis – I seem to recall this all started with the idea of removing dangerous level crossings, for safety reasons. now its about removing bottlenecks, but also morphing into the need to remove all level crossings, which is now morphing into a complete rebuild of the dandenong line, which is maybe where it should have started.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      A holistic approach to upgrading specific railway lines does seem to be missing.

      If you travel back in time, Hawthorn-Camberwell was regraded as one program of works, as well the grade separation and quadruplication of the South Yarra-Caulfield corridor.

    • Beren says:

      Today at around 8:50am at Murrumbeena Station, the gates were held down for 7 minutes whilst 4 trains, 2 from each direction, were allowed to go through. We aren’t talking V/Line, just standard Metro stock. So, I doubt they were adhering to such a policy.

      Anyways, no benefit to rail? Look, you got a brand new station out of it, are you saying there is no benefit to commuters? The Springvale stations looks awesome, the parking lot is really well done. The bus stops connect very well right next to the gates into the station. No benefit? Pffft. If we didn’t have a grade separation, these stations would never see more then a light paint job.

      This is the future of rail in this city, sunk into the ground, I just think they should have done all of this during the GFC instead of those stupid school halls that benefit nobody. When I grew up you sung the national anthem on the basketball courts and nobody gave a toss.

      • Rohan Storey says:

        Still dont really understand why decking over is considered too expensive to even just put a single level of shops or something – surely while its all being built, simply building in a simple concrete deck wouldnt take much, the cost of which would be made back by the rent of shops on top, over time. A floor or two of flats also wouldnt add much to the weight, and add to the return (or maybe good for social housing?).

        There were / are shops along bridges on chapel street and in footscray, but the return on shops as part of a station entrance should be worth it. Decking over the station itself would also be easier than the main trench, since you could have supports on the platform, and you end up with far better weather protection; just have to make sure some natural lighting is built in as well.

        Having said that I now realise that the station entrance on the main road usually takes up most of the space, and might be a bit of a public plaza, and have the bus stops etc. so Im really just talking about down the side (if relevant) or on the other side of the main road (where there would still be room for central supports probably.

        In this case – found a 2014 urban design plan that indicated plaza over most of the station (which would have been nice), but sadly no rebuilding of shops on the other side of burke rd, where the intersection was exploded ages ago, destroying the villagy character. Really could have done more urban design wise.

  5. Bobman says:

    It will do plenty for trains by eliminating cars from the equation & pedestrians too.

    Remember, it takes one idiot to ruin thousands of people’s days. No crossing means no issues for cars AND trains.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      It gives some benefits for trains, but for the amount of money being spent the value for money is dubious.

      They are spending $$$ on passenger hostile railway stations at the bottom of concrete holes that we’ll have to live with for decades to come, when a far more usable station could have been built with the same amount of money.

    • Thomas Park says:

      Where did you go bobman?

  6. Ian Woodcock says:

    From what I have heard, ‘Operation Double Fault’ couldn’t generate sufficient income to cover its costs to make undergrounding that long segment of the Glen Waverley line viable. This is even though it passes through some very high value land, so it is an indicator of why it is that trenching is not the silver bullet many like to think it is. There is a big difference between developing under-utilised surplus railway land and having to dig a trench, put a railway in it, build a deck over the top and then develop on top of that.

  7. Beren says:

    Another thing is, have you been into that waiting room at Nunawading? I’m telling you, it’s a horrible room to sit in, it literally echoes badly, and the door is constantly opening and closing due to the position. Some of these new train stations are looking like absolute junk real quick. They look worse then those Siemens trains.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Unfortunately I can’t think of how you’d go about building a nice yet vandal proof waiting room – though placing the door sensors in passageways is an obvious no-no!

  8. mich says:

    “Gardiner station is a real standout to me

    • Marcus Wong says:

      My intended point was that Glen Iris is a suburb of increasing density, so handing over precious open space land just to be used a ground level car park is a waste.

      (I’ve since edited the sentence)

  9. mich says:

    I don’t know how the current strata law would deal effectively with units built over the train line. I guess it does, but I’d be wary buying one.

  10. Warwick Brown says:

    Meanwhile in Singapore…
    http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/north-south-expressway-to-have-express-bus-lanes-cycling-route-85-of-commuters

    There’s this view here for some reason that sinking lines should be expensive and difficult but I just don’t see it… Top-down cut and cover tunnels are quick and easy to build on road projects so I don’t see why rail should be different. It could perhaps involve the fact that only two primary bidders every submit for any real project in this state, compared to Singapore where they had something like 11 different companies building the Circle Line tunnels and station boxes.

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