Secrecy and Victorian public transport projects

There are many things wrong with transport planning in Victoria, but today I’m going to look at a new theme – the way that the general public are drip fed information about new public transport projects.

Crane finished putting the new footbridge span into place

Melbourne Metro

Melbourne Metro is where I first discovered how poorly those in charge are sharing information with the public – as a result in 2012 I put together my own collection of artists impressions in order to make sense of the project.

CBD South station, cutaway view at Flinders Street end

In the five years since, detail is still sparse – but given the project is still being designed, I can cut them some slack.

An extra platform at West Footscray station

In April 2016 I discovered that an additional platform will be built at West Footscray station as part of the Melbourne Metro project. Again – the details were scarce, with just this artists impression to go on.

Image showing the location of proposed new station platform at West Footscray station, ton the Cross St side

The end result for me was more questions than answers – why weren’t alternatives considered.

Furlong Main level crossing removal project

The removal of the Main Road and Furlong Road level crossings in St Albans is another example of glossy artists impressions, and little actual detail.

LXRA artist impression of Ginifer Station
LXRA artists impression of Ginifer Station.

I ended up having to email the Level Crossing Removal Authority to find out what the actual plans are, and discovers that they are leaving a level crossing behind.

Caulfield to Dandenong corridor

And now for the big one – ‘Skyrail’ on the Caulfield to Dandenong corridor. In early 2016 the government unveiled their elevated rail solution for level crossing removals with a blaze of artists impressions, but instead triggered consternation among local residents, concerned that the new viaduct would overlook their backyards.

Image of the proposed design for the new Murrumbeena Station
LXRA artists impression of the new Murrumbeena station

Since then, the Level Crossing Removal Authority has tried to ease their concerns by sharing information – community consultation, noise reports, studies on rail noise, a fencing and landscaping program, a commitment to open space, and a voluntary purchase scheme, but the damage has already been done – they have lose the trust of the public.

Caroline Springs station

Finally an example of what should be happening – on the PTV page for Caroline Springs Station they go into detail of what they are actually building.

PTV diagram showing design features of Caroline Springs station
PTV diagram showing design features of Caroline Springs station

A first time for everything?

And the gold standard – from Perth

To me the best example of a public transport authority sharing information with the public was the New MetroRail project in Perth.

TransPerth train, photo by DBZ2313 via Wikimedia Commons

Completed in 2007 at a cost of $1.6 billion, the project doubled the size of Perth’s rail network, and along the way the government was incredibly open as to the proposed works, sharing both construction plans and detailed aerial maps with the public.

Footnote from the Frankston line

Early their year the North-Mckinnon-Centre grade separation project kicked into high gear, with new railway stations to be built at Ormond, Mckinnon and Bentleigh on the Frankston line. The problem – the designs are nowhwere to be found online!

To counter that, transport blogger Daniel Bowen had to attend an irregularly held public information session in person, photograph the hard copy plans, and then write up his interpretation of them.

Is there anyone at the Level Crossing Removal Authority who actually considers this a successful community engagement strategy?

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6 Responses to “Secrecy and Victorian public transport projects”

  1. Train User says:

    Great post, it looks like these lessons just aren’t learnt.

    Cardinia road duplication, no homes along the road instead of having road go under the rail line or over it, they’re duplicating it right through the level crossing.

  2. TranzitJim says:

    Was it not illegal to put extra of anything at any level crossing site?

    Or is that just putting in extra train tracks?

  3. LX User says:

    Hello Marcus,
    Public Transport Victoria has a website page “Railway Crossing Safety Initiatives and Upgrades” which refers to two series of ALCAM (“Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model”) field surveys. The first was completed in 2007 (and is available via a link from Daniel Bowen’s website). The second series apparently began in early 2009, and, importantly, included the initial surveys of Occupation and Private Railway crossings. Is this 2nd survey publicly available? It presumably was completed by early 2014, but I cannot find anything about it. I recently came upon your website, and any help would be appreciated.

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