The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has renewed calls for Melbourne’s level crossing elimination program to be reintroduced, highlighting the safety benefits for the community, and listed ten crossings on Melbourne’s tram and orbital SmartBus networks as the first priority. (Jump to map)
PTUA President Daniel Bowen said that “Sydney actively removed its level crossings over the years to the point they have only a handful left, but we stopped our plans here in Melbourne in the late 1960s and diverted much of the funding instead into freeway construction. The result is we still have 170-odd level crossings across metropolitan Melbourne that cause delays to the community, commuters and freight every day.”
Recent projects such as Dorset Road in Boronia, Middleborough Road in Box Hill and Taylors Road in St Albans have successfully highlighted the safety benefits to the community, and work has also already started on the removal of Melbourne’s most notorious level crossing at Springvale Road in Nunawading, a project which also attracted federal funding.
“We know that every time a level crossing is removed, there is significant benefit to the community despite the short-term pain of road and rail line closures. This requires careful planning, and may mean it’s better to remove several nearby crossings as part of one project. If only removal project was completed each year over the next 10 years, many of Melbourne’s worst traffic snarls, especially those which impact on high-frequency public transport services, would disappear,” said Mr. Bowen.
The PTUA has highlighted the following level crossings which have significant impact on high- frequency public transport services, and if eliminated, would see an improvement in flow for public transport vehicles and general traffic alike.
- Bell Street and Munro Street, Coburg (one project) (Smartbus 903)
- Springvale Road, Springvale (Smartbus 888/889)
- Bell Street, Cramer Street and Murray Road, Preston (one project) (Smartbus 903)
- Glen Huntly Road and Neerim Road, Glenhuntly (one project) (Tram 67, and trains subject to speed restrictions)
- Balcombe Road, Mentone (Smartbus 903)
- Buckley Street, Essendon (Smartbus 903)
- Clayton Road, Clayton (Smartbus 703)
- Burke Road, Gardiner (Tram 72, and trains subject to speed restrictions)
- Camp Road, Campbellfield (crossing elimination and new station) (proposed Smartbus 902)
- Glenferrie Road, Kooyong (Tram 16, and trains subject to speed restrictions)
“The buck stops with Roads Minister Tim Pallas. The reliability of Melbourne’s road-based public transport services is at risk due to growing congestion and traffic snarls, and a program to eliminate some of the major problems across the city is long overdue,” concluded Mr. Bowen.