Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Doncaster Rail Study: Options divide community

I often think about the prospect of rail to Doncaster and often for me it doesn’t seem to make sense. One argument is we are the only municipality without a heavy rail line. Does that really matter? We have a line to Eltham to the North and a line to Box Hill to the South. I’m sure there are other areas around Melbourne that need to travel further to their rail line in a municipality that has one.

Where is the parking? Parking at existing stations is inadequate so are we to expect parking at new stations will magically be any better. Certainly paid parking at Shoppingtown would kill parking in that area for train travel and free parking would create a conflict with paid parking at Shoppingtown.

Interestingly I thought the comment was probably the best aspect of the article. The commenter suggested a light rail (tram) from Doncaster to Box Hill. That made me think about the Balwyn tram line and how it finishes in the middle of nowhere. On a Sunday to get from the end of the tram line to Shoppingtown can take hours between buses. That simply doesn’t make sense. That isn’t a public transport system that people will use.

Why not extend the Balwyn line to Shoppingtown and then to Box Hill to create a loop.

For me the missing element of public transport is a bus from The Pines in Doncaster East along Foote Street, Templestowe Road to Heidelberg Station. As it is now the delays caused by multiple buses means it isn’t a timely way to travel yet it would knock of a considerable amount of time having to go to Eltham first.

The biggest bottleneck is the bridge joining Bulleen and Heidelberg. If the Greensborough ring road was extended to East Link much of the traffic would be removed from that area making it much better for public transport. As it is now, buses are delayed with the heavy traffic.

What is really missing is for politicians to use public transport. If they did we’d have the best system in the world. As it is they make decisions on public transport they wouldn’t even use themselves. Force politicians to use public transport and we’d get some real world decisions being made.

Ultimately however JustLocal is about getting people to think about doing more locally. Do we really need a heavy rail system? If we put the same amount of thought and funding to create local jobs the need for heavy rail systems to the area and for much of the car traffic is reduced. Remember according to council figures only 15% of people regularly use public transport which means 85% don’t use public transport.

Next time you’re thinking about buying a product service think about buying local. Make sure you don’t get tricked by businesses outside the area with bigger advertising budgets. Use a local business. Buy locally if you can. Build a stronger local community and we’ll reduce our impact on the environment, save time and resources and heavy rail just won’t seem so important.

MANNINGHAM residents have failed to back any one of the three rail options proposed by the Doncaster Rail Study.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
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Rod said...

"Why not extend the Balwyn line to Shoppingtown and then to Box Hill to create a loop."
Go take a look at what they did to Whitehorse Road and then tell me that you'd like to see that in Doncaster and Tram Roads.
Trams belong in densely populated areas. They are a complete waste of space and money in the outer suburbs. The only thing that they can do that a bus cannot is bring all other traffic to a stand.

JustLocal said...

Hi Rod,

Thank you also for sharing your opinion. More people sharing their opinion should mean a better outcome for everyone.

Personally I can't see a reason to create a loop. It is 3.6km From Shoppingtown to Balwyn Road. From Balwyn Road to the freeway would be similar to the existing tram line. Remove the bus lanes from the freeway to Shoppingtown, put the tram line in the middle and cars will be no worse off. Make Doncaster Road from Balwyn Road to Shoppingtown a clearway and traffic flow should be very good. If not a clearway have street parking in North Balwyn have indented parking for local car parking so they don't block traffic flow.

Going from Shoppingtown to Box Hill would add around 3-3.5km to the Box Hill line which doesn't make sense to me. But that's just my view. I don't think the roads are wide enough along Elgar or Tram road without significant impact to vehicular traffic.

Doncaster Hill is planned as a high density area and the new estate to be developed on the golf course would add even more residents.

The bus hub at High Street and Doncaster Road would be an excellent place for people to transfer from buses to the tram.

With Whitehorse Road I couldn't agree more if you're talking about the section from Union Road to Elgar Road. With the platforms it shows government only putting infrastructure in place for their own services at the expense of everyone else.

I've taken the tram many times from North Balwyn (Bulleen Road) and the trip is quite good and trams regular, often more regular than trains.

Buses also regularly bring traffic to a standstill as well. The government policy to remove indentation to me was simply rude and inconsiderate of other traffic. Trains do have the benefit that they have dedicated infrastructure. I sat on a bus in Parker Street for 10-15 minutes whilst the driver attempted to get the doors to close. I could only feel sorry for the cars stuck behind the bus. But I do take your point with buses.

I'd like to see why extending the tram line has been ruled out.

At a minimum there should be regular buses from Shoppingtown to the end of the tram line. On a Sunday if I recall correctly there are only six connecting buses, and at one time two hours between buses. Who is going to use a service like that and who plans a service that doesn't join major infrastructure like a tram line to the nearest major shopping centre.

Only 3% of commuters use a train to get to work or school. If a train line was added to Doncaster we could expect a similar level of usage and some of that usage is likely to come from Eltham and Box Hill lines.

I'm only asking the question as to why isn't extending the tram line 3.6km for a tenth of the cost of rail not being considered.