South Yarra station seedy, old and unfit for commuting: PTUA

 
  Speed Minister for Railways

The Stonnington Leader leads with an article on PTUA calls for an overhaul of South Yarra station.

More than 11,200 people pass through the station - Melbourne’s seventh busiest - each day, according to Metlink Melbourne’s most recent passenger survey.

[PTUA spokesperson Kerryn] Wilmot said the station’s Toorak Rd entrance needed to be re-designed and a second entrance built at the northern end of the station to improve pedestrian flow.

She said the tram stop opposite the station needed to be integrated with the station as poorly programmed traffic lights meant commuters either missed their tram or made a dangerous dash across the road.
http://stonnington-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/station-frustration-in-south-yarra/

Presumably, the trams could be fixed by moving the tram stops to the other side of the crossing and altering the lights to give trams a green light and pedestrians a green once the tram had passed.

As to how the crowding could be addressed, there is limited space to expand the Toorak Road exit and uncertainty as to how many would use a northern concourse / exit.

A lot of the people exiting the station during the morning peak will be changing for trams to Domain Interchange. Others will be going to Toorak Road or Chapel Street North.

Assuming that a new concourse at the north end of the platform were built and it did not extend through to Darling Street, the passengers who used it would be exiting to the eastern side for places like Melbourne Boys High School, the Cremorne Bridge or South Yarra's "Forrest Hill Precinct" (an area that recently attracted controversy when council approved a building there with 64 bicycle parks but no car parks because the area was well-served by public transport, but suffering traffic congestion ie had only a couple of narrow roads feeding Toorak Road). People who wanted to go east along Toorak Road could also sneak along Claremont Road to Toorak Road if they alighted at the northern end of the train.

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  712M Chief Commissioner

Is it possible to get rid of 7-11 and Baguette? This would open up the station a lot and help ease the congestion in the mornings.
  electric Chief Train Controller

Location: Ist mir egal
As someone who regularly visits the station, removing those stores would be a good start - perhaps by moving the station staff office to the current position of 7-11, leaving space for more barriers.

One of the main issues with the station is the way that the barriers are set up - entrance only on the left, exit on the right, then a wheelchair/overflow gate in the rightmost position. - This causes problems for people entering to access P4/5/6 and for those trying to exit P1/2/3, where the paths intersect.

Similarly, further chaos is added by people standing to be served at the cheaper food store in the middle of the station entrance.

Certainly, a northern entrance would remove the peak flows of MHS students (of course, to stop the crowding, it would have to be quite large) - during these, a queue to enter the station can run parallel alongside Toorak Rd to (and along) Yarra St.

There are also a growing number of large apartment buildings in that area of South Yarra. Currently, two more ~15 storey buildings are going up - so a northern entrance would not be useless to the wider public.

Perhaps it could be done as a combined project to lengthen the platforms to 9 cars?

Of course, there is one other way to ease these problems: Make myki work faster - the barriers are the capacity constraint. It's also why the station staff frequently give up trying to leave the wheelchair barrier closed - if they did, the peaks would take 5+ minutes to clear.
  Aussie Steve Deputy Commissioner

This is what we need

North Sydney

  electric Chief Train Controller

Location: Ist mir egal
This is what we need

North Sydney


Yes, but with a few more barriers  Smile
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
A northern entrance wouldn't be too hard to construct.  If a new entrance can be constructed at North Melbourne, then a similar (but hopefully not identical) structure can be put up at South Yarra.  It could link with the streets on the West side as well as servicing the East side for the MHS students.  I would imagine that the old signal box which is immediately north of platforms 3/4 would have to be demolished, but if it could be wholly or partly saved, it might make a good cafe underneath the northern concourse.
  Speed Minister for Railways

If you did want two perpendicular rows of barriers like that photograph, how much modification would it take?

Whether or not you kept the shops, you probably could keep the facade facing onto Toorak Road. You would need to widen the concourse greatly, replacing the ramps with stairs (probably) and lifts for each platform (1, 2-3, 4-5 and 6).

Is it a justifiable number of barriers? Compared with Richmond, South Yarra has fewer barriers and only one exit. Proportionally, South Yarra has fewer services than Richmond and no special events. South Yarra station is a "back entrance" for St Kilda Road. If the Eddingtunnel was built with a Domain station, that station almost certainly would have the capacity comparable with North Sydney.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
I thought the PTUA were talking about their research.
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

There aren't really any technical challenges associated with South Yarra - there are many viable options that could be explored for increasing the size of the existing entrance or providing additional entrances that could either be 'peak only' or open at other times.

The problem at South Yarra is actually a commerical. Poorly thought out long term leases that were signed in the last millenium with no understanding that patronage was going to double in ten years - with even more growth on the way.

South Yarra can be fixed - the question is whether it should happen on a small scale (new entrance), or whether you combine it with other changes (eg. new ramps with less slope, provision for nine carriage trains, etc..).

The problem is actually very complex on a number of levels. It will be really interesting to see what the solution is going to be.  At least everyone agrees there is a problem.  Smile   (which is the first part of the process in finding a solution).

Having said that, there are plenty of stations in London and other legacy stations that have to squeeze passengers through even smaller spaces.
  tom9876543 Train Controller

I don't like being cynical, but isn't South Yarra one of the richest suburbs in Melbourne?

Surely a private developer can rebuild the entire station, putting residential or commercial space above the train station to make it profitable.
  Bills_Billboards Chief Commissioner

Just leave the food stall inside the barriers they make a great egg n bacon , they are realy cheap and good quality food
  AzN_dj Chief Commissioner

Location: Along route 69
I don't like being cynical, but isn't South Yarra one of the richest suburbs in Melbourne?

Surely a private developer can rebuild the entire station, putting residential or commercial space above the train station to make it profitable.
"tom9876543"

Even though the area itself is a wealthy area, the whole station facade is on the heritage list.

My personal reservations would lie with a new northern entrance/exit, possibly making another exit facing Yarra st, or removing barriers in favour of validators at the top of the ramps.

Also, with any development in the area, it cant block the view, or impede on the Melbourne High "Castle on the Hill" - hence why the buildings behind it can not be higher than the school itself.
  electric Chief Train Controller

Location: Ist mir egal
Surely a private developer can rebuild the entire station, putting residential or commercial space above the train station to make it profitable.


There are still quite a few more old 2/3 storey buildings to come down yet. They'd be a lot cheaper to "redevelop". (Stonnington should buy one, it'd be nice if the area had a park Razz ) The lay of land along Yarra St makes it difficult (impossible?) to line up the road and a building on top of the station, which would give a building there limited access through Toorak St.

Also, I assume the facade of the station isn't moving - it'd be under heritage controls? *(nvm) What about the platform roofs?
  Aussie Steve Deputy Commissioner

I don't like being cynical, but isn't South Yarra one of the richest suburbs in Melbourne?

Surely a private developer can rebuild the entire station, putting residential or commercial space above the train station to make it profitable.
"tom9876543"

Even though the area itself is a wealthy area, the whole station facade is on the heritage list.

My personal reservations would lie with a new northern entrance/exit, possibly making another exit facing Yarra st, or removing barriers in favour of validators at the top of the ramps.

Also, with any development in the area, it cant block the view, or impede on the Melbourne High "Castle on the Hill" - hence why the buildings behind it can not be higher than the school itself.
"AzN_dj"


Firstly, the station is not Heritage Listed. Only the former South Yarra Train Station is on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Secondly, the station platforms end way before Melbourne High School, so any northern exit would not impact on the views of the school from the Yarra.
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station

Even though the area itself is a wealthy area, the whole station facade is on the heritage list.

My personal reservations would lie with a new northern entrance/exit, possibly making another exit facing Yarra st, or removing barriers in favour of validators at the top of the ramps.

Also, with any development in the area, it cant block the view, or impede on the Melbourne High "Castle on the Hill" - hence why the buildings behind it can not be higher than the school itself.
"AzN_dj"

Firstly, the station is not Heritage Listed. Only the former South Yarra Train Station is on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Secondly, the station platforms end way before Melbourne High School, so any northern exit would not impact on the views of the school from the Yarra.
"Aussie Steve"

Very true.  I wasn't sure of the heritage listing of South Yarra Station so I did some digging and found this from 'On My Doorstep': http://www.onmydoorstep.com.au/heritage-listing/1081/former-south-yarra-railway-station.  For those of you who are unsure where the old station building is located, it is immediately to the left of the new South Yarra Station building facing Toorak Rd, and is sited next to Platform 1 (Sandringham, city platform).

The rest of what you have said is also true.  The view of Melbourne High School would not be impeded by a new entrance at the northern end of the platforms.  I'm fairly sure a new structure could be built at this end that can help spread the load of passengers wanting to leave the station at that end.
  AzN_dj Chief Commissioner

Location: Along route 69
I would be very surprised if the facade wasnt on the register..

And while blocking MHS might not be an issue behind a northern entrance, development over the whole area can be an issue. Hence why I mentioned it.

I would agree with a northern entrance. I am in full support of it. But there are still technical issues that surround it, such as Yarra street, Cremorne bridge, and of course, the heritage restrictions are included in those technical issues.

Btw, why isnt South Yarra on the register?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
South Yarra is in a prime position to have the air space above it sold.

I have never been sure of the legalities of who "owns" the air but given the situation is that the southern end is in a cutting with the land sloping away to the north and the Yarra it ought to be possible to design a self-funding development which does not impinge on either the current frontage or the original station.

A large raft would be constructed over the station which can incorporate the present entrance and platform ramps whilst creating a new set midway along the platforms and offering exit to Yarra Street.  That is close enough to the tram to be a viable alternative, is close to the new residential developments on the east side of the railway and is close enough to attract commercial tenants in shops which can go some way to paying for the development.

A medium-rise residential or office development above this first level would pay the rest of the bill and give us a station with at least two points of entry / exit, modern facilities, relocated commercial units allowing more space in the present station building and offering better distribution of passengers along the platforms which has a potential to reduce station dwell times.
  electric Chief Train Controller

Location: Ist mir egal
A large raft would be constructed over the station which can incorporate the present entrance and platform ramps whilst creating a new set midway along the platforms and offering exit to Yarra Street. That is close enough to the tram to be a viable alternative, is close to the new residential developments on the east side of the railway and is close enough to attract commercial tenants in shops which can go some way to paying for the development. .
"Gwiwer"


Good luck! I don't think there's enough space to do it, with the height Yarra St is at (which can't really be changed, given the new development adjoining it). You have no space between the station and the road, and you need stairs/ramps to get down to road level before the road, without cutting into the train line/platform.

Further, I'm not sure how one would incorporate access to a large apartment building through the South Yarra Station facade, seeing as access by Yarra St would be difficult, if not impossible. Perhaps it would be better to eliminate a property to the west, to provide a path through Question

I think this would be a painful station to cover, given those issues.
  Speed Minister for Railways

If the council is willing to approve buildings on Yarra Street without car parking, they may well be happy for an hypothetical building over the top of South Yarra Station not to have parking. It could well even be preferable to have no driveway, than to have one onto Toorak Road or Yarra Street. A building could then have an entrance/foyer where 7-11 is, maybe with bicycle parking on another floor.

Getting the lifts in place would probably take some room on the platforms but even providing direct access to a couple of platforms via the lifts could help to promote the building.
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

The cost of building over railway lines can be very high and is rarely justified in Melbourne unless you are doing something that leverages the patronage going through the station.

In almost all cases, it is cheaper to simply build elsewhere.

The main reason that costs are so high is that you can only construct over the station for a few hours a night. You have to pay for occupations. It becomes extremely expensive - and is getting even more expensive as patronage increases.

South Yarra does have a few advantages as you can close certain lines and direct trains down other tracks at off-peak times, but even that is becoming less viable as patronage increases.

I'd be very surprised if the economics stacked up at this time for a large development over South Yarra.

Probably the best justification for this is that it hasn't be economic to build over the tracks on the other side of Toorak Road from the station - a space that would be easier to build on.
  Aussie Steve Deputy Commissioner

Why is it so much more difficult in Melbourne than Sydney? If they can redevelop over North Sydney, Chatswood etc, then why not South Yarra? Grrrr I think we need clever developers who will work with the government and be given greater scope for development than adjacent sites.
  Speed Minister for Railways

A question that follows is why we want the space over railway stations necessarily developed.

If it's to improve the amenity of the station, does it achieve that end better or sooner?

The PTUA's big complaint is that it's difficult to get in and out of the station. Some people would say the same about Box Hill and Melbourne Central stations.
  AzN_dj Chief Commissioner

Location: Along route 69
Well, what everyone here is arguing is that it allows for a northern concourse to be constructed. However, it is probably cheaper to do the concourse without selling air rights.

If you could also move the 7-eleven and have barriers on both sides of the ticket office, you would also free more room up for barriers.


Actually, now I think of it, wouldn't the very cheapest solution be to change the barriers to turnstiles?
  Mitty Assistant Commissioner

Location: Hawthorn
Actually, now I think of it, wouldn't the very cheapest solution be to change the barriers to turnstiles?
"AzN_dj"


The only change that will happen in that regard is metcard barriers will be replaced with myki barriers when metcard eventually goes.  One might hope that in the meantime they'll get rid of one of the tenanted shops to make a much larger entrance.  If they could get rid of 7/11, replace it with the existing station office and widen the existing entrance as well as perhaps renovate the existing toilets etc, this would be more than adequate, at least in the short term.  Of course who knows how long the 7/11 lease is (or any of the other tenants for that matter).
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

Why is it so much more difficult in Melbourne than Sydney? If they can redevelop over North Sydney, Chatswood etc, then why not South Yarra? Grrrr I think we need clever developers who will work with the government and be given greater scope for development than adjacent sites.


North Sydney is a terribly designed station and a real warning about what can happen when you get it wrong. There are multiple lines of ticket barriers arranged in lots of different directions - it is hard for a customer who has a problem with their ticket to see a staff member, etc.. Hardly an example in best practise.  Wink

Is it really worth the massive disruption to train services associated with putting a building over a station? Particularly as the land isn't worth that much - far cheaper to build elsewhere in almost all cases.

Plus there is potential for things to go very wrong.

There are so many problems with Box Hill, Southern Cross and other places where it has happened, you have to seriously question doing anything at all.

A good example of a screw up are the shops over the rail line adjacent to Chapel Street. What would have been a great opportunity to put in a proper platform tram stop there has been lost.  Sad

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