As for @ZH836301 I think he is from the 19th century, his comments don't fit in with 21st century thinking.
Actually, he's from the late 20th century; certainly post 1960.
In the 19th century, and for the first 2/3rds of the 20th century, the assumption was that commuters would walk to their local station. With the development and popularisation of the pneumatic tyred bike from around 1900, some passenger would cycle, of course.
The result of this is the station network we see in the inner and inner middle suburbia. This features closely spaced stations. If you look at contemporary maps these stations seemed to be spaced to give a walking distance in the continuously built up area of about 10 to 15 minutes home to station. The stations, of course, were situated about 10 to 15 minutes walking apart as this gave reasonable walking times in a continuous strip of land along the railway line (draw some circles on a map if you don't understand this).
These stations are not necessarily situated on major roads, or at major shopping centres. Most, however, featured at least some shops in the vicinity of the station to catch the trade of people going to or returning from work. Good examples of the remnants of these small shopping (now houses) exist at Ascot Vale and Seddon. Other small shopping centres still exist, such as Patterson.
With electrification in the 1910s/1920s, the government took advantage of the higher acceleration of the new trains to actually provide infill stations to reduce the inter-station gaps. There are many examples including Anstey and Dennis.
Another feature of the electrification which seems to be overlooked today is that the electrification extended well beyond the continuously built-up area of Melbourne, and even well beyond what could be expected to be built up. Take the Frankston and Dandenong lines. Around the end of WWI, the continuously built up area extended to Caulfield/Glenhuntly/Carnegie. Beyond the built up area rapidly thinned out. Subdivision rapidly followed electrification, but not that far. The belt of '20s style houses (notably Californian Bungalows) only extends from Caulfield to Bentleigh and Oakleigh. Beyond those stations, there were certainly villages (which got bigger with commuters), but these were separated by open farmland. Electrification to Dandenong and Frankston was the modern day equivalent of electrifying the line to Kyneton.
This development philosophy changed post WWII. In fact, we can date it quite precisely to post 1960. Around 1960, the government opened the last 'in fill' stations (e.g. Patterson) which were still build with the assumption that people would walk to the station.
After this the philosophy changed. The assumption was that people would drive to stations. Hence, as suburbia continued to creep outwards, car parks were constructed at stations rather than additional infill stations. Some infill stations were still constructed (e.g. Kananook), but these divided very large gaps between stations, and a car park was always a feature.
This is the urban design philosophy that ZH836301 is operating on. It's why he wants to build a small number of stations with large car parks near major arterial roads. You also can also see this philosophy in the occasional calls to close 'little used' stations in the inner area.
Daniel Bowen has recently pointed out that statistics show that walking is still the most common way that most people arrive at suburban stations. He has suggested that the importance of park and ride is an illusion. Park and ride appears to be important because of the extremely inefficient use of land in car parks. We see a huge and full car park, but fail to realise that this actually represents a very small number of passengers.