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There are too many level crossing projects for me to track them all individually, but I am particularly interested in those at stations I’ve used regularly in the past.
Glenhuntly is one of them. Designs have just been released by the Level Crossing Removal Program.
As had already been flagged, the rail line will be lowered underneath the road, with a trench about 1km long.
This project comes at a huge cost – a whopping $507 million to remove two crossings. These projects are important, but it’s getting a little embarrassing how expensive they have become. To put it in perspective, the government is spending $150 million to build eight primary schools.
But of course, it’ll be great to have the crossing removed – the tram square (train/tram crossing) is one of only three left in Melbourne, and causes trains to slow to a crawl every time they cross, as well as delays to trams.
I’ll only show a couple of the newly released pictures here – go to the official web site to see the others.
Some thoughts on the design:
The station is remaining more-or-less in the current location, with the entrance still on the south side of the road.
However it appears passengers will enter the platforms near the middle rather than all at the northern end, which should help distribute people along the train, and reduce PM peak delays when train drivers sometimes have issues seeing if the doors at the rear of the train are clear to depart.
I like a grand entrance to a railway station – but the designers seem to be continuing the trend of providing a very high roof. It looks impressive, but experience from other stations shows is hopeless for shelter from the rain, which is rarely exactly vertical.
In which we are reminded that Melbourne rain isn’t vertical. Can someone tell the station designers? #Bentleigh pic.twitter.com/NDSZdMm52e— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) April 9, 2017
I’m also not sure why they’ve positioned the station sign parallel with the street rather that making it visible along the street. Perhaps that’s just an issue with the render.
The new station will only have one entrance – which I think is a missed opportunity. The most obvious interchange – between trains and trams – will be fairly well served by tram platform stops and a pedestrian crossing immediately adjacent to the station (provided the traffic lights respond quickly to pedestrians).
But buses along Neerim Road (including services to Chadstone, the biggest shopping centre in Melbourne) will still be about 300 metres away, despite the northern end of the platforms being enticingly close.
The better integration with the shared path to Ormond is very welcome – though those campaigning for retention of some of the businesses between Royal Avenue and the station won’t be delighted that it appears they’re all disappearing.
Removing that damn level crossing, which slows down every train to a crawl
Accessible tram stop right outside
No exit anywhere near buses on Neerim Road
Another concourse with a high roof that won’t deal with rain at anything other than vertical
And one more thing – perhaps the least important, but easiest to fix: the name. They’re not changing the spelling to be consistent with the suburb.
After I wrote about this issue in January, I raised it in the online consultation:
Obviously this is not the most critical of issues compared to some of the great questions being asked here, but rebuilding Glenhuntly station seems like a good opportunity to rename it to be consistent with the suburb it serves, Glen Huntly. Will it happen?
And the official reply:
We are following the existing naming convention, which is Glen Huntly for the road and the suburb, and Glenhuntly for the station.Changing the current convention and ensuring consistency in the naming is not something that is within the scope of our project.We recommend you speak with Glen Eira City Council in the first instance if this is an issue you would like to pursue.
I don’t think the council has any say in this whatsoever. But I’ve sent in a query to them about it anyway.
The reluctance to just fix the name is nonsensical. No wonder people get cynical about public transport planning in this state. If they can’t fix the easy stuff, what hope do they have on the difficult stuff?
The lost opportunities aside, the bottom line is that – finally – the crossing will be gone by 2024 – which is great news for the local community and for every passenger on the Frankston line.
This article first appeared on www.danielbowen.com
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