Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Monash says rail loop has gone off track

Victoria’s City of Monash Council has welcomed a ministerial assessment report of the Suburban Rail Loop East and its environmental impact released today by the State Government.

“We are pleased to see that there is an acknowledgement of several Council and community issues, but our major concern remains unresolved; the lowering of the existing Glen Waverley station,” said Monash Mayor, Stuart James.

“We are deeply disappointed that there is no commitment by the Suburban Rail Loop Authority and the government to Council and the community’s calls for the lowering of the Glen Waverley Station to create an interconnected platform between the new SRL station and the existing station.”

The current station remains largely untouched since being relocated to the current site in 1964 and is not fit for purpose, the Mayor said.

“There is barely enough room between the station building and the track to cater for wheelchairs, and it fails to meet DDA compliance. We believe this project creates an opportune time for a redevelopment and a proper underground interchange, with value capture created at-grade,” he said.

“The government proposal is for people travelling on SRL to go up to ground level, cross an important feeder road (Coleman Parade) that they plan to close as part of this project and then enter the existing Glen Waverley station.”

As a transformational project, it falls short, says Mayor James.

The report states that the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan expects the lowering of the Glen Waverley railway line and station will be considered as part of precinct planning.

“We are concerned at how seriously this will be considered as part of the precinct plan process given the stated position of SRLA. As part of the Environment Effects Statement hearings, the Authority admitted that little weight, if any, should be given to the station lowering proposal,” said Mayor James.

He says the report does recognise some of the concerns raised by Council and the Monash community:

  • The report does not support the proposed permanent closure of Coleman Parade, Glen Waverley (including minimising its closure times during construction). Council and the community called out the impact of this closure including a massive increase in traffic to Kingsway, the street that runs through the main shopping and food precinct. This would require a significant redesign of this critical street to cater for the increase in traffic, which is contrary to Council and the communities’ vision for a pedestrian friendly activity centre in Glen Waverley
  • The report recognises the significant loss of car parking through the project in Glen Waverley and the impacts on business in Glen Waverley and Clayton. The report sees SRLA as having a major role in assisting Council to providing parking throughout the life of the project
  • Not supporting the proposed closure of Carinish Road in Clayton (including minimising its closure times during construction) where the Inquiry and Advisory Committee found that this road closure would have significant impacts on accessibility of the area and create convoluted access arrangements to reach and depart the SRL station by car • Considered and careful thinking about pedestrian drop off and pick up locations at Glen Waverley and Clayton
  • The impact on the Remembrance Gardens (in front of Clayton Hall) during construction, and changes in its use to a busy new station entrance during operation. The report recommends that replacement open space be found nearby to account for the loss of this area during and post construction
  • Support for Council representation on the Urban Design Advisory Panel and the Public Open Space Expert panel that had been previously opposed by the SRLA.

Council’s recent consultation on the proposed SRL project saw more than 120 people attend an online/in person meeting and more than 790 contributions to our online survey, with an overwhelming majority of participants supporting Council’s position and rejecting the SRLA’s proposals.

“More than 95% support the undergrounding of the existing Glen Waverley station to create a connection between the new SRL station and the existing one,” the Mayor said.

He said Council was still considering the Minister’s assessment and it will be presented to a formal Council meeting in the near future.

“We also await the response of the SRLA on the report and what they propose from here. We remain ready, as always, to work closely with them for optimum outcomes that benefit residents and traders in the City of Monash.”

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