Buckley Street level crossing removal

The State Government is undertaking a grade separation to remove the Buckley Street level crossing in Essendon. This is great news for our community!

This landmark project will have significant implications for the liveability of the growing Essendon Junction precinct and it is critical we get this once in a life-time opportunity right!

At its 20 December 2016 meeting, Council endorsed our submission (pdf, 890KB) to the LXRA’s consultation on their preferred option of putting the road-under rail at Buckley Street.

Your voice matters!

The planned removal of the level crossing is a big win but we want to make sure that what replaces it delivers the best outcome for the community. We encourage you to get involved and let the State Government know just how important this is to our community.

Public forum and panel Q&A

When: Saturday, 29 April, 10am-12pm

Where: Clocktower Centre, 750 Mt Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds

Council is hosting a public forum to give residents the opportunity to get their questions answered about the level crossing removal and have their voices heard on this major infrastructure project.

The forum will feature a panel Q&A session with Mayor, Cr Andrea Surace and invitations extended to Ministers and local Members of Parliament to take part.

So far we can confirm Members of all sides of parliament have confirmed their attendance so far including:

  • The Hon David Hodgett, Deputy Leader Of The Opposition and Shadow Minister for Ports & Public Transport
  • The Hon David Davis, Shadow Minister for Local Government
  • Mr Danny Pearson MP, Member for Essendon
  • Mr Bernie Finn MP, Member for Western Metropolitan
  • Ms Colleen Hartland, Member for Western Metropolitan

How can I stay informed and get involved?

  • Attending one of Council’s drop-in information sessions with Mayor, Cr Andrea Surace:

When: Saturday, 1 April, 10am-12 noon

Where: Moonee Valley Civic Centre, 9 Kellaway Ave, Moonee Ponds (enter via Pascoe Vale Road entrance)

  • Contacting your local member of parliament.
  • Participating in the LXRA’s community consultation process and making a submission when it occurs during 2017.
  • Sign up to the LXRA’s e-updates to receive project updates and notifications of upcoming consultations.

For more information contact the Strategic Planning team on 9243 8754 or email buckleyoptions@mvcc.vic.gov.au

What is Council’s role?

We have been advocating for the level crossing removal for many years and we are working with the Level Crossing Removal Authority and the State Government to get the best outcome from this project for our community.

To inform our advocacy, we undertook significant research and community consultation and we have identified that the most effective outcome for the project is an underground rail solution under the existing rail corridor which would not require any compulsory acquisition of property.

Our preferred rail-under-road solution:

  • Would lower the train line beneath Buckley Street and Mount Alexander Road under the existing rail corridor
  • Does not require any property acquisition
  • Would relocate and repurpose the existing heritage station and build a new underground station to meet the needs of the 21st century.
  • Provides the opportunity to develop the land above the rail line into a vibrant economic and community space.
  • Gives consideration to fixing the safety and connectivity issues around the Mount Alexander Road Junction.
  • Provides the opportunity to create an improved public transport interchange for people travelling to and from Essendon.
  • Allows pedestrians to move around the area easily and safely.
  • Provides for Disability Discrimination Act compliant tram and bus stops.
  • Is future proof and takes into account the needs of the whole Craigieburn rail corridor. PTV’s is proposing train service increases in the future which will see service frequency double during peak times, leaving Park Street and Puckle Street boom gates down for even greater periods than the current 78 minutes in the two hour morning peak.

In the long run, the train will need to run underground if our rail and roads are going to meet the needs of our growing city!

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Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) preferred option: road-under-rail

The Level Crossing Removal Authority is the body tasked with overseeing the removal of the 50 most dangerous and congested level crossings across Melbourne.

At their first community information session held in November 2016, they outlined their preferred option to lower Buckley Street beneath the existing rail line, with the rail line remaining at its current level. View the options being put forward by the LXRA.

We are disappointed that the announcement of a preferred road-under-rail solution was made before the community was fully consulted and due consideration given to how they will be impacted.

We believe the rail-under-road option is short-sighted and will remove one traffic flow problem while creating many more.

The road-under-rail solution will create a divide between either side of Buckley Street from near Mt Alexander Road in the east to Violet Street in the west, preventing vehicles and pedestrians from crossing Buckley Street except at a short stretch of concourse near the railway line.

Who will be impacted by the proposed road-under option?

Local residents and visitors
Access in and out of connecting streets will be restricted while some residential streets will become more congested as traffic diverts around the Buckley Street trench.

Rose Street traders
No right turn into Rose Street will mean shoppers will need to continue on Buckley Street until they can perform a u-turn 200 metres down the road. A proposal to relocate bus services into Rose Street will also result in the loss of valuable car parking spaces for shoppers.

Students
With nine schools in the area and over 4,000 students within a 4 minute walk of Essendon Junction, safety and connectivity is a major concern. Parents doing the pick-up and drop-off for Lowther Hall and St Columba’s College will be affected with access to Leslie Street restricted and bus services impacted.

Public transport users
Safely and easily moving between train, tram and bus services will become even harder. The restrictions on vehicle movements in and out of local streets has implications for a number of bus services including the 903 and 475.

Pedestrians will be unable to cross from one side of Buckley Street to the other between Lorraine Street and Mt Alexander Road except near the railway line.

What are we advocating for?

  • Our community should be given a meaningful voice in the decision making process.
  • The impacts on the whole precinct must be considered to ensure the project is cost-effective.
  • Fair consideration should be given to an underground rail solution along the existing track which would not require any property acquisition
  • The solution needs to consider the whole rail corridor as any future train service increase will lead to bottlenecks at the level crossings at Puckle Street and Park Street.
  • Attention must be given to how we fix the safety and connectivity issues around the Mount Alexander Road Junction.

View our information brochure (pdf, 1.4MB)

Our submission to the LXRA

At its 20 December 2016 meeting, Council endorsed our submission (pdf, 890KB) to the LXRA’s consultation on their preferred option of putting the road-under rail at Buckley Street.

We also resolved to write to the Chief Executive, Level Crossing Removal Authority asking them to investigate our preferred option of rail-under-road that does not require property acquisition, and to provide further justification of why their road-under-rail design was identified as the preferred option at this early stage.
In our submission, we reaffirmed the need for a precinct-wide solution which addresses the safety and connectivity issues in the area and embrace the opportunities presented by the level crossing removal.

We further called on the LXRA to undertake genuine consultation with the community, exploring all possible options including Council’s preferred option of a rail-under option down the centre of the rail corridor which would require no property acquisition.

We further state that the LXRA’s decision to announce a preferred option of putting the road-under rail at Buckley Street, is premature and has not taken into account all of the issues of concern to stakeholders and the community, including local schools and traders.

In our submission we undertook a detailed review of the LXRA’s preferred road-under-rail proposal which we believe in its current form does not meet the LXRA’s own design objectives.

Last updated: Thursday, 27 April 2017, 9:57 PM