May 23, 2017
Level crossing upgrades are a great local investment
Level crossing removals by successive state governments are a valued investment in local communities and should remain a high priority, according to a leading public transport forum.
The Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC) comprises the municipalities of Greater Dandenong, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges. It advocates for accessible and integrated transport in the eastern region of Melbourne to improve liveability and reduce car dependence for over one million people living in eastern Melbourne.
The Chair of the ETC, Cr Peter Lockwood said that recent focus on the 2016 business case for the program didn’t account for many of the benefits that communities are now enjoying.
Cr Lockwood said the returns on level crossing removals go far beyond the economic.
“We expect the State Government to manage its financial investment in these projects to ensure they provide maximum return for all Victorians,” Cr Lockwood said, “and so far they’ve proven their worth.”
“We are already seeing on completed projects enormous benefits flowing to local communities and commuters,” he said.
“In many cases ‘at grade’ level crossings have divided our communities for generations. Their removal has revitalised local shopping strips and given local areas a real sense of place.”
“Local bus services are functioning better as traffic congestion hotspots are removed.”
Cr Lockwood also noted that pedestrian and road user safety have benefited dramatically from removal of dangerous level crossings.
“This is another point missed by economic models, but dear to our communities and travellers,” he said.
“You can’t put a price on safety.”
For further comment, contact Cr Peter Lockwood on 0419 970 565