Today the Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC), provided a bus tour for Meredith Sussex, the Coordinator General of Infrastructure, to showcase the outer eastern and southeastern suburbs and to highlight areas that require greater coordination between public transport provision and land-use planning.
The tour began in Dandenong, where the City of Greater Dandenong outlined its vision for the Dandenong Transit City before proceeding to Knox where the need for the Rowville rail line, to facilitate the Stud Park Activity Centre, and the Knox tram extension were highlighted. Travelling through Bayswater the tour then proceeded into Maroondah where I explained the need for bus priority lanes along major bus routes (including Maroondah Highway and Canterbury Road), bus and rail coordination and for the further introduction of bicycle lanes to ensure adequate facilities for cyclists.
There is a need for further bus improvements, particularly along main roads such as Maroondah Highway (route 670), Canterbury Road (route 679), Wonga/Warrandyte Roads (route 364), Dorset Road (route 737) and Bayswater Road (route 664), to provide a network of frequent and readily available bus services throughout Maroondah. The addition of these routes onto the SmartBus network would complement the introduction of the long awaited Stud Road SmartBus (route 665) which is due to begin in early 2008.
Map highlighting the desired principal public transport network within Maroondah. The identified bus routes need frequent and readily available services to connect Maroondah and surrounding regions to the Ringwood Transit City and the Croydon Activity Centre (view larger version of this map).
The tour included Croydon Station, to explain the need for more frequent interpeak services. Currently services are half hourly and this needs to be improved to at least a 20 minute frequency, which would provide the same level of service experienced on weekends. The Belgrave/Lilydale line is the only line where weekends are provided a more frequent service than weekdays.
At Ringwood, we provided the opportunity for Meredith to cross Maroondah Highway to demonstrate first-hand the delays and inconvenience caused to pedestrians due to lengthy delays and the minimal walking time provided at this crossing. The case to upgrade Ringwood Station into an accessible and safe transport interchange was also highlighted as this would allow the State Government to support the vision that is unfolding within the Ringwood Transit City. It is imperative that the State Government acts to reduce Maroondah Highway to four lanes once EastLink is opened to allow the creation of a pedestrian friendly town centre and to help breathe new life into the centre of Ringwood.
The tour then continued into Whitehorse and Manningham, where the need for improvements to the Box Hill Interchange and the Doncaster Road tram were explored. Through Monash the case for bus priority was detailed to prevent lengthy delays for bus travellers along Springvale Road. Several examples of poor coordination were demonstrated, particularly where the Wellington Road and Springvale Road SmartBuses missed each other.
The bus tour provided an opportunity to highlight the areas of action required by the State Government to facilitate improved sustainability within Melbourne’s outer east. It is hoped that the State Government and its Departments will act upon these requirements.