RTCCC – Moving Forward Into The Future

Tonight we held our monthly Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) meeting and discussion focused on preparing for our Clean Up Graffiti Day to be held on Saturday the 1st of October.

The Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) was established on the 17th of January 2005 and as a founding member I am proud of the dedication we have provided and accomplishments we have achieved to date.

Our accomplishments include the hosting and facilitation of two public events which applied the public pressure that was necessary to ensure a greater level of community participation within the Ringwood Transit City Project.

As I have declared my intent to stand as a candidate for Loughnan’s Hill Ward I believe it would be inappropriate for me to continue in my role as Chair and Spokesman of the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC). As such I have relinquished these roles within the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) to ensure the political independence of this vital community association.

As an individual who is standing as a candidate for Loughnan’s Hill Ward I remain dedicated to listening and acting upon community feedback. I can be contacted by calling 9812 2337 or e-mail alex@alexmakin.com.au.

I look forward to a fair and honest campaign and I look forward to hearing from you so that we can ensure a vibrant and inclusive future for Ringwood and Maroondah.

Thanking you

Alex Makin

Robert Doyle And EastLink Tolls

Media Release – Thursday, 15 September 2005

‘Half Hearted’ Policies Will Condemn Melbourne to Petrol Dependence

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has challenged the Victorian Liberal Party to pledge and deliver a comprehensive Transport Policy to ensure sustainable relief against mounting petrol prices.

“The Liberal Party must develop a Transport Policy that looks beyond the single issue of tolls on the Mitcham-Frankston Freeway and looks beyond endless road building”, PTUA spokesman and Ringwood resident Alex Makin said. “Rising petrol prices have resulted in increased public transport patronage demonstrating that people desperately need and want an alternative to car dependence”.

The construction and tolling of Eastlink was announced after the breaking of several key public transport promises in Melbourne’s east which have not yet been delivered by the Bracks Government.

“Melbourne needs a government with a vision to deliver improved public transport and hence ensure the future economic prosperity of Melbourne’s east and southeast”, Mr. Makin said. “The fact is that as petrol prices increase households have less disposable income for other purchases thus threatening the viability of the strong retail precincts that exist within Ringwood, Knox or Frankston”.

Petrol prices are likely to exceed $1.30 per litre by the end of the year with many experts predicting that they will keep climbing in the years ahead. This has renewed concerns about the lack of new rail and tram extensions and the poor level of service provided by Melbourne’s bus network, which often does not run during evenings or on Sundays. The construction of the Doncaster and Rowville train lines, the Knox and Doncaster Road tram extensions, the elimination of the Springvale Road level crossing, and a vastly improved bus network to ensure frequent and readily available services would cost less than $1 billion, far less than the estimates involved in reversing the tolling decision.

“Many public transport promises from the Bracks government have been either broken or radically diminished. It is therefore up to the Opposition to provide a genuine alternative and hence embrace the need for vastly improved public transport. The ‘no tolls’ policy and continued road building has the potential to neglect public transport and hence fail to secure the future social and economic prosperity of Melbourne and its outer eastern suburbs”, Mr. Makin concluded.

About the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA):

Founded in 1976, the PTUA is the recognised consumer organisation representing passengers of public transport. The PTUA is a non-profit, voluntary organisation with no political affiliation, which lobbies governments and public transport authorities in the interest of all users of public transport.



Knox Leader: Lobby group renews call

The Knox Leader has reported on the renewed calls for the completion of the Knox tram issued by the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA):

A PUBLIC transport lobby group has again called on the State Government to fund a tram extension to Knox City shopping centre.

Public Transport Users’ Association spokesman Alex Makin said a tram line “must soon replace” the bus connection from the terminus at Vermont South.

“Transfers between buses and trams, no matter how seamless, are still physically inconvenient and complicated, particularly for elderly people, those with disabilities and small children,” Mr Makin said. “We need a constant (tram) link between Knox and Whitehorse if a tram line was built, it would enable the buses to be freed up for elsewhere in Knox.

Melbourne 2030 the State Government’s overarching Planning policy, states that The current project to extend the Burwood tram to Knox City is an example of what can be done, yet through failing to provide a timeline for the full completion of the Knox tram extension the very notion of the strategic direction provided by Melbourne 2030 is jeopardised.

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the State Government should honour its election promise to provide the tram extension. He could not confirm or deny if a Liberal Government would implement the extension.

But Bayswater state Labor MP Peter Lockwood said the Burwood Highway extension, which he estimated would cost about $86 million, plus inflation, to build, was not presently needed as the bus link was doing “a good job”.

The estimated cost of $86 million, as quoted by Mr. Peter Lockwood for the full Knox tram extension is also questionable. Yarra Trams estimates that it costs roughly $3 million per kilometre for the construction of new track and overhead wiring and while this figure does exclude new stops and related road works, the extension of approximately four kilometres is more likely to be around $40 rather than $85 million.

However, Mr Makin said the Government was “more likely looking at around $40 million” for the project.

The approximately three kilometre extension from East Burwood to Vermont South cost $42.6 million, including the bus/tram interchange and associated landscaping it is therefore questionable that the missing link in this tram extension would cost $86 million.

RTCCC Combats Graffiti – The Scourge of Ringwood

Media Release – Monday, 12 September 2005

RTCCC Combats Graffiti – The Scourge of Ringwood

The Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) is holding a Clean Up Graffiti Day on the 1st of October amid its calls for stronger anti-graffiti laws with Maroondah.

“Graffiti is clearly the scourge of Ringwood,” said RTCCC spokesperson Alex Makin. “Rampant graffiti simply makes Ringwood an unsafe and unattractive location threatening the very appeal of the Ringwood Transit City. The current excessive graffiti makes it difficult to reinvent Ringwood.”

The Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) in response to community concerns regarding the rampant graffiti is organising a Clean Up Graffiti Day for Saturday the 1st of October from 1:45pm to 4 pm.

“Graffiti which is not removed quickly has a detrimental effect on both residents and businesses within Maroondah. Research clearly shows that the prompt removal of graffiti reduces the chances of further graffiti,” said Mr Makin. “In response to the concerns from businesses and residents alike the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition will be holding a Clean Up Graffiti Day on the 1st of October”.

“Maroondah Council must do more to put an end to graffiti. This includes the establishment of a toll-free graffiti removal hotline and a commitment to remove graffiti promptly when it has been reported. These concepts are not revolutionary, other municipalities such as Casey have been operating similar programs since 2002,” said Mr. Makin.

“Local ward councillors must play an active role in removing and reporting graffiti to ensure a quick removal. Maroondah Council must lead by example in the removal of graffiti and ensure the future success of the Ringwood Transit City,” concluded Mr. Makin.

The RTCCC Clean Up Graffiti Day will be held on Saturday the 1st of October and will meet at 1:45 pm at the Ringwood Bus Interchange. To register contact Alex Makin on 0409 136 213 or e-mail alex@rtccc.info.

About the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC):
The RTCCC is a non-profit, voluntary organisation which aims to strengthen community participation and stimulate open and honest discussion regarding the Ringwood Transit City project with the aim of ensuring a cohesive vision for the future of Ringwood.



Governmental Organisational Impediments – Action Buried by Bureaucracy

As detailed in my presentation to RMIT’s Integrated Transport Planning Course delivered on Friday the 2nd of September one of my major concerns regarding the lack of progress towards the goal of increasing public transport patronage stems from the poor integration that exists between government departments, such as the Department of Infrastructure (DOI) and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).

While the goal of higher urban density as supported by the DSE is proceeding rapidly, the provision of better public transport under the jurisdiction of the DOI has been minimal. Furthermore the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) has not signed off on the goal of increasing public transport modal share to 20% by 2020, meaning that the department which controls the final allocation of budgetary funding is failing to support the key goals of Melbourne 2030.

Continue reading “Governmental Organisational Impediments – Action Buried by Bureaucracy”

Presentation: Integrated Transport Planning

Today, upon invitation from Dr. Robin Goodman, the Postgraduate Course Coordinator for the Environment and Planning Program at RMIT, I presented a community perspective into the Ringwood Transit City Project for RMIT’s Integrated Transport Planning Course.

Given that the course focused on Transport and Planning, my presentation covered the current issues in Ringwood, examining the four areas of public transport, planning, pedestrian/cycling linkages and green open space and the fact that these four key areas are interrelated.

For example since there is poor public transport within Ringwood, this leads to a need for excessive car parks resulting in less green open space, which in turn creates a pedestrian hostile environment and results in bad planning outcomes.

The cyclical nature of these four components is already evident within Ringwood, where 62% of land consists of roads and car parks, against a Melbourne wide average of just 40%. This leaves only a minority of land available for community, residential or commercial purposes a and is a startling contrast to the rest of Melbourne.

There is little disagreement that Ringwood must become a ‘destination’ for it to thrive. That means Ringwood must become a destination in which people want to live and a destination for business, enabling people to work, shop and trade within Ringwood. Unless public transport is improved, unless there is more green open space, unless Ringwood becomes pedestrian and cycling friendly and unless there is suitable development – the aim of making Ringwood a destination will not occur.

Unfortunately the lack of integration between government departments, in particular the Department of Infrastructure (DOI), which funds public transport and infrastructure projects, and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), hampers these efforts. This is further exemplified through the fact that the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) has failed to support Melbourne 2030 and the goal of increasing public transport patronage. The DTF has such little regard for Melbourne 2030 that it has even failed to sign off as a department on the goal of ensuring 20% public transport modal share by the year 2020.

This has ultimately resulted in Melbourne 2030 being nothing more than a disappointment since the government has failed to provide any real leadership in ensuring the success of this plan.

This disjointed approach is apparent with the failure to include bus services along key major roads, such as Maroondah Highway, Canterbury Road and Wonga Road, as part of the principal public transport network.

Including these routes as part of the principal public transport network would ensure services that would operate seven days per week from early morning to midnight.

The failure to include Maroondah Highway on the principal public transport network, for example means that the main thoroughfare linking Ringwood to Croydon and Lilydale is considered nothing more than a local road.

Melbourne 2030 will continue to disappoint until there is real integration at both a Ministerial and Departmental level. This will only occur once if there is a combined Infrastructure and Planning Portfolio, to provide the crucial linkage required between transport, infrastructure development and planning.

Until such integration is finally provided, including the linking of State Budgets to the outcomes of Melbourne 2030, the Government will deliver nothing but continue to largely disappointment in regard to planning and transport outcomes. The State Government must show leadership and create a combined Infrastructure and Planning Portfolio to save Melbourne 2030 from further failure.