Election Update: Close of Nominations

Nominations for the Maroondah Council elections have now closed and there are a total of eight candidates contesting Loughnan’s Hill Ward. Candidate positions on the ballot paper are allocated randomly via a lottery draw and I will be located fifth on the ballot sheet.

With a total of eight candidates the election will be a definite challenge. Questions must be asked, however about what appears to be a prolific use of ‘dummy candidates’ or ‘running mates’ within the ward.

The use of ‘dummy candidates’ who exist solely to boost the preferences of another candidate is not a practice that should be undertaken within a democratic society or local government.

I pledge above all to genuinely represent the interests of the people of Loughnan’s Hill Ward and the wider Maroondah municipality. I thank everyone so far for their support and taking the time to discuss their concerns with me.

I look forward to the possibility of acting upon these concerns if elected onto Maroondah Council.

Council Nomination

Today I formally announced my candidacy for Loughnan’s Hill Ward in the upcoming Maroondah Council elections.

It is with great honour that I submitted my nomination to the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) Office.

Maroondah must have a council that represents and responds to the concerns of the community. We must stop the rot of arrogant councillors that haved failed to listen and act upon community concerns.

We must enhance the mobility of residents by ensuring that our streets are safe and by advocating for better public transport.

We must protect our residential areas from inappropriate development and we must enhance the environment of Ringwood to ensure a peaceful and vibrant suburb that all people can enjoy.

We must strengthen the employment and educational opportunities within Ringwood to ensure that residents have opportunities to work and study. We must also provide an atmosphere that people of all ages and mobility can enjoy.

We must ensure that Ringwood fulfils its potential and becomes the vibrant suburb it was always meant to become.

This is the vision I have for Ringwood; I hope that together we can achieve a cohesive vision for the future of Ringwood.

It is with great honour that I pledge to genuinely represent the concerns of the community to enhance the advocacy and representation I have provided within a number of voluntary associations.

Please contact me on mobile 0409 136 213 or email alex@alexmakin.com.au and tell me about your vision for Maroondah and the issues that are of concern to you.

I thank everyone for their support so far.

Maroondah Leader: New bus service vital link

The announcement that Sunday services will be provided on route 670, connecting Ringwood, Croydon, Chirnside Park and Lilydale is a victory for the Maroondah community and a victory for what was a key priority for the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) Outer East Branch.

The Maroondah Leader reported on the announcement of Sunday bus services along Maroondah Highway:

A NEW hourly Sunday bus service from Ringwood to Lilydale will provide much-needed public transport for the outer east, a lobby group says.

While further public transport improvements are definitely required, including the addition of evening services and more frequent hours of operation the announcement of Sunday bus services along Maroondah Highway is a genuine victory for the community.

Transport Minister Peter Batchelor last week announced a new bus route between Chirnside Park and Lilydale, and improvements to five other bus services in Maroondah and the Yarra Ranges.

Route 670 (Lilydale to Ringwood via Croydon and Chirnside Park Shopping Centre) will have a new hourly Sunday bus service between 8am and 5pm.

Myself, as a candidate for the Maroondah Council elections and organisations such as the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) will still continue in our endeavours to include bus services along Maroondah Highway, Canterbury Road and Wonga Road on the Principal Public Transport (PPTN). Inclusion on the PPTN will ensure that these vital bus links will be provided with frequent services operating from early morning to midnight seven days per week.

The Public Transport Users Association’s Alex Makin said it was a “victory for the community”.

“Funding for Sunday bus services along Maroondah Highway will finally provide services seven days per week along this major thoroughfare connecting Ringwood, Croydon, Chirnside Park and Lilydale. It has taken a lot of effort and required continued persistence but it finally appears that our dedication has provided results,” he said.

This announcement is just the beginning and advocacy will continue to secure further public transport improvements.

Sunday bus services along Maroondah Highway are expected to begin in early 2006.

The Age: New bus routes on the way

The Age has reported on the announcement of new bus services for the outer suburbs of Melbourne:

Melbourne’s outer suburbs are about to get extra public transport, with more than 50 new or improved bus routes to be unveiled.

But critics, including the Public Transport Users Association, say the new services are nowhere near enough to meet transport needs.

The routes will be paid for with $44 million over four years announced in the May state budget. But critics say $50 million a year is needed to fund minimum services for the outer suburbs.

Public Transport Users Association spokesman Alex Makin said the announcement was inadequate given the pressure caused by high petrol prices.

While the announcement of funding for bus services is welcomed, the level of funding is inadequate to provide frequent public transport seven days per week in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

The Bus Association of Victoria (BAV) has stated that at least $60 million per annum is required for Melbourne’s bus services. The PTUA stands in agreement that $44 million split over four years and divided into twelve areas is simply not enough to substantial public transport improvements to Melbourne’s neglected outer suburbs.

“A lot of these services will still not run on Sundays or late in the evening and they still follow the same haphazard, illogical routes we have seen for too long,” Mr Makin said.

With rising petrol prices the government is fast running of time to deliver genuine improvements to the public transport network.

Sunday Bus Service – A Victory For the Community

After much campaigning I am pleased to announce that Sunday bus services will be operating along Maroondah Highway. This is a victory for the community and will ensure that residents of Maroondah and the Yarra Ranges living near the major thoroughfare of Maroondah Highway will be able to use public transport on a Sunday.

While evening and more frequent services are still required, an hourly Sunday service will provide greater mobility for residents and will hopefully be the beginning of further improvements.

Media Release – Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sunday Bus Service – A Victory For the Community

Public transport campaigner and council candidate Alex Makin has welcomed the announcement of funding for Sunday services along Maroondah Highway.

“Funding for Sunday bus services along Maroondah Highway will finally provide services seven days per week along this major thoroughfare connecting Ringwood, Croydon, Chirnside Park and Lilydale”, Alex Makin said. “This is a victory for the community and a triumph for the lobbying I along with others provided through both the Public Transport Users Association and the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition”.

In 2004 Mr. Makin through the PTUA and RTCCC identified the need for Sunday bus services along Maroondah Highway as an urgent priority, (Blast Over City’s Bus Services, Maroondah Leader, 26th October 2004) with repeated lobbying throughout 2005 (Group mad over axing three key bus routes, Maroondah Leader, 9th August 2005).

The need for better services along Maroondah Highway was identified in a Maroondah specific public transport submission authored by Mr. Makin and sent to Planning Minister Rob Hulls, Treasurer John Brumby, and Transport Minister Peter Batchelor and formed the basis of a preliminary response to the Maroondah Integrated Transport Strategy:

“Immediate introduction of evening and Sunday services for route 670 along Maroondah Highway connecting Ringwood, Croydon, Chirnside Park and Lilydale as well as smaller shopping precincts and Cherry Tree Retirement Village. Route 670 along Maroondah Highway must be included as part of the Principal Public Transport Network (PPTN)” (p8, Moving Maroondah, Alex Makin, 23rd May 2005).

“It has taken a lot of effort and required continued persistence but it finally appears that our dedication has provided results. Maroondah Highway will soon have bus services seven days per week.” Mr. Makin said.

“This upgrade is just the beginning, as it is imperative that Maroondah Highway, Canterbury Road and Wonga Road bus services become part of the PPTN as this would ensure services from early morning to midnight seven days per week. I will continue in my efforts to ensure that further bus improvements become reality, with rising petrol prices the success of Ringwood and Croydon will depend on better public transport”, Mr. Makin concluded.

About Alex Makin – A Proven Community Advocate:

Alex Makin is a candidate for Loughnan’s Hill Ward in the 2005 Maroondah Council Elections. Mr. Makin is founder of the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) Outer East Branch and former spokesperson of the RTCCC. Mr. Makin is particularly focused on planning, transport and community participation issues within Maroondah.



Achieving Transit Orientated Design

This submission was written in response to concepts discussed during the Community Reference Group meeting in September relating to the proposed redevelopment of Ringwood Station.

Transit orientated design refers in part to the integration between public transport and commercial/residential/community precincts and as such is dependent on the convenience of public transport, active transport (walking and cycling) and the ease of transferring between these modes.

For instance the experience of a passenger journey on public transport comprises of many factors including:

  • Service reliability;
  • Service frequency;
  • Travel times;
  • Safety;
  • Ease of transfer.

In this regard the expansion of Clocktower Park to provide integration with Ringwood Station must be facilitated to connect the history and significant of this park to the wider public consciousness. Furthermore current shop frontages at Ringwood Station should consist of a retail/café mix to provide retail integration between the two sides of Maroondah Highway and to transform the so-called ‘Station Superblock’ into a liveable space.

Maroondah Business Week Dinner

Tonight I attended the Maroondah Business Week Dinner, which concluded Maroondah Business Week which the presenting of the Business Excellence Awards presentations. These awards are presented to businesses which are both successful and demonstrate a commitment to the local community.

The Business Week Dinner presented an opportunity to demonstrate the role Maroondah businesses play within our local community, providing services, products and employment for residents.

Congratulations to all nominees and winners of the Business Excellence Awards.

The Age : More Roads Lead to More Congestion

The Age has included an editorial on the growing strain on the Westgate Bridge and the lack of public transport available in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

The Age states:

Back in 2002, Transport Minister Peter Batchelor said West Gate was a “top priority”, but added: “We have in place longer-term policies to bring about a shift in demand by getting commuters to use passenger trains.”

Except that public transport is not in place in the new suburbs. Transport infrastructure has completely failed to match the pace and pattern of suburban growth. So, while soaring petrol prices give commuters more reason to use public transport than ever before, West Gate is still hopelessly congested.

While the editorial focuses on Melbourne’s west, the same can be said for much of Melbourne’s outer suburbs, where public transport has failed to be provided:

Referring to suburban growth, the Government’s public transport director, Jim Betts, conceded recently that “we didn’t plan effectively in advance for public transport and we didn’t fund it properly. We’ve got to try and do it better.”

Yet public transport is still treated as an afterthought.

Within the outer east, residents are often left without Sunday or evening public transport services. In many parts of the outer suburbs even major thoroughfares, such as Maroondah Highway lack readily available public transport. This has resulted in centres such as Doncaster East and Chirnside Park being isolated to everyone except car drivers.

The closing remarks in editorial ring true:

Melburnians need the Government to “do it better” in providing efficient mass transport systems.

Governments of all levels need to do it better. While the funding of public transport is a State Government responsibility, local councils have a significant responsibility in advocating for upgraded services.

For the past two years, since I founded the Outer East Branch of the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), I have continually stated that Maroondah Council must develop its own Integrated Transport Strategy to provide an advocacy tool to solicit greater public transport funding.

Two years later Maroondah Council has now provided a draft version of its Integrated Transport Strategy and this document is expected to adopted within the new year.

Strong advocacy from local government is essentially to ensure greater public transport for our outer suburbs.

Maroondah: We Must Stop The Rot

As a proven community advocate I am seeking your vote in the upcoming council elections. We must remove the rot of an arrogant council that has failed to listen to the community.

Maroondah Council must act to ensure that the community can restore its faith into the decisions the council makes. As such I will pledge to undertake the following:

Holding Council Accountable:

  • I will organise regular public forums to hear your views
  • I will provide councillor reports so you are kept informed

A better Maroondah where I will work to:

  • Prevent excessive and unjustifed rate increases within our municipality
  • Reject inappropriate development in our residential areas
  • Improve the natural environment of Maroondah
  • Advocate for better public transport in Maroondah
  • Resolve local traffic concerns affecting our streets
  • Ensure the best possible support services for our elderly
  • Enable greater access for people with disabilities
  • Provide local opportunities for our youth
I will not take your vote for granted

Ringwood and Loughnan’s Hill need a councillor that has a proven record of standing up for the needs of the community – that candidate is Alex Makin.

Only Alex Makin Can Stop the Rot

RRR Radio Interview – Population Densities and Public Transport

This morning I, as the Outer East Branch Convener of the Public Transport Users Association, along with Associate Professor Michael Buxton from RMIT (Associate Professor, Environment & Planning), was interviewed by Radio Station Triple R (RRR) to discuss the issues of urban density and public transport.

Melbourne is clearly at the crossroads between increasing urban densities and continued urban sprawl, yet the assumption that higher urban densities are required before improved public transport can be provided is a falsehood.

So what level of population density is required for bus services of a 10 minute frequency?

The 1965 Brisbane Transportation Strategy estimated 12.5 people per hectare while Paul Mees, in his book A Very Public Solution (2000), estimated that 14 people per hectare was required.

Even the upper limit of 14 people per hectare would mean that most of outer suburbia would be able to support a much higher level of bus services. Yet even though Ringwood has a population density of 18 people per hectare and Chirnside Park has a population density of 16 people per hectare, the people of Maroondah still lack Sunday and evening services along Maroondah Highway.

Higher population densities will mean nothing more than increased car usage if public transport improvements are not provided. Melbourne is experiencing rapid growth in the outer west and outer north yet improvements to public transport have not been provided. What alternatives do people have if they are not provided with bus services as soon as such estates are developed?

What alternatives to driving will people have in the Ringwood Transit City, if the much promised bus and rail improvements are not delivered?

Professor Michael Buxton and I were in agreement that unless improvements to public transport are provided immediately residents living in such areas will have little choice but to drive, causing congestion on outer and inner suburban roads alike.