Submission – Maroondah bus service reviews

The State Government is currently reviewing bus services across Maroondah, Knox and the Shire of Yarra Ranges and has called for submissions into the bus network within these municipalities.

The initial deadline for submissions was Friday the 27th of February but this has now been extended until Friday the 3rd of April, since several workshops within the Yarra Ranges have needed to be rescheduled due to the bushfires.

I have completed a submission in regard to bus services within Maroondah, focusing on the need to rectify gaps in coverage, as well as increased frequencies and operating spans.

The City of Maroondah, with a residential population of approximately 100,000 residents, is located in Melbourne’s outer east, 25 kilometres east of the Melbourne CBD.

The City of Maroondah includes the activity centres of Ringwood and Croydon, with Ringwood identified as a Transit City and Central Activity District. State Government planning and transport policies have acknowledged the need for public transport to underpin the designated Central Activity Districts.

Accessibility is of critical importance within Maroondah, since the municipality has one of the highest proportions of people with a disability. As such infrastructure, in the form of bus stops and vehicles need to be accessible so that they can be used by people with a range of mobility aids and disabilities.

Likewise service levels need to be of a standard that does not restrict the mobility of people that are reliant on public transport services and takes into account the urban revitalisation that is being encouraged within Ringwood and Croydon.

Specially, the submission calls for a new bus route along Canterbury Road from Ringwood to Box Hill, and a new route along Mount Dandenong Road providing a direct connection between Ringwood, the Karralyka Centre, Maroondah Hospital and the associated medical precinct.

In addition there is a need for localised services through Warranwood, where houses reside beyond reasonable walking distance to bus services.

The success of the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus, where patronage has increased by up to 80% due to increased frequencies and service spans, demonstrates that public transport will be utilised if services are direct, frequent, readily available and accessible.

Bus services that travel along Maroondah’s main roads, should have a level of service comparable to the SmartBus network to deliver a comprehensive public transport system within Maroondah.

Lastly there is need for comprehensive bus route reform to ensure that Maroondah’s main thoroughfares are serviced by frequent public transport routes. Localised services could operate in residential areas and connect to these main routes. Such reform will provide efficiency savings on the bus network and will also lessen confusion over bus routes and minimise travel times.

To view the full report, please read my submission made to the bus services review for Maroondah.

Carols by Candlelight celebratory function

After the opening of Barry Clarris’ Expressions of Interest, council held a celebratory function for the many volunteers, including singers, band members and organisers involved in Maroondah’s Carols by Candlelight.

The Carols by Candlelight, held at Ainslie Park in Croydon, is one of Maroondah’s largest community functions and involves a number of volunteers who provide music and festivities for the evening.

Tonight’s function provided an opportunity to acknowledge the work of these volunteers and the many groups that are involved with the function

Maroondah Art Gallery – 'Expressions of Interest' opening night

The Maroondah Art Gallery, located at Federation Estate in Greenwood Avenue, Ringwood is one of Maroondah’s premiere cultural facilities. The gallery’s current exhibition features paintings by artist and local resident Barry Clarris.

Barry has a background in science and a passionate environmentalist, with his artwork representing his interest in wildlife and conservation, with a particular emphasis on the flora and fauna of Lord Howe Island.

Tonight was the launch Barry Clarris’ ‘Expressions of Interest’, the exhbition will be shown until the 28th of March 2009. For further details please visit

Eastern Ranges Retirees – discussing transport advocacy for Melbourne's outer east

The Eastern Ranges Retirees is a seniors group based at Maroondah Federation Estate and encompassing members from Maroondah, Knox and the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

This morning I was invited to speak at a meeting of the Eastern Ranges Retirees in regard to public transport advocacy and the need for community involvement in seeking public transport improvements.

While there is understandably an emphasis on infrastructure improvements within the growth areas of Melbourne, there is the risk that the outer east will continue to miss out on much needed public transport improvements.

Projects such as the redevelopment of Ringwood Station, track improvements along the Belgrave and Lilydale lines, new rail lines and tram extensions as well as further bus improvements are urgently required for Melbourne’s outer east.

Community groups have a critical role to play in encouraging governments to invest in public transport improvements. The bus service reviews represent an opportunity for the community to advocate for service frequency and operating span improvements to the bus network and submissions have recently been extended to Friday the 3rd of April.

In regard to infrastructure improvements there is a need for ongoing community advocacy to ensure that projects such as the redevelopment of Ringwood Station are delivered. Ringwood Station currently fails disability access standards, with many people choosing to avoid using the station due to this difficulty.

It is clear that the funding commitment for the station redevelopment must be expanded to ensure the creation of a Station that is safe and accessible and integrated through pedestrian, bus and bicycle facilities.

Rotary Club of Ringwood – strengthening fundraising results

Like many organisations within our community, the Rotary Club of Ringwood has been eager to assist communities that have been affected by the recent bushfires.

The club’s fundraising efforts at the intersection of Maroondah Highway and Mount Dandenong Road last Saturday raised $10,250 which will solely be used to assist relief efforts.

The Rotary District of 9810, which covers the eastern and southeastern parts of Melbourne (which includes Ringwood) has formed a Disaster Relief Committee to coordinate Rotary’s activities and develop further fundraising efforts.

Tonight’s meeting included two guests from the Rotary Club of Wandin who spoke about the importance of networking with businesses and other community groups to strengthen community fundraising. The Rotary Club of Wandin has continually exceeded its fundraising targets through involving other organisations and informing the community about its projects.

The advice from these speakers will assist the Rotary Club of Ringwood in supporting major community projects through strengthening its approach to fundraising.

Rotary Club of Ringwood: Fundraising for the bushfire appeal

One of the key principles of Rotary is Service Above Self, with the organisation and its clubs holding regular fundraising activities to assist the community and people in need.

Today the Rotary Club of Ringwood organised a fundraising appeal to assist people affected by the recent bushfires.

Members collected money from passing cars at the Maroondah Highway and Mount Dandenong Road intersection and it was encouraging to see a number of people giving generously to this worthy cause.

The Rotary Club of Ringwood is currently confirming the amount of money that was raised and all proceeds will be directed towards the bushfire appeal. Thank you to the many people that assisted the club and to everyone that donated money to this worthy cause.

Review of Bus Services – Community Workshop

The State Government is progressively undertaking sixteen reviews of bus services across Metropolitan Melbourne and has begun to examine bus routes within Maroondah, Knox and Yarra Ranges.

As part of the review process, the State Government holds two rounds of workshops, with the first series designed to provide feedback on the issues experienced with bus services.

Tonight’s workshop, which was held in Ringwood, began with background on the demographics and the current standards of bus services within the region. It was concerning that a number of services still do not adhere to the State Government’s minimum service standards.

Participants had the opportunity to discuss areas of improvement, with frequency improvements and operating spans being strongly supported, as well as the need for new routes within Warranwood. Mount Dandenong Road and Canterbury Road.

The feedback received from tonight’s workshop, and through written submissions, will be used to guide the State Government’s recommendations into bus routes across Maroondah, Knox and the Yarra Ranges.

The second round of workshops will be held in approximately six months time to discuss the recommendations from the review.

Rotary Club of Ringwood – assisting communities affected by bushfires

The Rotary Club of Ringwood is part of Rotary District 9810 which covers eastern and southeastern Melbourne, including areas affected by the recent bushfires.

Tonight’s meeting featured a past Ringwood Rotarian and Marysville resident who spoke about his miraculous escape from the fires that devastated the town.  The discussion focused on the determination to rebuild and the strength of the community in assisting these efforts.

The Rotary Club of Ringwood is assisting the bushfire appeal through coin collections at the corner of Mount Dandenong Road and Maroondah Highway on Saturday and is also planning other activities to assist communities as they focus on rebuilding and recovery.

Support for the bushfire affected communities will need to be ongoing, particularly as the recovery process begins.

Maroondah Leader: Transport Coalition aims for changes

The State Government is undertaking review of bus services across Metropolitan Melbourne with the latest series exploring routes within Maroondah, Knox and the Yarra Ranges.

The Maroondah Leader has reported on the upcoming reviews, including the public workshop which will be held this Thursday.

Coalition Deputy Chair and Maroondah councillor Alex Makin called for a two-tier service with frequent, direct services on main roads and a second tier of local bus routes to connect passengers to the main services.

A two-tiered bus network would significantly reduce travel times and ensure that Maroondah’s main roads are are provided with frequent and direct bus services.

“The average bus route in Maroondah tends to go down a lot of different side streets and that adds a lot of time to the journey,” Cr Makin said.

The success of the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus demonstrates that people will use public transport when it is frequent, direct and readily available.

Cr Makin said residents raised several complaints about bus services at a public forum on January 29.

“People brought up issues about the frequency of the bus routes, the fact that the average bus finishes at 8pm or 9pm on a weekday and that buses are failing to make connections with other buses and with the train network,” Cr Makin said.

Given that the majority of Maroondah’s residents live beyond walking distance to the rail network, it is critical that the municipality is provided with a comprehensive bus network that enhances the mobility of our community.

“Unfortunately it’s all too common an occurance when the bus pulls up at a station, only for people to find that the train has already left.”

The feedback from council’s workshop will be used to assist council’s submission to the State Government. In addition community members should attend one of the State Government’s workshops to provide a further opportunity for input.

Improvements to bus services will help ensure an accessible municipality and reduce Maroondah’s greenhouse emissions.

Maroondah Partners in Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee returns for 2009

The Maroondah Partners in Health, Safety and Wellbeing committee meets on a bi-monthly basis to discuss projects and initiatives that deliver a positive impact to life within Maroondah.

This primary objective for the committee over the course of 2009 is to finalise the Maroondah Wellbeing Plan, a strategic document that will guide Maroondah’s priorities over the next four years.

Today’s meeting discussed community consultation for the plan, which will include surveys within the next edition of Maroondah Focus as well as via the council website. More in depth consultation will be available through sessions that will be held within Ringwood and Croydon.

The response to the devastating bushfires was also discussed, with Maroondah having a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Shire of Yarra Ranges. This enables Maroondah to send staff to the Shire of Yarra Ranges to provide emergency assistance. In addition council has donated $25,000 to the bushfire appeal and each councillor has also contributed $1,000 to provide further assistance.

The Maroondah Wellbeing Plan is intended to be ready for council adoption by the end of this year and will be accompanied by a yearly action plan. The composition of the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee and potential sub-committees will be guided by the newly developed plan.