Commuter car park upgrade at Merlynston

December 7, 2021 at 1:30 pm 1 comment

Upfield Bike Path, Ararat Avenue and Shorts Road. Adding carpark entry will increase
safety hazards for pedestrians and cyclists

On 6th September Climate Action Moreland submitted the following submission to the Level Crossing Removal Authority on the development upgrade proposal for the Commuter car park at Merlynston station . We know that many North Coburg Residents and other community groups also put in submissions. We have heard and had no further community engagement with LXRP.

Here is our submissions sent 6 September 2021.

Re Upgrade to Merlynston Station Car Park arising from a 2018 election promise

Dear Level Crossing Removal Authority,

I note that we made a submission to Lizzie Blandthorn on the upgrade of the Merlynston Station carpark in February 2019. I have attached that original correspondence to this submission.

The recent publication of the IPCC report on Climate Change: The physical basis makes clear that infrastructure needs to take into account increasing temperatures and impacts on human health of global warming.

I draw your attention especially to IPCC AR6 WG1 Summary for Policymakers (SPM):

“C.2.6 Cities intensify human-induced warming locally, and further urbanization together with more frequent hot extremes will increase the severity of heatwaves (very high confidence). Urbanization also increases mean and heavy precipitation over and/or downwind of cities (medium confidence) and resulting runoff intensity (high confidence).”1

Importance of mitigating the Urban heat island effect with green infrastructure

Moreland has a very strong urban heat island effect, and the need, whenever public infrastructure is being upgraded, should be to minimise or reduce the urban heat island effect in Moreland’s built environment.

Urban heat is a significant social disruptor and public health issue during Summer months. The upgrade of the Merlynston car park is a perfect opportunity to improve urban heat mitigation through good design as per the Moreland Council Urban Heat Island Effect Action Plan.2

  1. Substantial Tree canopy shade should be provided to minimise urban heat from pavement.
  2. Permeable pavement used where possible to allow water retention and minimise flood risk
  3. Use of raingarden catchments for local vegetation including canopy trees

Facilitating Electric Vehicles in Moreland

Install EV charging station on both the eastern and western side of the station as part of car park redevelopment. The State Government should be pro-active in facilitating transition to electric vehicles. Installing EV chargers will promote uptake of Evs by station users facilitating reduced transport emissions.

Increase active transport (cycling/walking) infrastructure

Agree with addition of a Parkiteer bike locker cage at Merlynston, and feel this will encourage some residents from Coburg North and Fawkner to cycle rather than drive to Merlynston station.

There are several problematic issues regarding the Upgrade to the Upfield Bike Path route.

1. Ideally, cycling path should be separate from walking path. Pedestrians often do not feel safe on a shared path and cyclists feel their path impeded by people walking.

2. The situation of the path between the rail line fence and the car park will likely increase potential pedestrian/cycling conflict, especially at morning and evening peak times.

3. There needs to be buffer space separating car parks from any cycling path. Many cars have a substantial kerb overhang which needs to be considered as part of the design.

4. Provision of Canopy shade should be an important consideration for the bike path to reduce direct heat which becomes a big issue during summer months with increasing extreme heat events.

5. Shorts Road. The car park entrances on the east and west side are problematic. As well as the Upfield Bike Path route on the east side of the rail line, this rail pedestrian crossing is an important east-west cycling route. Station car park entrances from Shorts Road pose increased cycling and pedestrian hazards for east-west cycling and pedestrian traffic.

Traffic impact on other users

Providing new entrances to both east and west side car parks from Shorts Road increases traffic and safety of cyclists on Shorts Road and Ararat Avenue. As Ararat Avenue is part of the Upfield Bike Path route, providing car park access may increase traffic on this road, reducing the safety of cyclists. It also opens up the possibility for some divers to use Ararat Avenue and the East Station Car Park as a rat run route to Boundary Road.

Existing Vegetation

The mature trees (Tasmanian Blue Gum and a Manna Gum) east side of the railway line north of Shorts Road provide significant habitat to birdlife. This may include foraging habitat for the critically endangered Swifts Parrot on their migration route between Tasmania and Central Victoria. I note there has been at least one possible sighting of these parrots in the local area.

Existing trees along Bain Avenue and in the existing car park should be incorporated as part of the Car Park upgrade as they provide existing shade, habitat and environmental services.

On the west side of the line we note that local residents have done substantial regetation work including ensuring ephemeral wetlands providing local frog habitat. This is important as a north-south frog wildlife corridor. It includes the Common frog and Pobblebong frog.

Tasmanian Blue Gum and a Manna Gum

Increase in car park spaces and Upgrade to Upfield Line

We continue to question the need to provide a substantial increase to car park spaces at Merlynston while there is continued silence on the upgrade and extension of the Upfield Rail line.

Some of the car park users will travel from Hume and Whittlesea municipalities to access the Upfield line. It would be far better duplicating the Upfield line between Gowrie and Upfield, and extending the line to Roxburgh Park and Craigieburn and eventually to Wallan to provide a good public transport alternative. Provision of stations at Mickleham and Wallan would also reduce traffic congestion on the Hume Highway, Western Ring Road and Sydney Road.

We think extension of the line to Roxburgh Park and Craigieburn needs to be urgently considered to allow better train stabling, as well as train maintenance, to allow for more trains to be used on the line and increased service frequency. It will also relieve pressure on the Broadmeadows line that is approaching capacity.

With much urban consolidation taking place in southern Hume suburbs, and in new peri-urban suburbs around Mickleham and Wallan, and many high rise developments taking place in Brunswick and Coburg (and we note in particular the Pentridge towers development) there is an urgent need to assess increasing service reliability and frequency on the Upfield line and the infrastructure upgrades this will entail.

John Englart

on behalf of Climate Action Moreland

1 IPCC, 2021: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [MassonDelmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S. L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J. B. R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press

2 Moreland Council, Urban Heat Island Effect Action Plan 2016/2017 – 2025/2026

Entry filed under: news, public transport, submission, transport. Tags: , , , , , , .

Inaugural Moreland Climate CUP highlights Race to Zero Emissions – Melbourne joins Global Day of action #COP26 Moreland adopts new community climate targets: 75% emissions cut by 2030, net zero by 2035, Drawdown by 2040

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