All the ingredients for land-use intensification on the Dandenong corridor are now in place

All the ingredients for land-use intensification on the Dandenong corridor are now in place
All the ingredients for land-use intensification on the Dandenong corridor are now in place

As we approach the end of the build-out phase of the level crossing removal programme in the Dandenong railway corridor, it's a good opportunity to step back and look at the big picture of what's happening along Melbourne's busiest rail line.

'The Dandenong Corridor' effectively refers to the railway line that cuts through Melbourne's south-east from the City to Dandenong, at which point the railway line splits into two branches, heading to Pakenham and Cranbourne.

Thanks to the level crossing removal projects in the area, we now have a veritable list of milestones whereby service quality on the Dandenong corridor will improve.

The most recent initiative by the state government, from their long-list of pre-budget announcements, included money to be allocated to operate services within the Dandenong corridor every 10 minutes after the peak until 10pm, each week night.

It's not quite the London Underground, Paris Metro or Tokyo Subway, however with a little bit of love from the state transport planners - especially now that bus operators are moving toward new contracts - to create a frequent bus feeder network up and down the line, the Dandenong corridor soon and well into the future should be a focus for residential and employment land-use intensification.

When trains run directly to Flinders Street (which they will, permanently, once the metro tunnel is open), it takes 40 minutes to travel to the city where trains stop all stations to Caulfield, express to South Yarra train from Dandenong to the City (when the metro tunnel opens, they will express to Domain/ANZAC and then the next stop is Flinders Street). 

With the metro tunnel, signalling improvements, newer trains, it's conceivable, but not confirmed, a couple of minutes might be shaved off that journey time as well.

Regardless, up to 40 minutes to the City is a pretty good commute time, but also we can't ignore another large elephant in the south-east: the Monash cluster which will soon have a plan to grow employment and diversify land-use within the large area that neatly sits halfway between the city and the outer branches of the Dandenong corridor.

All the ingredients for land-use intensification on the Dandenong corridor are now in place
Screenshot centred over Springvale on the State Government's Interactive Planning Scheme Map

Taking a tour on Spring Street's new interactive planning scheme map, we can see zoning supports intensification already, especially around the old towns that grew up along the 100+-year-old rail line and now form part of Melbourne's middle ring.

Carnegie, being the closest suburb to the city when you exclude Caulfield, is and has seen a major transformation with many projects underway, recently built or in the pipeline.  Murrumbeena doesn't have the same scale of Commerical zones but it is surrounded with Glen Eira and general residential zone which can support new apartment buildings up to 3 levels.

Hughesdale, the boundary between Glen Eira and Monash are in the same boat as Murrumbeena and Oakleigh, one of the largest centres within Monash, is subject to Commercial Zones which allow for a mix of uses.

Further down the line at Huntingdale, Westall, Sandown Park and Yarraman, there is no existing major retail strip or regional activity centre to piggyback off like in Clayton, Springvale, Noble Park and Dandenong, but, again like in Murrumbeena and Hughesdale, the railway stations are surrounded by general residential zoning.

Clayton and Noble Park are like Carnegie in that they are liberally covered by a mixture of zones which allow for different typologies and when you throw Springvale and its very large & diverse mix of zones surround its station, these three centres which skirt the edge of Monash cluster will be in prime position to take advantage of the demonstratable upgrades to the rail network that will be rolled out over the next 5-7 years.

And Dandenong, at the end of line where frequencies will be the greatest is not shy of favourable planning zones nor a decent pipeline of existing projects that will see new buildings diversify the commercial-focused major south-east Melbourne centre.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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