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Knox City Council to vote on new Public Transport advocacy in light of recent Eastern Melbourne announcements

Knox City Council to vote on new Public Transport advocacy in light of recent Eastern Melbourne announcements
Knox City Council to vote on new Public Transport advocacy in light of recent Eastern Melbourne announcements

Knox City Council in Melbourne's outer-east will at its council meeting tonight be presented with a report by council officers which recommends the council undertake a shift in its advocacy for Public Transport to and from and within the LGA in the run-up to the Victorian election in November.

The report recommends the council endorse a two-page advocacy brochure which outlines a three-stage light and heavy rail rollout that would better serve the wider middle-ring and outer eastern areas of metropolitan Melbourne.

Noting that its own advocacy of projects would be more effective when undertaken in the wider context of an Eastern Melbourne public transport plan, the report argues the economic case for the projects will improve when viewed across the sub-regional level.

To Knox's west is Monash, to the north is Whitehorse and Maroondah, to the south is Greater Dandenong and to the east is Yarra Ranges Shire - all these councils are a part of the Eastern Transport Coalition which advocates for improved public transport in Eastern Melbourne.

The advocacy brochure appended to the council report certainly does take on a wider sub-regional context with two north-south light rail lines, one of which does not enter Knox's municipal territory, and the Rowville Rail project runs for the most part through the city of Monash before entering Knox.

It also includes proposals for three new bus routes which would better serve the employment precincts within the Knox LGA including one route which would require a road bridge to be constructed in Scoresby.

The report notes the history of studies relating to Rowville heavy rail but in light of the Federal Government's allocation of $24 million for planning over the forward estimates and a commitment of $475 million to build a heavy rail line, council officers recommend changing tack on its PT advocacy.

As the Victorian State Government has essentially operated without a formal transport plan to guide investment across the last ten years, the only true gauge of Government’s position on Rowville Rail has been through direct approaches with elected representatives through both Council and the ETC.

Over the last 4-5 years, the Government response when pressed on Rowville Rail has remained consistent, namely that at best, it represents a longer term aspiration of Government, noting that delivery of the Melbourne Metro project and the Level Crossing Removal Program remain the top priorities

When the current Government established Infrastructure Victoria to assess infrastructure priorities across both metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria, the Rowville Rail project was considered, however ultimately disregarded. It was again seen as a longer term priority, noting that a lower order transit solution, namely bus rapid transit or light rail might be deemed more appropriate.

Knox council report
Knox City Council to vote on new Public Transport advocacy in light of recent Eastern Melbourne announcements
Map from the draft advocacy brochure - image: Knox

Knox is one of the outer eastern LGAs that has zero capacity for outwards expansion and although limited at the time of writing, it is not without projects on the Urban.com.au Project Database.

The LGA has two projects under construction near Knox Shopping Centre with the remaining projects either under assessment, approved or at sales.

One such project, 711-717 Mountain Highway that was profiled on Urban.com.au a year ago has had a redesign and its fate will be decided upon at the same meeting tonight.  The council officer report for the development recommends the council grant a town planning permit.

To view the council's public transport advocacy report and draft brochure, see knox.vic.gov.au.

Lead image credit: Knox Amendment C149

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.

Tags: 
Victorian Election 2018

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