Suburban Rail Loop in focus: Burwood

Suburban Rail Loop in focus: Burwood
Alastair TaylorDecember 3, 2019

Deakin University's primary Melbourne campus in Burwood is set to be one of two stations on the Suburban Rail Loop that will be located in the City of Whitehorse.

The Burwood station along with the station to be located in the Monash NEIC are the only two stations in the first phase of the SRL that will be built in areas where there is no existing heavy rail transport.   The two university campuses are natural patronage generators with the ability to generate travel demand inside and outside traditional peaks.

According to Deakin University's statistics, in 2017, the Burwood campus had 30,000 on-campus enrolments, and in 2018 Monash University's Clayton campus had 44,000 on-campus enrolments. 

Deakin University's total staff headcount in 2017 numbered just under 5000 with approximately 2000 of them based in Burwood and Monash's total staff headcount in 2018 numbered just under 9000.  Monash University does not provide readily available staff-per-campus statistics.

Suburban Rail Loop in focus: Burwood
Deakin University's Burwood campus. Image:

The campus and immediate surrounds are currently served by two modes of public transport: Burwood Highway hosts the number 75 tram route from Vermont South and has three bus routes that link it to Box Hill station.

Burwood itself has seen many new residential and commercial/retail developments completed in the recent past and also has a decent pipeline of work still to come. The majority of completed and still-to-come pipeline projects are lined on either side of Burwood Highway and its tram route.

The 5 level, 39 unit Parer Apartments project is indicative of the scale of development that is present along the Burwood Highway and can be explained by the liberal application of the Residential Growth Zone, predominantly along the southern side of the Burwood Highway, and multiple Commercial Zone applications at key sites between Warrigal and Middleborough Roads.

When Urban interviewed the Victorian Planning Authority's CEO, Stuart Moseley, back in April 2018, he spoke of each NEIC being anchored by, among others, a tertiary institution and while Deakin's Burwood campus is not contained within any flagged NEIC, the addition of a station at Deakin's campus is likely to bring the campus and immediate area into focus for expanded development.

Just to the east of the Deakin campus lies an auto-centric last-century suburban office park which in the context of a major north-south high capacity transport link soon to be built in the area will look somewhat other-worldly if nothing changes.

Clustering is the keyword and despite not being located in an NEIC, Deakin's campus could very well be at the centre of a smaller cluster of businesses working with the university, however before that could start, a new round of structure planning will likely be required.

In 2009 the City of Whitehorse adopted a framework plan for the Burwood village, located to the west of the university campus on Burwood Highway near the intersection of Warrigal Road, and no other studies or plans are currently listed on Whitehorse's website in relation to planning for the Burwood & Deakin University campus area.

Previous stop: Glen Waverley

Next stop: Box Hill (coming soon)

Lead image credit: Wikipedia

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Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of 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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