Infrastructure Victoria releases 'all things considered' options paper

The second in a line of what is likely to be many document releases by Infrastructure Victoria has happened with the 'All things considered: exploring options for Victoria's 30-year infrastructure strategy' paper appearing on the authority's website yesterday.

The paper seeks to put all the options Infrastructure Victoria "has thought of for meeting Victoria's infrastructure needs on the table". Infrastructure, in this case, refers to the broad definition of the word: the paper canvases infrastructure options across a wide spectrum.

Addressing infrastructure demands in areas with high and low population growth; infrastructure that enables physical activity and participation; addressing 'expanded demand' on the justice system; providing better access to housing for the most vulnerable; improving freight supply chains, waterways and coastal areas; and transitioning to lower carbon energy. As the paper's title says, 'all things' are on the table.

Rather than attempt to provide a broader summary in this space, we'll keep it brief because the next round of consultation has begun (and ends mid next month) and there's a lot to read.

Why you should read the paper. From Infrastructure Victoria's "All Things Considered" options paper

The options paper groups project ideas by areas of need. For instance, the 'provide better access to housing for the most vulnerable Victorians' mentions affordable housing mechanisms and the 'Meet growing demand for access to economic activity in central Melbourne' chapter deals with various transport projects.

Further to the options paper, Infrastructure Victoria has also published a draft options book which looks at all the various infrastructure projects in more detail; the "Eastern Freeway to Citylink (EWE)" and "Melbourne Metro 2 (MMS)" sections make for interesting reading.

Submissions can be made until 6pm on Friday 17th June.

Infrastructure Victoria wants to start a conversation. Use the comment section below to let us know your thoughts.

Lead image credit: flickr


pdoff's picture

The comment about Melbourne Metro 2 is certainly very encouraging and shows that it hasn't quietly slipped off the radar since the 2012 PTV report. One concern in the Metro 2 section of the report is that it mentions the possibility for stations at Carlton North and Fitzroy North. At 3,952 and 5,200 people per square kilometer (2015 ABS stats), these are two of the more sparsely populated inner city areas and there's little development happening in either suburb to indicate this will change (especially Carlton North).

The corridor really needs to be further south where, by contrast, Carlton and Fitzroy already have twice the population density of their northern neighbours and are growing rapidly. More residents and more appealing areas recreation-wise (drawing in non-residents) should mean a more southerly alignment would make a better business case.

But hey, it's early days and I'm probably jumping the gun a bit.

theboynoodle's picture

Though the denser areas are well served by trams (Fitzroy, particularly) where it is a short hop into the CBD (entirely walkable, even, for many). Heavy rail is better geared towards longer journeys.

I live near the (I presume) density centre of Fitzroy. If there was a metro station there (say, around the Brunswick St/Johnston St area) I'd still likely jump on a tram for any CBD journey.. particularly so if crowding were reduced by rail options for travelers from further out.

As much as I'd like a shiny new Metro station in my back yard, I can see the logic of connections further out - just as long as it's in conjunction with increasing density in those areas (and the value capture opportunities that delivers).

It would be interesting to ponder whether a rail link would have a beneficial impact on people travelling TO Fitzroy/Carlton for recreational purposes. I wonder if South Yarra/Richmond benefit from greater traffic from elsewhere in the metro area due to their excellent rail connections?.. though having lived near both Chapel St and Brunswick & Smith Streets, I can't say I've noticed anything lacking here on the rail-free northside. However, I know that London works well with a number of entertainment/nightlife hubs dotted around and well served by the underground.

pdoff's picture

BoyNoodle, I suppose there is a couple of things you raise that I could comment on which mostly relate to what role the heavy rail system plays and how the inner metro area develops over the minimum next 20 years that you would expect the Metro 2 line to take to come on line:

  • Even with increased population density, the bulk of boardings from or to North Carlton/Fitzroy will be commuter related because these suburbs don't have the jobs/recreation/tourist critical mass for a metro station to serve another purpose. Greater density will still only mean that more residents are catching the train in the morning and then returning at night. Fitzroy/Carlton by contrast arguably already has the critical mass now and could also be reasonably expect to further increase jobs, residents, recreation and tourist appeal over the 20 year time horizon.

  • Public transport in South Yarra/Richmond isn't bad, but it's still part of the current legacy system that we have which doesn't compete very well with the weekend or after hours option available to drive to these suburbs, park and do your thing. Too many people living in say.. Ivanhoe will chose to drive to the Jam Factory rather than navigate the difficulty of catching a train to the CBD and the confusion of finding the next platform to where they want to go (even for two well serviced stations such as Richmond and South Yarra). This process needs to be easier which requires a reconfiguration of the entire network as foreshadowed by the PTV plan (the reason we even have a Metro 2 vision to discuss in the first place). This requires Turn Up And Go time frames between trains, separate and colour-coded lines and an easy to follow map with easy to understand interchange stations so.. yes.. like the London underground.

So to answer your question, we need to decide whether we intend to continue to use our heavy rail system as a commuter service or move towards a proper metro system used for additional day to day purposes and take some pressure off the tram network and roads. If it's the latter, it's absolutely important that the station is in Fitzroy instead of North Fitzroy. If you place a station in an area with high density AND local attractions (resulting in more constant inbound and outbound boardings) such as Fitzroy and Carlton, put the station on a network which is frequent and easy to understand for passengers encouraging them to leave the car at home and... voila, you have the makings of a successful metro system, a system servicing destinations that the maximum number of people want to travel to and an actual strategy to deal with the movement of the vastly higher number of people projected to be living in Fitzroy, Carlton and other inner areas over the next 20 years.

theboynoodle's picture

Thanks for the thoughts.

Even if Metro 2 is built then, wherever she may flow, it will still pass through the CBD and anyone wanting to get onto that line from anywhere else will have to go to the CBD and change.

Richmond and South Yarra are places we'd really want to see supporting use of rail for non-commuting purposes because they are on multiple lines in their own right.. so a large number of people can get there without changing trains anywhere. Fitzroy/Carlton wouldn't have that benefit. So I can understand why someone from Ivanhoe would drive to Richmond.. that makes sense. I'm more interested in what people from Elsternwick, Caulfield, and Bentleigh do. If they are making use of the trains to get to Richmond and South Yarra for leisure purposes, then that bodes well for connecting Fitzroy to the rail network. If not, then why?

The cool thing in London is that you can do most journeys, pretty efficiently, with one change.. and the network is such that you won't have to go too far out of your way. The changes themselves can often be pretty arduous though. I can't say I've found Melbourne any more difficult to navigate - though would agree it could be improved with colour-coding etc.

To adapt the old joke.. A Melbournian asks a Londoner.. 'how do we get a metro network like London'.. the Londenr replies 'well I wouldn't start from here'.

At $10bn per tunnel, and not much in the way of public appetite for new overground infrastructure, it's tough to see how that proper metro system could be realized. You're right, of course, it should be on the agenda.. but even the very line we're discussing is very-much a continuation of the current system and not a step towards something new.

johnproctor's picture

PDFF I think the 'Carlton North' 'Fitzroy North' thing is a misnomer as the most likely location for stations on that project is Alexandra Parade. That is the suburb boundary between the suburb proper and its north counterpart. It is also only 500m walk up to Johnston Street along any of the north/south streets from Alexandra/Princes so easy walking distance for much of the suburbs to which you refer.

A 'Fitzroy North' station might be under Alexandra probably with an entry adjacent to one of Brunswick or Smith Street and an entry pointing towards the other - they are 500m apart so unlikely that there'd be underground connections to both. Alexandra Parade and the southern end of Queens Parade (and the north end of Smith in particular) has significant development potential that is already being realised.

A Carlton North Station might be between Rathdowne and Lygon this is at the southern end of the Rathdowne Village Strip but admittedly well past the northern end of the Lygon Street strip. It is however directly adjacent one of the most highly populated blocks in Melbourne the former Carlton housing estate which now has a mix of Student Accomodation, HOusing Commision, Retiremnt Village and Private apartments... The cemetary is rather low density though! as one corner of the catchment.

From there the intent is to push across to meet the MM"1" Parkville Station.

As Noodle has pointed out trams in these areas provide a lot of the functionality of "the Metro". We will also never have a London/Paris style system with stations every 500m. So just like someone in London currently catches the tube one stop to interchange to catch another line 3 stops. In Fitzroy/Carlton people would get used to the idea of catching a tram 2-3 stops "OUT" to catch a train on this line across to Parkville or into the Western Part of the CBD. Just like on the Tube there'd be a tipping point where people would catch a tram into the CBD and then a tram/tram out again to a destination...

and of course the inner north is also the cycling capital of Australia. Something that is only likely to grow

In any case I guess the point is that all of the inner city is going to get denser and we need to think of the tram network as a really strong resource in its own right to ensure we don't allocate scarce resources in a way that just duplicates what is already being managed by the various tram routes in those areas.

I can imagine an "MM3" converting the Victoria Street/Parade Tram into a Metro in 30+ years once the tram network has had all the juice squeezed out of it for the southern half of those suburbs. but I think the rationale for the proposed MM2 is quite sound.

pdoff's picture

Thanks BoyNoodle and JohnProcter, all good points. I'm going to ease up now because across this site and Ozscrapers I'm developing a bit of a reputation for infatuation with the PTV plan. But I'll make one further comment which is probably best made with reference to the Stage 4 PTV plan map..

Using this map, anyone travelling from anywhere on the heavy rail network will be able to travel to the Carlton and Fitzroy stations on the grey line with just one change at either Southern Cross or Flagstaff proving that you don't need to have a system as extensive as the London underground to have a system that follows this very useful and simplistic principal.

In fact, any of the lines can access any other line with just one change and if headways are frequent enough that you can throw away the train schedule, each line always uses the same platforms with each platform being designated the same of the two directions (like London), it would change peoples perception of using the metro entirely IMO.

But yes it will be a long time before we're building stations that need to be as close together, on average, as London (although you'd be surprised how many are closer than 500 meters) and I'm thankful that we have an extensive tram network to fill this gap.

And please dont get me started on an MM3 :)

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