The background paper authored by Dr John Stone of the University of Melbourne and Dr Ian Woodcock of RMIT which adds to the growing suite of documents to inform the City of Melbourne's transport strategy refresh strikes an interesting, metropolitan-wide, tone.
Drs Stone and Woodcock neatly tie together all the pieces in the haphazard puzzle of projects that are out in there in the public domain (they also insert some of their own ideas) and provide a narrative upon which the City of Melbourne could be an advocate for proper metropolitan-scale public transport network planning.
At the heart of the city and therefore the rail networks, the City of Melbourne naturally benefits when any public transport project is implemented - whether it's a suburban extension to South Morang which brings more people into the municipality or the Melbourne Metro 2 project, the paper acknowledges this and effectively lobbies the council to use that position to the benefit of other municipalities.
The paper defines the Melbourne Metro 2 project - another cross-town rail tunnel from Clifton Hill to Newport, joining the South Morang and Werribee lines together - as the top priority for the council as, without it, the projected passenger demand by 2031 could not be met on the existing rail network.
The paper also advocates for a station at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on the second cross-town railway line and also advocates for the second (third) station in Fishermans Bend to be located at the employment precinct. The transport plan for Fishermans Bend has two alternative rail routes for Melbourne Metro 2, the route via the employment precinct is one of them.
A denser and better connected inner-city tram and bus network is another theme of the background paper in which the authors argue council should advocate for increased capacity in the tram and bus networks, achieved through improving vehicle speeds and on-road priority for both modes.
The paper notes the state government has not released any public plans for the development of the bus and tram networks and calls for the City of Melbourne to advocate for such a release so that interest groups and the wider public can engage with the plans, therefore allowing the state government and private operators to establish and staged program of works.
Inner-city orbital light rail routes are present in the background paper - including a line that would re-use parts of the old outer-circle rail line and connect with Highpoint and Sunshine in the west and be tunneled under Hoddle Street to connect with Anzac, née Domain, station and South Melbourne.
Likewise, the middle and outer suburbs, despite being far from the City of Melbourne, are present in the background paper.
The paper serves as a reminder that not everyone works in the City of Melbourne right now and that the National Employment and Innovation Clusters, as they're known, in the middle and outer suburbs are just as worthy of proper mass transit and in the end, by the City of Melbourne using its weight to also advocate for these outer suburban light rail lines, it enhances connectivity with the municipality in the long-run.
Lead image credit: Wikipedia