Stocktake: ALP level crossing removal election promises
With most of the major policy announcements by the major parties having already come and gone - as the thinking goes, to grab as many early votes as possible - we're unlikely to see any major announcements at this late stage in the state election campaign.
Besides the ALP's Suburban Rail Loop election announcement, that party also stated that it would expand its 2014 election policy of removing 50 level crossings to a list of 75.
At the time the policy was unveiled, 14 new sites were identified with the party explaining they would make further announcements in the proceeding weeks. At this stage, the ALP still have three more level crossings to identify before the state election.
The initial announcement included adding more Frankston line crossings to the list, specifically, one of the level crossings that includes a tram square - where trains generally have to slow right down to cross the road - in Glen Huntly.
The Glen Huntly Road level crossing will also knock out the adjacent Neerim Road, and further down the line in Chelsea, another three level crossings were added to the list.
The Pakenham/Cranbourne lines will see an extra eight level crossings removed with both the ALP and Liberal parties gunning for votes in the area due to retiring members and once-safe seats now marginal, littering the outer south-east edge of Melbourne.
Upfield and Mernda lines were also the beneficiaries of new level crossings added to the list, where Preston and Coburg will see multiple crossings removed at once that will likely kick off long-held plans to increase development in both suburbs.
Now that Union Road in Surrey Hills and Mont Albert Road in Mont Albert have been added to the list, once complete, all level crossings between the city and Ringwood will have been removed. Springvale Road and Mitcham/Rooks Road were started under the previous coalition government and since then Blackburn Road and Heatherdale Road have been removed during the term of the current government.
Sunbury and Werribee will see a new crossing from each of their suburbs added to the list but there are still three that have not been announced by the ALP.
Kooyong Station on the Glen Waverley line has another of the dreaded tram squares at its level crossing, likewise, Riversdale on the Alamein line has one. Gardiner Station was the first to be removed and Glen Huntly on the Frankston line brings it up to 50% of all tram squares to be removed or already completed.
There are many aspects to look at for each site, as per the site prioritisation framework, and train operations (speed/efficiency) is one of them. This ensures that the tram square level crossings will likely be high priority given removing them will improve heavy rail and tram services.
Yet the Craigieburn line, as I've previously written, still stands out as one of the lines that's only had two level crossings on the original list of 50 and no announcements since the ALP decided to expand it to 75.
Moonee Ponds will have thousands of new residents in the next few years and its on the line that will be seeing increased services once the Melbourne Metro tunnel opens up.
Over to you - can you name other high priority areas for level crossing removals?
Lead image credit: LXRA