April 2018  This month’s announcements of plans for a new tram link and upgraded train station parking are wins for Melbourne commuters and RACV members whose input helped shape the changes.

The state government has announced it will investigate a new 18-kilometre tram link to connect Caulfield Station to Monash University’s Clayton campus via Chadstone Shopping Centre and then on to Rowville in a second stage, and will commit $3 million in next month’s budget for planning and design.

It will also provide $60 million in the Budget for 2000 new and upgraded car parking spaces and improved safety at stations including Belgrave, Sandown Park, Epping and Craigieburn.

RACV’s On Track Survey and Growing Pains report, both released last month, asked members for input on the state of Victoria’s transport systems, asking them to rate the rail network and vote on the most important outer-suburban infrastructure projects.

The inclusion of a Rowville transit to connect the Monash region was identified as the number one Growing Pains project, with more than 1100 votes.

“It’s no surprise that the government has chosen to plan this route,” says Bryce Prosser, general manager of public policy and corporate affairs. “The project has a strong mandate – both in public support, but also to boost capacity and relieve congestion.

“With heavy rail and local bus services already stretched, and large growth in the Monash region projected, there is a great imperative to build this important link.”

The tram project would align with the employment hub that houses the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Medical Centre and the future Victorian Heart Hospital. It would also connect Monash University’s Caulfield and Clayton campuses and Chadstone, benefiting students, shoppers, tourists and employees alike.

However, the likely long transit time suggests it won’t be a solution for CBD workers living in Rowville, should the second stage proceed. Frequent and more direct bus connections along Wellington Road to Huntingdale Station would be faster for CBD access for Rowville commuters.

The On Track Survey identified parking as the biggest concern for commuters at Belgrave, Craigieburn and Epping Stations, and RACV mobility advocacy manager Dave Jones welcomes improvements there.

“However, commuters also highlighted the need for improved bus connections at these stations, which underscores the need for a multi-modal approach to train station access,” says Dave.
 
Sandown Park commuters also cited a lack of shelter and available staff, highlighting safety issues.
 
“The station upgrades are certainly a win for RACV, as our strong research and advocacy is leading to better transport outcomes,” says Dave.

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