Category Archives: photos

Fawkner residents urge upgrade to the #Upfieldline

Sheridan Tate from Coolaroo speaking outside Gowrie Station

Fawkner residents rely on the Upfield train line as the primary public transport link into the city.

Residents and others from up and down the Upfield line attended a rally on Saturday in Bonwick Street to push for more trains, track duplication and upgrade of the Upfield line. See full report (including speeches) at the Upfield Transport Alliance: Duplicate the Upfield Line needs to be a priority says Fawkner Rally.

While residents at the very south of our suburb can walk to the Bakers Road tram terminus to catch the number 19 tram down Sydney Road, for most Fawkner residents this is simply not an option. (Sustainable Fawkner supports extending the No 19 tram all the way to Campbellfield)

The bus service that winds it’s way through Fawkner streets linking Coburg to Campbellfield is necessary and important, but also lacks the speed and frequency for city commuters.

Our service frequency on the Upfield line is 20 minutes, but more problematic is the single track between Gowrie and Upfield stations that limits the ability to increase the service frequency. Even when the Metro rail tunnel is complete by 2025, the single track will still limit service frequency on the line.

But it’s not only service frequency that’s a problem, it’s the reliability of the service.

When any problem happens on the line and there is a major delay in the Upfield timetable trains are short shunted at Coburg station. While residents in Coburg and Brunswick might not notice much change, all the residents at Batman station and further north have to wait for up to 40 minutes or longer for a train. This makes people late for work, late for important appointments.

A number of Fawkner residents spoke including John Englart from Sustainable Fawkner, Abdul Aziz a local Fawkner train commuter, and Joe Perri from the Fawkner Residents Association.

Residents along the Upfield train line transport corridor are represented by three state MPs: Tim Read, the Greens MP for Brunswick; Lizzie Blandthorn, Labor MP for Pascoe Vale; and Frank McGuire, Labor MP for Broadmeadows. So far only Tim Read has supported giving upgrade of the Upfield line a more urgent priority.

Sustainable Fawkner resident John Englart hand delivered an invite to Frank McGuire’s office:

We have known for 5 years that Upgrade of the Upfield line is urgently needed. The work is in the Melbourne Rail Network development Plan published in 2012, but listed as not to be done for at least 15 years.

A $5 million dollar report on upgrading the Upfield line and extension to Craigieburn along the Somerton link was completed last year, but the government is refusing to make this report public. See the ministerial response in the article on the Extend the Upfield Bike Path campaign website.

Five years ago Metro Trains urged urgent track duplication of the Upfield line. This has been ignored by the Andrews state government.

Track duplication should be done as a priority project in conjunction with level crossing removal in Coburg that will likely start later this year, to minimise disruption to passengers.

Have a read of this January 2014 Age report by Adam Carey: Single line to Upfield worsens north-west rail woes

A four-kilometre section of single track railway in a sparsely populated part of Melbourne is causing transport problems all over the north-western suburbs, Metro says.

The Upfield railway line, one of Melbourne’s quietest, goes from two tracks to one at the end of the line between Gowrie and Upfield stations.

The single track section can only accommodate one train at a time, creating a bottleneck that has long condemned Upfield line passengers to 20-minute waits between trains, even as several other lines in Melbourne move towards 10-minute frequency.

Metro has called for the single-track section of the Upfield line to be duplicated by 2017, arguing that services on the line should be increased “towards a 10-minute frequency”.

In a proposal to the state government, Melbourne’s rail operator says the single track should be duplicated because it also puts pressure on the Craigieburn and Sunbury lines, two of Melbourne’s busiest and most prone to peak-hour overcrowding, because all three lines are linked in a northern group.” Read more

It’s way past time that Lizzie Blandthorn MP and Frank McGuire MP take up the issue of urgent upgrade to the Upfield Line. Residents of the northern suburbs are sick of being ignored.

Sustainable Fawkner has endorsed the Upfield Transport Alliance campaign

Riff Raff marching band: we need more trains

The Fawkner rally to Upgrade Upfieldline

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Stuffing up Upfield Path extension with Camp Road level crossing Removal

Cemented cable ducting on the M80 rail bridge looking north

I wanted to see the Camp Road Level Crossing Removal done as per the plans presented and discussed at the community consultations. I thought this was a fairly straight forward level Crossing Removal. All they had to do was ensure facility for easily adding a shared use path (bikepath), a station at Campbellfield, and facility to upgrade to dual track.

Of course it would have been much cheaper and more efficient to upgrade to dual track during the Level Crossing Removal and do all the earth removal for the station at the same time. As well as providing a shared use path.

But it seems after the community consultation the Crossing Removal plans were changed. There is no provision for a shared use path under Camp Road whatsoever.

I visited the site on February 6 and the John Holland workers said they would be enclosing and locking off the access track that runs from Camp Road beside the railway line, across the rail bridge over the M80 to stop any pedestrian, joggers or cyclists along this track.

Even worse. The railway bridge over the M80 ring road has single track, provision for a second track and a reasonably wide pedestrian path space. The Level Crossing Removal chose to use the pedestrian pathway for electrical conduits, cementing them in, leaving a narrow path, perhaps 90 cm wide to walk over the bridge. This is most unsatisfactory. They have made extending the Upfield Path to Upfield very expensive, if not impossible, with these works.

Let’s get this straight. The Level Crossing Removal at Camp Road only benefits the drivers along this road, not the rail passengers on the Upfield line who were inconvenienced, or the people that were using the service track along the rail line and future users of a shared use path. The Level Crossing Removal appears to have actually made it more difficult to develop the Upfield shared use path in the Upfield Transport Corridor.

This is poor planning and implementation of a relatively straight forward level Crossing Removal. The planners and builders of yesteryear thoughtfully provided space for a shared use path on the M80 rail bridge, which the Level Crossing Removal Authority have utilised with no thought for future use. We have actually gone backwards with this infrastructure project…..except if you are a road user.

I was given an explicit undertaking by Kevin Devlin, CEO of the Level Crossing Removal Authority, in a letter he wrote dated 6 December 2017 as delegated from the Minister for Transport Jacinta Allen (PDF). These assurances included that the work was done to “easily accommodate future improvements to the rail line and surrounding infrastructure such as the bike path.”

Similarly, Devlin assured me that “LXRA is working closely with both Hume and Moreland Councils to ensure the current works deliver the best possible outcomes for the community within the scope of the project”.

I have raised this with Councillors from Moreland and Hume. The ones that have responded have not sounded impressed. Some of the outcomes have actually gone backwards, against Council policy and strategies for development of cycling infrastructure.

Here are some details:

  • Sydney Road is an 8 lane road, expanding to 14 traffic lanes including for turning lanes at Camp Rd/Mahoneys Rd/Sydney Rd intersection at Campbellfield with a 70Km speed zone. I think it is most unsafe to cycle on Sydney Road at this location due to the high volume of traffic and traffic speed.
  • VicRoads has not provided any safe alternative route for cyclists travelling north/south adjacent to or near Sydney Road. This function could be provided by the Upfield corridor and extension of the Upfield shared use path to Barry Road at Upfield.
  • VICRoads has no plans to extend the Upfield path, despite requests from Moreland and Hume Councils.
  • Please note that the residents of Campbellfield Heights have no backstreet route to access the shops at Campbellfield plaza. They have to come onto Sydney Road (or use the unformed footpath) to access the shops. While creation of the Upfield path would not resolve the difficulty of cycling from Campbellfield residential area to Campbellfield Plaza, it illuminates the problem that there is no safe route for cyclists.
  • As there is no provision made for Upfield shared use path to go under Camp Road, the only other option is for it to go alongside the railway on the service track, then a pedestrian crossing across the 4 lanes and two cycles lanes on Camp Road. Putting in pedestrian crossing lights would seem to remove part of the advantage of the Level Crossing Removal in periodically holding up traffic. It would be a nightmare to cross without pedestrian crossing lights. I would be pleased to find out how else planners propose that a shared use path can be installed in an easy, efficient and cost effective manner at this point.
  • The Level Crossing Removal Authority have used the space allocated for pedestrian/cyclist shared use on the rail bridge across the M80 ring road for electrical cabling ducts and cemented them into place. I would like to know how a shared use path can be installed easily and cost efficiently given the work undertaken by the Level Crossing Removal Authority in utilising this portion of the bridge seemingly ruining any prospect of it being used for a shared use path.
  • Developing infrastructure with poor access at Merri Creek Reserve: Note that that the Victorian State Government committed $1.7 million to develop visitor infrastructure, including 6km of new bike and walking paths, at Merri Creek Park in Campbellfield (Merri Gorge) in February 2017. But we are still to see any commitment to build important bicycle shared use paths in Campbellfield: the extension of Merri Creek Trail and Extension of the Upfield bike path to Barry Road at Upfield.
  • Melbourne is growing in population. Cycling infrastructure, as well as mass transit, needs to be expanded into the middle and outer suburbs to enable residents of these suburbs to choose to use recreational or commuter cycling which has positive emissions reduction and health benefits at a societal level. Extending the Upfield path could provide a convenient cycle commuter route for some Hume residents to Moreland and the city.

I did a site inspection of the Camp Road bridge and rail bridge across the M80 on February 6, 2018. I immediately reported the issue to the Level Crossing Removal Authority by phone, an email to Frank Maguire (MP for Broadmeadows) office, Samantha Ratnam as my legislative Council MP.

I am still waiting responses from the Level Crossing Removal Authority project team. I was told a member of the Level Crossing Removal Project team would get back to me within a week. There has been no response after 20 days.

I followed up my initial email to Frank Maguire MP (Broadmeadows) in person at his office on Friday 23 Feb, but other than acknowledgement that my issue has been registered I have received no further feedback from his office.

I am sure there is going to be more to this story…stay tuned.

Photos from site visit on February 6, 2018

Plastic Flower Protest at McBryde street toxic site

Residents of Fawkner gathered on Sunday for a public meeting to discuss the toxic legacy site at 100 and 102 McBryde street and the surrounds. The meeting was held at Fawkner Public School, kindly provided by the school principal.

A development application to erect warehouses at 102 McBryde street is currently before Moreland Council Urban Planning Committee. A Council Officer proposed motion was given to Councillors an hour before the last Urban Planning Committee meeting. As this is a contentious issue Councillors voted to defer a decision on this application to September.
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Exploring Merlynston Creek from source to confluence

National Boulevard Nature Reserve - 100 photos of Merlynston Creek

In May and June I spent some time cycling along Merlynston creek on several trips, exploring some of it’s secrets. Merlynston Creek is about 11 kilometres long from it’s source in an industrial area in northern Campbellfield, just a little north of the Ford Broadmeadows plant, to it’s confluence with the Merri Creek just north of Coburg Lake.

Merlynston Creek intrigued me. The creek, in it’s passage through Fawkner Cemetery, could be considered Fawkner’s natural geographical western boundary.
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Upgrade for Merri Creek Park at Campbellfield while connecting cycling paths remain missing

Panorama of Merri Creek and Merri Gorge, Campbellfield

The State Government announced $1.7 million upgrade to develop visitor infrastructure, including 6km of new bike and walking paths, at Merri Creek Park in Campbellfield. But we are still to see any commitment to build important bicycle shared use paths in Campbellfield: the extension of Merri Creek Trail and Extension of the Upfield bike path to Barry Road at Upfield.

The Money for the Merri Creek Park facilities comes from the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) fund. The 6 km of new paths will improve some community access to the 650 hectare green space in Campbellfield, which hosts nationally significant native grasslands. It is a real pity there is no public commitment from state MPs to fund the missing links that would help connect the park and local residential suburbs.

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Wills Candidates sign Australian Conservation Foundation pledge

ACF-campaign-leaflets

Three of the ten candidates standing for the Wills Federal electorate have signed the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) pledge: Samantha Ratnam (The Greens), Camille Sydow (Animal Justice Party) and Zane Alcorn (Socialist Alliance). This pledge is an undertaking that if elected they will:

  • Support Clean Energy. Transitioning Australia to 100 percent clean energy.
  • Cut Pollution. Moving to zero net climate pollution before 2050 and closing dirty coal burning power stations.
  • Protect our reefs, rivers, forests and wildlife. Supporting a strong set of laws and institutions to improve biodiversity and regulate pollution.

Other candidates have taken away the pledge card to consider but have not yet committed. These include: Peter Khalil (Labor), Will Fulgenzi (Socialist Equality), Tristram Chellow (Sex Party).

This is an important pledge as it contains commitments to phase out polluting coal and increase renewable energy to 100 percent, to transition to a zero carbon economy before 2050, and to protect our forests, rivers and reefs. All these are essential if we are to meet out international climate commitments of the Paris Agreement.

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August food swap plants some fruit trees

planting our fruit trees

planting our fruit trees

Our small orchard was planted today comprising apple and plum trees in our community garden.

We also enjoyed leftover Ferguson Plarre cake donated to the Empowering Moreland Forum plus fresh coffee and tea and sharing winter produce, mainly winter greens and lemons.

Victoria brought along some exquisite sticky date pudding with warm caramel sauce that simply melted our tastebuds.
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‘One person’s rubbish is another person’s riches’ Photo Competition

SusFawkner-recycled-wheelbarrowSustainable Fawkner want pictures of your proudest recycling moment, hard-rubbish treasures and re-purposed trash. Be eligible to win suitably sustainable prizes!

You can load them on our Facebook events page

or email to sustainablefawkner@yahoo.com.au

Hard copies can also be received at Fawkner Community House, CB Smith Reserve, Jukes Road, Fawkner

Photos will be exhibited and judged by popular vote at Fawkner Festa on 9th November & Fawkner Community House Community Market on 30th November.

Merri Creek Bird Survey November

bird of prey over Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Rd Grasslands)

A bird of prey over Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Rd Grasslands)

Fancy yourself a budding scientist? Or just enjoy a walk along Merri Creek parklands identifying the numerous bird species that live or frequent the area?

The November Merri Creek Bird Survey, the 4th survey for the year, will take place next Sunday 11 November, 8.45-10.30am. The survey is undertaken at several locations up and down Merri Creek, and at Lake Edwardes including at Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Road grasslands), Fawkner.

Come along. No need to book. Just turn up at 8.45am. Bring binoculars if you have them, a sunhat and closed-in shoes. Leave dogs at home.
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Merri Creek bird surveys 19 February Jukes Road grasslands

Sacred Kingfisher at Fawkner

Sacred Kingfisher at Fawkner logged in Nov 2011 birdsurvey

Come along to participate in the Merri Creek Bird survey. The next bird surveys along the Merri Creek and at Edwardes Lake will be held on Sunday 19 February, 8.45-10.30am.

Bring drinking water, and binoculars if you have them. Closed-in footwear and a sunhat would also be useful. No dogs, please. Be aware that snakes could be around.

In Fawkner: Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Road grasslands), Fawkner: Meet on Merri Path at end of Jukes Road, Fawkner (Melway 18 A2) at 8.45am.

The birds counted in the survey in November 2011 included a sacred kingfisher, red browed finch, black faced cuckoo shrike, New Holland Honeyeater and many more.

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