Tag Archives: Campbellfield

VicRoads have no plans to extend Upfield Bike Path to Barry Road

Someone with a sense of sign humour at railway bridge

Arising from letters I sent in August, I have had a response from a policy advisor from the office of the Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan dated 18 August 2017 regarding the Upfield Bike Path extension, and it’s not good. There are no plans by VicRoads to extend the Upfield bike path past the M80 ring road, this is despite the dangerous nature of Sydney Road for cyclists through Campbellfield.

Hume Council at their August Council meeting also advocated for VicRoads to build the Upfield bikepath extension.
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EPA acts on Salsa spill at Campbellfield

While Fawkner residents still have unanswered questions with the EPA over the Fawkner toxic site, a recent spill in Campbellfield was promptly acted upon by the EPA.

A spill of tomato salsa from Baxters Foods Australia P/L, of Jesica Road, Campbellfield into a drain that connects with Merri Creek brought prompt action of a fine issued for $7773 and a notice and a legally enforceable instruction to the company to modify and install controls to ensure waste from the site is not able to enter the soil or stormwater.
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Hume Council wants Upfield Bikepath Extension as part of Camp Road level crossing removal

Excerpt from Hume Council walking and Cycling Strategy Action Plan 2010-2015

The Upfield bike path, a shared use path that thousands of cyclists and pedestrians use every day, strangely doesn’t go all the way to Upfield. In fact it doesn’t exist, except as a poor dirt track in places beside the railway line, within Hume municipality. But Hume Council is now on board to make this path happen. Will the Labor State Government come to the party?

The bike path currently finishes at Box Forest Road in Fawkner.

Extending the path up to Barry Road and Upfield station during the Camp Road level crossing removal would make a great deal of sense, opening up to many Hume municipality residents and cyclists a safe route to Brunswick, Coburg and the Melbourne CBD.
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Upfield rail line needs upgrading during Camp Rd level crossing removal

Looking north up the railway line at Camp Rd Level Crossing

The state government will be proceeding with the Camp Road level crossing removal commencing later this year, with the crossing removed by early 2018. Now is an ideal time to push for track duplication from Gowrie to Upfield and extension of the Upfield Bike Path to Barry Road.

When construction starts, services on the Upfield line can be expected to terminate at Gowrie station, with a bus service to Upfield replacing the train. There is no estimate for when or how long the disruption might take. While service is disrupted would be an ideal time to actually upgrade and improve the rail line and associated bike path.
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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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Consultation on Camp Road Level Crossing Removal (implications for Upfield bike path)

Looking north up the railway line at Camp Rd Level Crossing

Loomking north up the railway line at Camp Rd Level Crossing

Today I went on a scouting trip along the Upfield railway line to Camp Road, the site of a level crossing removal to start in the later part of 2017 and be completed by 2019.

I have come to the conclusion:

The Upgrade of the Camp Road level crossing needs to include either a tunnel for cyclists as part of the railway in trench design, or pedestrian lights to allow cyclists to cross Camp Road in safety.

The consultation and community engagement is at The Meadows Greyhound Racing track.

  • Monday 6 February 2017, 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The Meadows, 80 Northcorp Boulevard, Broadmeadows.
  • Saturday 11 February 2017, 10:00am to 12 noon. The Meadows, 80 Northcorp Boulevard, Broadmeadows

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Level Crossing Removal at Camp Road Campbellfield should incorporate Upfield path extension

Sydney RD and M80 intersection. Photo from Western Ring Rd path

Sydney RD and M80 intersection. Photo from Western Ring Rd path

I understand the the Victorian Government has brought forward 11 level crossing removals, two of which – Buckley Street in Essendon and Camp Road in Campbellfield – will be fast-tracked with work commencing next year and complete by 2019.

Camp Rd railway level crossing is just 300 metres along the road from the Campbellfield shopping centre. It is this Level Crossing upgrade which concerns me the most here.

The 11 level crossings have been split into two packages with both now out to tender, according to this report in Urban Melbourne. My check of the Level Crossings removal website shows the Upfield line crossing removals as at 27 September, 2016 are currently under tender.

The “North Western” package has five sites. As well as the two fast-tracked projects, the package includes Glenroy Road in Glenroy, Bell Street in Coburg and Moreland Road in Brunswick.

The Upfield shared bike path parallels the Upfield railway line. It provides a relatively safe off-street bike path running down the spine of the municipality of Moreland. It connects people in Moreland with local schools, shops and businesses, and links with the Capital City trail in the south and routes into the Melbourne CBD.

But the problem in the north is the gap connecting shared bike paths: the Upfield path stops at Box Forest Road and does not connect to the Western Ring Road Path that borders the northern boundary of the municipality.

For those Fawkner residents wanting to shop by bicycle at Campbellfield there are presently two options: attempting to brave the horror of the Sydney Rd and Western Ring Road intersection, or the pedestrian bridge over the Western Ring Road a 100 metres east of this intersection. If you take the Pedestrian bridge, then once across Mahoney’s Rd at the Pedestrian lights there is a problem of lack of a path to cycle to the Campbellfield Plaza.

Upgrading level crossings at Moreland Road, Bell Street and Camp Road is an opportunity to also clear bottlenecks and give priority to the increase in cycling in the municipality.

I believe the Munro Street crossing may be included when the Bell Street Crossing is upgraded. (This needs to be verified)

The level crossing at Camp Road especially, needs to incorporate facility for cyclists to cross, and have the shared path extended down to Box Forest Road. This is important as the intersection of Sydney Road and Western Ring Road is simply not safe for cyclists to navigate across. VicRoads have provided no on-road or off-road facility for cycling through this intersection.

Extending the Upfield shared Bike path could connect with a path to the Campbellfield shops providing a safe route to cycle north for people from Hadfield and Fawkner and further afield.

The railway bridge across the Western Ring Road was built with a capacity to take a second railway line and also with enough space for a shared path to extend the Upfield Bike path further north.

But it is imperative that level crossing removal at Camp Street should also include works incorporating a cycle crossing.

Now is also the time the State Government should join City of Moreland and City of Hume in extending the Upfield shared bike path at least up to Camp road with a vision of extending it further north and incorporate a short path to the Campbellfield shopping plaza.

Providing off-road cycling facilities is a sure way to get more people cycling more often. It makes our communities more sustainable, and more climate friendly, while providing health benefits to individuals and society as a whole.

Outer suburbs like Fawkner, Hadfield and Campbellfield need cycle friendly infrastructure just as much as inner suburbs. Indeed, because there is more of a culture built around roads and the car, it can be argued more cycling infrastructure might be needed in these suburbs to get people transitioning to lower emission transport and to change transport behaviours.

There are other problems for cyclists from Fawkner, especially in the northern end around Anderson Rd, in finding a safe route to access the existing Upfield Path. These perhaps need to be considered in depth at Council and Vicroads level for resolution. For middle Fawkner the footpath on the western side of Sydney Rd next to the cenetery really needs to be declared a shared path, as Sydney Road has a speed limit of 70km per hour and is unsafe to cycle on, to access the Upfield path.

So how about better bike facilities and extending the Upfield bike path further as part of the Camp Road Level Crossing Removal, Frank Maguire (Facebook), Member for Broadmeadows, and Lizzie Blandthorn (facebook), Member for Pascoe Vale?

Horror intersection for cyclists

Horror intersection for cyclists

Time to Extend Route 19 tram to Fawkner and Campbellfield #vicvotes

Extending the No 19 tramline to Gowrie Station in Fawkner has been proposed by the Greens this election. It is part of an initiative to fill missing tram links amounting to an extra 56 kilometres around Melbourne at a cost of about $840 million.

Rather than trams terminating midway between focal points, it is suggested they be extended to meet train stations or shopping centres to improve their functionality and intermodal usefulness.

The proposal for adding a number of tram extensions to the network is not new. The Public Transport Users Association have had plans for several years which they continue urging policymakers to adopt. The Greens proposal for 17 tram line extensions totalling an extra 56 kms was initially unveiled in July 2014.

The Greens also advocate the purchase of another 50 locally built E-Class trams to also alleviate some of the pressure on Melbourne overcrowded trams, especially in the northern suburbs. The Greens cost the extensions at about $15 million per kilometre as against the cost of $1 billion per kilometre for East West Link. Some have raised ‘Can the Greens tram plan be taken seriously?‘ (Alan Davies, Crikey) yet public transport commentator Daniel Bowen argues that Tram extensions: Not as expensive as some claim.

Other than the Route 19 tram, the Route 112 tram extension along Gilbert Road to Edwardes Lake Park, then up Edwardes street to terminate at Reservoir Station also makes a lot of sense to me enhancing intermodal connections. The other routes I’ll leave to others to discuss the merits of.

You can read the Greens tram initiative, routes and maps yourself.

What I want to talk about further is extending the No 19 tramline to, and perhaps past, Fawkner.

Route 19 Tramline extension

The Greens proposal for Route 19 involves extending the tram track up the middle of Sydney Rd to Fawkner Shops (via Gowrie Station). The map seems to indicate it would terminate in the centre of the road near Gowrie Station rather than actually connect to the Fawkner shops in Bonwick street. Taking the tram tracks down Jukes Rd might be a little problematic.

Greens-proposed-tram-extn-Route-19

I would not stop this extension at Gowrie but continue it further across the Western Ring Road and Mahoneys Rd to the Campbellfield shopping centre precinct. This makes enormous sense and provides better public transport and pedestrian access from Fawkner to the Campbellfield shops and avoids the morass of bitumen and cars on the Sydney Road intersections with Western Ring Road and Mahoneys Road (a real nightmare when on foot)

That strip of Sydney Road in Fawkner also features several motels catering to visitors to Melbourne, including the Meadow Inn Hotel-Motel, Hume Villa Motor Inn, Ibis Budget Fawkner, and the Fawkner Star Motel. A tram line on Sydney Road would encourage those visitors to leave their cars in motel car parks to catch the tram to Coburg, Brunswick or even into the city or to the Campbellfield shopping Centre.

The population of Fawkner and Hadfield are also increasing with more medium density sub-development so the tram extension would also cater to this population growth.

Upfield rail line needs upgrading to allow increased services

The railway Stations of Gowrie and Fawkner provide a wide catchment, with many people driving and a few cycling to these stations to commute to work.

The Upfield rail line is already operating at near capacity during peak periods with an increased frequency on this rail line overdue. There is a case for duplication of the track to Craigieburn and electrification from Upfield to Craigieburn to close a loop and enable more freqent service.

Upfield train approaching Gowrie Station

Greens candidate for Brunswick Tim Read suggested at the Moreland Transport forum that the duplication of the Upfield line past Gowrie and possible electrification of the existing track to Craigieburn would close a transport loop to Craigieburn and allow greater capacity and frequency of services on the Upfield Line. He was the only candidate at this forum to raise this potential.

The extension of the Sydney Road tram to Campbellfield would make a real difference in alleviating pressure on the capacity of the rail service to meet peak demand, while increasing public transport patronage.

Trams are especially efficient for smaller journeys and this tramline extension would help connect those living in Fawkner and Hadfield to other urban focal points in Campbellfield, Coburg and Brunswick.

Intermodal connection with High Speed Rail at Campbellfield

The tram extension to Campbellfield would also be a useful intermodal connection to the proposed Melbourne North station at Campbellfield on the preferred High Speed Railway alignment that uses the Upfield rail alignment (underground from Gowrie to Southern Cross). (See High Speed Rail – Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – Chapter 4 on Alignment and station locations)

There are those who say this tramline duplicates the Upfield rail service, yet both services are popular and well used. It is likely any extension would increase public transport patronage.

The Northern suburbs of Moreland could sure do with a little bit more public transport infrastructure.