It seems ridiculous that escalators have not been included in the concept design for the new elevated stations of Moreland and Coburg. It is even more ironical given the history of escalators being included for elevated stations on the Caufield-Dandenong line.
Moreland Council and community groups have called for escalators to be installed at both Moreland and Coburg station.
But so far escalators haven’t been included in the station concept plans.
No escalators were originally planned for the Caulfield-Dandenong line elevated stations, but local MP Steve Dimopolous (ALP) campaigned successfully to have escalators included at Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Hughesdale, Clayton and Noble Park.
“I think it is vitally important that when we are building state-of-the-art infrastructure we make it the best it can be. I know that commuters in my community would very much appreciate escalators as well as stairs at all access points to the station platforms. I thank the minister for her commitment to removing the crossings and appreciate her working very hard with me and my community to get the absolute best outcome, because I know she believes in this project.” said Mr Dimopoulos in a speech in parliament on March 24, 2016.
Why aren’t Moreland and COBURG getting escalators?
Why isn’t our local MP Lizzie Blandthorn using her influence as a member of the government, like Mr Dimopolous, to get escalators at the proposed new stations?
We would like to imagine our MP Lizzie Blandthorn to be able to take a similar photo opportunity at Coburg station to this photo by Steve Dimopoulos:
One reason given by an LXRP staff member at the drop in consultation was that the height was too great, but this was a fanciful excuse, when the CD9 station platforms are a similar height.
Moreland’s population is growing, particularly in Coburg with Pentridge Towers development nearby and future development of Coburg Town Square. At the very least, escalators should be installed during construction at the new Coburg Station, and provision for future escalators at Moreland Station.
“The 2019 population forecast for Coburg is 29,907, and is forecast to grow to 37,407 by 2036”, a 25.08 per cent increase between 2019 and 2036. – according to population forecasts
Eventually, frequency of the train service on the Upfield Line will also be increased, at least if our colleagues in the Upfield Transport Alliance are effective in their campaign to upgrade and extend the Upfield line to Craigieburn and Wallan.
Available statistics on station patronage ranking are fairly old (2013-14), but indicate clearly that Coburg station, ranked at 88, is comparable to other new elevated stations in which escalators, as well as lifts, were included. It is likely that patronage has increased markedly on the Upfield Line since these statistics, and the future trend portends further growth in station patronage.1
The cheapest time for the State Government to include strategies to ‘Future Proof’ the Upfield line is when the line is being reconstructed. Trying to save pennies now is adding a potential burden to Victorian tax payers.
The need for public toilet facilities at Moreland Station
The new Coburg station will have public toilet facilities, but the present station concept plans show no provision of public toilets at the new Moreland Station.
There is a dearth of public toilet facilities in the vicinity of Moreland Station. A check of the National Public Toilet Map for Coburg shows the closest public toilets at Warr Park on Albion Street, and Robinson Reserve on Reynard street.
The existing heritage listed Moreland station building has toilet facilities but they remain locked up 24/7.
The renewal of the parklands and provision of a new station should provide the impetus for refurbishing and opening the toilet facilities in the old station building for public use.
The Moreland Reserves, including Gandolfo Gardens, are an important local park, used by parents with small children and families, as well as older people who may suffer incontinence issues. Toilet facilities are an important public community amenity.
The heritage listed Moreland Station building has already been earmarked as a PSO office space on the Upfield line.
1. Infrastructure Victoria, April 2019 – SGS – Economic, social and environmental profile Northern Metro Region – April 2019 http://www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/SGS-Economic-social-and-environmental-profile-Northern-Metro-Region-April-2019.pdf