Update on Meeting with Peter Khalil, Council report on cycling and walking

Members of the Upfield Corridor Coalition met with Federal Labor MP for Wills on Friday 22 November 2019. He seemed genuinely interested in the issues and promised to bring up the community’s concerns around the station location, trees, cycling and pedestrian improvements with Minister Allan and Anthony Albanese.

We will continue to follow up with Mr. Khalil to ensure those conversations are being pursued.

Council reject’s community’s bike and ped proposals

Council recently completed a report into improved cycling and pedestrian outcomes as part of the LXRP, as directed by then Mayor Natalie Abboud. This has been circulated to the Community Advocacy Reference Group (CARG), which the UCC has been attending with other community groups.

The report is highly disappointing and of low quality. It rejects all of the community’s requests without reference to any data or additional information. Further, there are no images or attempts at alternative design proposals. Also, council officers have requested us to keep the report secret, as it is still in draft mode, so we can’t share it with you.

Finally, despite having months to produce the report, Council have provided the community less than 48 hours to provide comment. Obviously, it is difficult to obtain your feedback on a report which we’re not allowed to share with you. Feel free to send a reply email to us telling us if you support or reject Council’s recommendation.

Below is a brief summary of the report’s findings against UCC’s assessment.

Planning and heritage permits

Planning Minister Richard Wynn has just approved the heritage amendment to the Upfield Railway Precinct (State Register), which has added the old railway tracks on Colebrook Crescent, the Tinning St gates, and a few trees to the heritage overlay. So these will be protected.

Everything else, including the majority of trees in Gandolfo Gardens, are open to being chopped down/removed upon Richard Wynn’s discretion.

Conversations with onsite workers have confirmed that the LXRP will start chopping down the trees within weeks, probably just before Christmas time.

We’ll be in touch soon.

Next steps 

The next council meeting will be on Wednesday 11 November 7pm. We strongly urge members to come along and put pressure on our elected officials to do more advocacy for our community.

More detail on Council’s report 

Council verdict: rejected
UCC verdict: supported

Spurious arguments around property acquisition and poor transport integration are used to justify rejection, arguments which we believe are unfounded or untrue. Council did not even assess an alternative design provided by UCC months ago (see here) which would hang under the viaducts, require no property acquisition and produce no overlooking.

Pedestrian and cyclist bridges over Moreland Road and Bell Street
Council verdict: rejected
UCC verdict: supported

Council claims this would ‘disrupt the ground plane’ (does that mean there’ll be digging involved?), disruption to parks and stations. The LXRP are putting an 800 tonne train in the sky via a gigantic rail bridge. But they can’t incorporate a little bridge for bike riders and pedestrians?

Pedestrian and cyclist underpasses at Moreland Road and Bell Street
Council verdict: rejected
UCC verdict: not sure who’s even advocating for this?

Synchronised traffic lights with Sydney Road
Council verdict: supported
UCC verdict: unproven, unambitious

This is a vague promise discussed by Council and the LXRP. What it actually entails, no one really knows. There’s been no modelling or further info provided to the community on how cyclists and pedestrians will benefit from this. Also, is this the best Council can offer as part of a $460 million legacy project? Tinker with the traffic lights?

Prioritised signal crossings at Reynard St and Munro St
Council verdict: supported at Reynard St, rejected at Munro St
UCC verdict: supported at Reynard St and Munro St

Council have simply copied the LXRP’s position (again).

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