Source: Stonnington Leader
STONNINGTON Council is looking to raise the bar on level crossing congestion, indicating it will lobby the State Government to end the peak-hour crush.
East Ward Cr Greg Hannan has asked council officers to prepare a report on local level crossings. Given the looming state election, the time was right to push for a funding promise to fix the situation, he said.
Cr Hannan expected the officers' report would take about a month to table in council, where it could then be used to explore ``options for advocacy''. The report would include the Glen Waverley line, which has four consecutive level crossings between Kooyong and Glen Iris stations.
Readers voted the Gardiner station level crossing on Burke Rd as Melbourne's fifth-worst congestion spot in the 2008 RACV-Leader Community Newspapers Redspot Survey.
Mayor Tim Smith said the present system of level crossings was ``bizarre and antiquated'' and caused serious disruption in the community.
``If the government was serious about relieving congestion, they should invest in fixing our level crossings, not simply extending clearways which is, at best, a Band-Aid solution,'' he said. The council's objections are in step with the views of Malvern state Liberal MP Michael O'Brien, who said he had raised the issue in Parliament in the past with no success.
But State Government spokesman Chris Owner said $440 million had been allocated in the Victorian Transport Plan to eliminate level crossings. ``Crossings to be eliminated will be considered depending on safety and road and rail volumes, and will be prioritised on a statewide basis,'' he said.