Tuesday, 05 October 2010
Roads: Gardiner station (Burke Road) level crossing
Mr O'BRIEN (Malvern) -- The matter I raise is for the attention of the Minister, and the action I seek is for the minister to take action to plan for and fund the grade separation of the railway level crossing on Burke Road, Glen Iris, at Gardiner station.
I raised the matter of level crossings in my electorate, including on Burke Road, on the adjournment in May 2008. In typical Labor government fashion, no meaningful action has occurred, yet as I and the many thousands of long-suffering motorists who use Burke Road can attest, the Brumby government's neglect has not made the problem disappear. In fact it has deteriorated.
The October 2010 edition of the RACV's (Royal Automotive Club of Victoria) magazine, RoyalAuto, lists the worst traffic bottlenecks in Victoria, based on an assessment of risk, traffic volumes, road function and connectivity.
The article notes that over 8000 nominations were received for traffic 'red spots'. The level crossing at Burke Road, Glen Iris, is listed as the fourth-worst in the entire state. The RACV states:
You say: long delays at the rail crossing and through traffic congestion. Peak times are the worst, although school pick-up time also features.
RACV says: This location is in the top red spots for the third time running. Trains crawl through the Burke Road crossing, creating long delays on Burke Road which regularly extend onto Monash Freeway. Boom gates stay down for up to 4 minutes to allow just two trains through. Minimising boom gate down times may help traffic flow. In the past two years there has been work to improve the operation of the traffic lights, but it hasn't been enough.
The article goes on to say:
... RACV believes an overpass or underpass is necessary.
Reporting on this finding the Stonnington Leader of 21 September noted this bottleneck had risen on the list from fifth-worst in 2008 to fourth-worst this year. The newspaper also reported:
In June, Stonnington Leader tested the Burke Road snarl. Our driver took 9 minutes to travel less than a kilometre over the crossing during evening peak hour and 11 minutes over the same distance about 8.35 a.m. on a Friday.
Between 8.00 a.m. and 9.02 a.m., the crossing boom gates were lowered for 25 minutes and 21 seconds while 16 trains passed through Gardiner station.
The government advised me that addressing this matter will cost $70 million to $90 million, but if the government had not wasted $400 million on a cost blow-out on the M1 upgrade, which went from $1 billion to $1.4 billion without one extra centimetre of roadway being laid, it would have the money to deal with this horrendous traffic snarl that is a daily reminder to the people of Malvern and surrounding suburbs of the incompetence of this government.