The State Government is undertaking a grade separation to remove the Buckley Street level crossing in Essendon.

This landmark project will have significant implications for the liveability of the growing Essendon Junction precinct and it is critical we get this once in a life-time opportunity right.

On 20 December 2016, Council endorsed a submission to the LXRA’s consultation on their preferred option of putting the road-under-rail at Buckley Street.

The community preferred rail-under-road solution:

  • Would lower the train line beneath Buckley Street and Mount Alexander Road under the existing rail corridor
  • Does not require any property acquisition
  • Would relocate and repurpose the existing heritage station and build a new underground station to meet the needs of the 21st century.
  • Provides the opportunity to develop the land above the rail line into a vibrant economic and community space.
  • Gives consideration to fixing the safety and connectivity issues around the Mount Alexander Road Junction.
  • Provides the opportunity to create an improved public transport interchange for people travelling to and from Essendon.
  • Allows pedestrians to move around the area easily and safely.
  • Provides for Disability Discrimination Act compliant tram and bus stops.
  • Is future proof and takes into account the needs of the whole Craigieburn rail corridor. PTV’s is proposing train service increases in the future which will see service frequency double during peak times, leaving Park Street and Puckle Street boom gates down for even greater periods than the current 78 minutes in the two hour morning peak.

In the long run, the train will need to run underground if our rail and roads are going to meet the needs of our growing city.

Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) preferred option – road-under-rail, will:

  • Stop 17 turns in and out of Buckley Street
  • A 385 Metre Trench Cutting in Buckley St – No Leslie Rd access to schools
  • Create “Rat Runs” and jammed up side streets
  • One lane only under the Railway line (east-bound on Buckley St)
  • Destroy Rose St business’ with one way only
  • Leave an ugly 3 metre high concrete wall 
  • Require potential property acquisition
  • Ignore the safety of 5000 school children

We are disappointed that the announcement of a preferred road-under-rail solution was made before the community was fully consulted and due consideration given to how they will be impacted.

We believe the rail-under-road option is short-sighted and will remove one traffic flow problem while creating many more.

The road-under-rail solution will create a divide between either side of Buckley Street from near Mt Alexander Road in the east to Violet Street in the west, preventing vehicles and pedestrians from crossing Buckley Street except at a short stretch of concourse near the railway line.

Who will be impacted by the proposed road-under option?

Local residents and visitors 
Access in and out of connecting streets will be restricted while some residential streets will become more congested as traffic diverts around the Buckley Street trench.

Rose Street traders
No right turn into Rose Street will mean shoppers will need to continue on Buckley Street until they can perform a u-turn 200 metres down the road. A proposal to relocate bus services into Rose Street will also result in the loss of valuable car parking spaces for shoppers.

Students 
With nine schools in the area and over 4,000 students within a 4 minute walk of Essendon Junction, safety and connectivity is a major concern. Parents doing the pick-up and drop-off for Lowther Hall and St Columba’s College will be affected with access to Leslie Street restricted and bus services impacted.

Public transport users 
Safely and easily moving between train, tram and bus services will become even harder. The restrictions on vehicle movements in and out of local streets has implications for a number of bus services including the 903 and 475.

Pedestrians will be unable to cross from one side of Buckley Street to the other between Lorraine Street and Mt Alexander Road except near the railway line.

What are we advocating for?

  • Our community should be given a meaningful voice in the decision making process.
  • The impacts on the whole precinct must be considered to ensure the project is cost-effective.
  • Fair consideration should be given to an underground rail solution along the existing track which would not require any property acquisition
  • The solution needs to consider the whole rail corridor as any future train service increase will lead to bottlenecks at the level crossings at Puckle Street and Park Street.
  • Attention must be given to how we fix the safety and connectivity issues around the Mount Alexander Road Junction.

Council submission to the LXRA

At its 20 December 2016 meeting, Council endorsed the submission (pdf, 890KB) to the LXRA’s consultation on their preferred option of putting the road-under rail at Buckley Street.

They also resolved to write to the Chief Executive, Level Crossing Removal Authority asking them to investigate our preferred option of rail-under-road that does not require property acquisition, and to provide further justification of why their road-under-rail design was identified as the preferred option at this early stage.
In their submission, they reaffirmed the need for a precinct-wide solution which addresses the safety and connectivity issues in the area and embrace the opportunities presented by the level crossing removal.

As a community, we want to take it further and make sure our voice is heard.  Click here to find out how you can support your local community.