Fw: Mon.21.12.20 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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58 min UK tram documentary https://youtu.be/RgoINs8Yvi4

Mon.21.12.20 Metro Twitter
Buses replace trains between Laverton and Werribee until the last train of Sun.27.12  (level-crossing removal). 
In force until late 2021.  South Gippsland Highway, Dandenong South is reduced to one lane towards Cranbourne, as level-crossing work continues. Be alert for changes between Princes Hwy and Dandenong Bypass. See  http://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/disruptions/south-gippsland-highway-dandenong-south-changed-traffic-conditions
In force until December: On Princes Hwy (Dandenong, near South Gippsland Hwy, for level-crossing works) traffic is reduced to two lanes in both directions, with speed set at 60km/h. Merge with care. See http://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/disruptions/princes-highway-dandenong-south-changed-traffic-conditions
Buses replace trains Ringwood - Lilydale until the last train (level-crossing works).
If you're travelling on public transport in Victoria, facemasks are mandatory. Here's 5 Tips for travelling safely this Summer: https://ptovic.com.au/about-us/publications-media/news/5-ways-you-can-travel-safely-on-public-transport-as-victoria-heads-towards-covid-normal
18.03  Belgrave line: Major delays (an equipment fault near Ferntree Gully). Trains may terminate/originate at intermediate stations.
- 18.30 ongoing.
Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Williamstown from 20.25 until the last train (maintenance works).
Buses replace trains Dandenong - Pakenham from 20.30 until the last train (works).
Buses replace trains South Morang - Mernda from 20.50 until the last train (works).

Return to school: The serious health risk of using public transport April 26, 2020
* The real risk is the million students who use public transport to get to and from school, interacting with public transport staff, commuters and others in their journey. All it takes is for 10 of those million students to pick up COVID-19, to be asymptomatic and pass it onto staff at school, people they interact with on their journeys or their family and the curve rapidly spikes. Scott Morrison has spent too long in the Canberra bubble and needs to get out more and see how the rest of the country lives.
* Many forms of travel. Ben Groundwater says, "I need a boarding pass in my hand. I need a train ticket in my pocket" (Comment, 23/4). He is a travel writer so perhaps he has a set idea of what "travel" means. But under a simpler definition, we can travel any time we choose.
I went for an hour's run yesterday morning. I startled two wallabies, said "g'day" to a couple of cyclists and felt the temperature change as I climbed out of the valley. I felt joy as I surged over a crest, felt the sun on my face and saw the far hills. I felt sadness as I passed a fire smouldering in a driveway; someone's Anzac remembrance. To travel you need only head out your door. And just keep going – until you are ready to come back.

$100m Redfern station upgrade to start within weeks. Matt O'Sullivan December 17, 2020
A $100 million upgrade to the southern end of Redfern station aimed at improving access to train platforms will begin next month after the delayed project gained planning approval.
The project involves construction of a six-metre wide walkway over the rail lines, linking the eastern and western sides of the station at its southern end. New lifts and stairs will give commuters access to platforms one to 10, ensuring the station meets accessibility standards.
An artist's impression of the new footbridge and lifts at the southern end of Redfern station.CREDIT:NSW GOVERNMENT
The upgrade to one of Sydney's busiest stations will also include new and improved shared zones on the nearby Little Eveleigh and Marian streets, and increased parking for bicycles.
After about 18 months of planning, early preparation will begin over the Christmas holidays ahead of major construction of the southern concourse starting next month. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2022.
The upgrade is running later than the government's original plans, which had been for work to start in late 2019 and finished by the end of this year.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the southern concourse would significantly improve lift and stair access to platforms one to 10, especially for less mobile customers.
"The upgrade will not only mean easier access to the sixth busiest station on the network, but it will also future-proof Redfern station as the area grows," he said.
The planned Marian Street entrance on the eastern side of the station and shared zone.CREDIT:NSW GOVERNMENT
The Department of Planning gave formal approval for the southern concourse on Wednesday.
The upgrade is aimed at ensuring Redfern can handle more passengers and meets accessibility standards, after years of refusals by successive governments to upgrade the heritage-listed station. It will be funded from the state government's transport access program.
Transport for NSW is also investigating options for developing the land to the east of Redfern station, above the underground T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra lines. The investigations include improving access to platforms 11 and 12, which would make Redfern fully accessible.
Work on the shared zones in Marian and Little Eveleigh streets is due to start in the second half of next year.
The government's pre-COVID forecasts were for about 100,000 pedestrians to use the new southern concourse each day by 2036, due to a large increase in people living, working and studying nearby.
Redfern station had a lift installed in 2015 but it serves just two of its 12 platforms. A new entrance to the station on the corner of Gibbons and Lawson streets was opened in late 2018.
* $100m to improve platform access at one Railway Station is an absurd prioritisation of using taxpayer funds and quite unconsciable!
* Only concern is if they don’t cover the platforms; protecting people from the elements
* Looks good. Pity the same can't be said for what's happened so far to the block.
* So, 200 million and 2025... Any takers?
* love how they managed to miss the entirety of the COVID-19 induced downturn in passenger numbers and start this project just as things return to normal. Way to go on the fast tracking guys!
* Everything old is new again. In the 1970s there was such a bridge that used to link all platforms and the railway workshops at the southern end of Redfern station. I used to use it to go to uni. This walkway was demolished in the 1980s (or thereabouts) and never replaced.
* and about time
* The two new CBA buildings at Redfern (southern end) have been completed which means 15,000 additional workers in to the area. This upgrade is well overdue, shame it's going to take so long.
* hopefully there will be more shade than in the artist's rendition!
* I wish I lived in an artist's impression. They are always so much nicer than the real thing.
* In the 1970s and 80s there was a southern concourse. What happened to it?
* The upgrades to Redfern Station are way overdue. But what about the badly neglected suburban stations? The massive population growth in the inner west over the past 20 years has meant that the train stations are now servicing a vastly greater number of commuters, as well as other travellers. Stanmore Station has no mobility-impaired access at all and never has had. I have witnessed on numerous occasions over 25 years people with disabilities, parents with babies and toddlers in prams, elderly passengers, struggling up two very steep flights of stairs to get to the platforms. And Stanmore is just one of the many suburban stations with a similar problem. Does the Government have any plans to consider these stations for upgrades?
* Looks like they are not installing escalators...I dont know a new station in the world that doesn't install escalators. The design is so cheap and utilitarian, and just plain ugly to be honest. Where has our civic pride gone, or should people be shamed and forced to use stairs if they use public transport?
* Good to see such a complex improvement getting started. As for the air space above the rail lines, I think it's a shame that it isn't utilised more across Sydney. There are so many potential uses for it including motorways above the tracks. I believe the New York train network is fully funded from leasing the air space above its tracks.
* Two things missing from this. The government land agency lured Commonwealth Bank to move thousands of workers from Sydney Olympic Park to new buildings at the former Australian technology park, relocating them two years ago without having sorted out the transport solution of direct access to Redfern from their side. This project belatedly will solve that. But where was the developer contribution? Zero. Transport picks up the bill. Secondly, this project was meant to make up for the appalling call of not including a metro station under City Road for Sydney Uni. Every senior minister and bureaucrat bar one was in favour. Waterloo public housing redevelopment should have been served by a new station retrofitted to the T8 line. Expensive but very possible using techniques common elsewhere. And much cheaper than other unchecked parts of over-design of the transport portfolio at present. So the south-west metro line from Central to Bankstown will serve not one so-called trip generator till its terminus. Just housing. That’s a major breach of good transit practice. And so back to the future re Redfern. It will finally - again - have a southern exit that will lead to the 15 minute walk to the main uni campus.
* Thank goodness for working from home, crazy that this wasn't finished (or started) in time for the new office buildings in the area opening.
* Good. At least it's being delivered. Should have been done over a decade ago though
* Great news, though 6 metres wide walkway seems a little tight for a busy station. Probably fine when all trains are on time but if a significant event / delays occur, congestion might mean the walkway becomes difficult to navigate.

A public run of a new emu was deferred from Sun.13.12 to Sun.20.12: 8.24 ex Pakenham; via the loop; 11.24 ex Flinders St.

Police want overnight shutdown of new railway bridge over crime concerns. Angus Thompson December 20, 2020
Police want a major new railway bridge in central Sydney that has been touted as a connectivity boon for inner-city residents shut down overnight and to have locals use Opal cards to cross it.
A debate is being waged over whether to install barriers or Opal readers at entrances to the long-awaited, $100 million southern concourse at Redfern station. The infrastructure will give commuters, pedestrians and cyclists smoother access between the South Eveleigh technology precinct and the University of Sydney.
The planned Marian Street entrance to Redfern station on the southern side of the railway line.CREDIT:NSW GOVERNMENT
Several interest groups, including the university, have called for as little interference as possible in linking both sides of the railway line, as Transport for NSW seeks to pedestrianise Little Eveleigh Street, on the northern side, and Marian Street, on the southern side, where commuters will enter and exit.
But in a written submission to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, South Sydney Superintendent Andrew Holland said criminal issues around the hub, such as drugs, thefts and sexual assaults, were likely to continue, and recommended closing the bridge between 11pm and 5am daily.
He said the planned six-metre wide passageway, with lifts and stairways to each platform, should be made of transparent material "to allow complete visibility from inside out and outside in at all times."
Superintendent Holland recommended locals crossing the bridge only should tap on and off at each end.
"Opal cards should be issued to local residents with nil money value for this purpose during opening hours," he said in the June submission.
Advocacy group WalkSydney said in its submission the bridge should not be controlled by payment gates, nor should residents need an Opal card to cross, adding that raising issues of potential criminality was an “attempt to breed fear in the community”.
“Rest assured that criminals can get smart cards, too,” the submission said.
The university is also seeking open pedestrian access to the bridge between its campus, the South Eveleigh precinct and the future Waterloo metro station.
The state government has had an increased focus on pedestrianising Sydney, creating safe cycling routes and increasing access to public spaces as a response to the pandemic.
An artist's impression of the new footbridge and lifts at the southern end of Redfern station.CREDIT:TRANSPORT FOR NSW
In its response to submissions, a consultancy acting on behalf of Transport for NSW said the hours of operation would be determined by balancing community needs as well as the security of the station, but it would remain open between the first and last train of each day, which would be before 5am and after 11pm.
The consultancy said Transport for NSW was looking at options for barrier-free access across the concourse, “though this has to be balanced against the need to protect revenue (minimise fare evasion) and ensure safety and security for customers and staff.”
Following the project’s planning approval last week Transport for NSW committed to further design review regarding the barriers to the concourse. Work on the bridge is scheduled to begin next month. The upgrade is set to include shared zones on Little Eveleigh and Marian streets, and increased parking for bicycles.
RELATED ARTICLE An artist's impression of the new footbridge and lifts at the southern end of Redfern station. $100m Redfern train station upgrade to start within weeks
* It seems that for every one thing our government does to simplify city living, it adds three things to complicate it.
* This area should be open to permit free (and tag-less) transit across the station at street level. Open, bright, well lit and with the transit security guards using to access the train network from their office in Wilson Street I don’t see an issue. I think NSWPF have painted a bleak, worst case scenario, the people’s of Redfern and Darlington are much better than this.
* I gave up walking to Redfern station from Sydney Uni at night more than 20 y ago. Just too dangerous. I am a 130 kg bundle of fun.
* great idea. the bridge closure should be extended for 24 hours though. imagine that we would have a beautiful piece of infrastructure that is never used. Oh wait we already have one of those - the cross city tunnell.
* Again a security vs liberty issue. I’ll go liberty every time. The role of police shouldn’t interfere with any lawful activity. Preemptive policing like this means martial law. This should be laughed at. Given the location this request is probably (consciously or not) race based.
* Just play Mozart or even Baroque music peacefully along the path. There are some good reports / studies on how that reduces vandalism and other strife in 24 hr public toilets and other public places.
* Basically, this is an announcement by the Police that says "we can't stop the crime in the area so we need to restrict people going into the area". It's like gated communities in the US and also in the US "no go zones".
* [The consultancy said Transport for NSW was looking at options for barrier-free access across the concourse, “though this has to be balanced against the need to protect revenue (minimise fare evasion) and ensure safety and security for customers and staff.”] Elsewhere they have little concern for fare evasion, it is rife on the Western line; even the Police Transport Command patrols at stations take no interest in people waking through open barriers or jumping over gates. Why is it an issue at Redfern?
* No doubt there will be cameras galore in this new space, as there are in every other public space or space that the public frequent (stations, of course, are not 'public spaces' they are 'railway property') in Sydney, including from private properties surveilling public spaces. If the wallopers had their way we would all carry cards that would transmit signals to these cameras for rapid identification. Opal cards were sold as a convenience for travellers when really they are a convenient means of population surveillance. This suggestion takes that imposition one step further and is the stuff of 1984.
* Is it too much to ask the police to do foot patrols in the area as a way to reduce crime. And why are they not doing them now anyway.
* Why so difficult, complicated and involved? if it proves to be problem, patrol it. The cop shop is less than 100m away.
* we probably should have let the axis power win , then we wouldn't be having this conversation . everything should be as free and open as possible , in fact the overhead concourse should be bigger and wider so it can be properly policed and serviced . the railway precinct between Lawson St. and Erskineville road is like the harbour or a river , it needs crossings .
* Crime Prevention through Environmental Design has been around for decades. I’m assuming at least one person in the police and/or among the architects and/or the government is aware of its principles. Do a serious case study of the site to minimise crime.
* "Criminals can get smart cards too?" Not necessary as they usually just jump the barriers.
* The police need to be a bit more creative in their thinking. Having some criminals pass through a narrow bridge, full of security cameras, with very limited numbers of exit points, should present an opportunity, not a problem. I can't think of too many easier places to catch crims.
* "The state government has had an increased focus on pedestrianising Sydney, creating safe cycling routes and increasing access to public spaces as a response to the pandemic." Really? Not here in Stokesville, formerly St Peters!
* What about 24 hour fully staffed railway stations? Stations did have staff once, before the aversion to spending money on wages. The transport departments will tie themselves in knots trying to avoid employing more people.
* So the solution to crime is to stop victims using something as that solves it? I would have thought stationing more police in the area and on this bridge is more aligned to public expectations. Actually get out there and catch violent criminals instead of drivers who may be going 5kph faster than the speed limit.
* Criminal activity has been known to occur on Sydney's road network. Should that be closed too?
* Redfern police station is across the street.
* Just the type of policy you'd expect from the police. locks. "your papers please" Assume anyone out and about between 11 and 5 is a wrong 'un. Sydney started as a penal colony. Nothing much has really changed.
* Unfortunately, plenty of felons still abound.
* Cops really need to stay out of the communities business and enforce the law they're told to. That's their job, not lobbying.
* is it to be considered lobbying when police know what truly goes on around the place while we're tucked away safely in our cots? After all, they're the ones called out to cope with nasty stuff we don't want anything to do with
* Indeed - if there is a crime problem, fix the crime problem, don't lock up the community public spaces.
* The English disease of barrier entry to station precincts has long been a feature of NSW Railway operation. It does not exist in European railways where proof of payment applies (except on some metros). As for safety being improved by closure of the link at night cyclists will still represent a physical threat to pedestrians as they tear through the space at Tour De Sydney speed. The drug dealing will no doubt continue regardless in side streets.
* I doubt an honesty system would work in Sydney. You only have to look at how many ignore the "Sit Here" signs, don't tap on or off, put their feet on the seats, and refuse to wear masks. I commute to Redfern, and don't find the station area a haven for criminals. The police station is just across the road; why can't the police have a presence on the new concourse?
* the existing crossings of rail at Lawson St and Erskineville Rd belong in inner medieval London or similar.
* Barriers were up all over the New York subway when I was there and barriers do exist in Europe as you say on the Metro. (They don't exist in England on longer train trips in England). I believe you are mistaken to blame the English for barriers. What we need in Sydney is a more extensive underground. The tram farce has been a complete disaster. We should have underground trains, not a tram, going past UNSW and to Maroubra then Eastlakes. Bondi Junction should be extended so you don't have to take a train then a bus to go to the beach. And Australia, unlike the rest of the world, is completely redundant on high speed rail. In France, Spain and Japan their high speed rail was fantastic. We are far behind the rest of the world. Airlines absolutely gouge us on local domestic fares.
* Exactly. Crime, attacks, drug dealing, etc, will continue, just in another area. It won't magically disappear. The police should look at ways to actually stop it, rather than simply move it from one place to another.
* Agreed. How often do you have to walk an extra 100m to get to a gate because the rest of the platform is fenced off? In Sydney, all the time. Stations should be more open. Hire more people to check tickets on the trains and platforms.
* Just because you say it doesn’t make it true. I’m familiar with both the Paris and (non-European or English) Tokyo systems and both have barrier systems.

Scathing report exposes failures by Andrews, ministers and public servants. Clay Lucas December 21, 2020. 397 comments

Dec 21 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine and international travel: What it means for travellers. Michael Gebicki

Engineers to escape licensing rules owing to a 'very dangerous' loophole. Matt O'Sullivan December 21, 2020
The majority of engineers in NSW will be free to practise without registration well after regulations intended to bolster the quality of construction come into force in July next year.
A lack of progress in fully closing a loophole has sparked warnings that NSW will remain a "safe haven" for unqualified engineers to work on rail, road and other construction projects.
Professional engineers warn that the government has failed to close a "dangerous loophole". CREDIT:NICK MOIR
The state government accepted amendments from Labor and the Upper House crossbench in June requiring engineers across all sectors be registered in order to pass its building reform package.
But in a letter to a union representing professional engineers, Better Regulations Minister Kevin Anderson said the priority until early next year was to finalise regulation of engineers working on apartment buildings and related mixed-use buildings.
The government will consider the scope of a registration scheme for a broader range of engineers only after regulations for the Design and Building Practitioners Act come into force next July.
Deputy NSW Labor leader Yasmin Catley accused the government of flouting its new legal obligations and thumbing its nose at the Parliament.
"It's not good enough for the Minister to pick and choose which parts of the law he wants to follow. If he won't implement a full engineers registration scheme, the Premier should appoint a new Minister who will," she said.
The evacuation of the Opal Tower, in the foreground, two years ago due to cracking led to a shake up of building regulations. CREDIT:JANIE BARRETT
Queensland has had a registration system in place for years, while Victoria will begin to phase in a scheme covering structural, civil, electrical, mechanical and fire-safety engineering next July.
Professional Engineers Australia said the government's decision to ignore the passage of a broad registration law that covers all engineers was a "blatant betrayal" of the community.
The union's state director, Gordon Brock, said it meant a "very dangerous loophole" in NSW would remain that allowed anyone to call themselves an engineer.
"It's not just unqualified and unregistered engineers working on residential apartment buildings that we have to worry about," he said.
"With the huge pipeline of infrastructure projects being brought forward to stimulate the economy ... a failure to fix this issue now is a recipe for disaster."
The vast majority of engineers would not be covered by the registration scheme in the form proposed by the government and due to come into effect next July, he said.
While electricians, architects and plumbers must be licenced, Mr Brock said it was absurd that those who design and build road, rail, water and electricity networks did not have to be in NSW.
Mr Anderson said the decision to prioritise engineers working on apartment buildings was in direct response to recommendations of the Shergold Weir report into the building industry in 2018, and followed consultation across the wider engineering profession. "There have been no reported engineering failures on civil construction projects like roads and bridges in recent times," he said.
The building reforms that were passed in Parliament in June were aimed at avoiding repeats of Sydney's Mascot and Opal towers debacles, which sparked a NSW parliamentary inquiry into construction standards.
Mr Anderson said the government would look to identify and agree upon the scope of a broader registration scheme and a timeframe for implementation. "This may need to be staged depending on the size of the new scheme," he said.
Greens MP David Shoebridge, who chaired the inquiry into building standards, said NSW continued to lag Queensland and Victoria in acting to register a broad range of engineers.
“It makes no sense for a subset of the profession being registered, and the balance remaining in the wild west,” he said. “Surely the Minister is not proposing we wait for a number of incidents or failure in the civil construction sector before he acts.”
RELATED ARTICLE The NSW Building Commissioner has revealed an apartment tower in western Sydney, which he says is probably the worst he's inspected, compelled him to convince the state government to give him the powers to clean up the industry. Sydney's 'worst' apartment tower for defects forces industry shake-up
RELATED ARTICLE Apartment owner Adrian Shi. 'It's not fair': Sydney cladding crisis threatens to 'crush families' financially

Mon.21.12.20 Melbourne 'Herald Sun' Letters:
* ZILLIONS of dollars spent getting rid of the Mentone railway crossing. A workable roundabout replaced by traffic lights. We now get 10 sets of complex light changes each halfhour to just one train! Did anyone check the efficiency level? Oops.

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