Fw: Tues.19.7.22 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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Tues.19.7.22 Metro Twitter
Flinders St: still with a lane closed for tunnel works? [reopened by July?  Closed again by Nov.]
Campbell Arcade (Flinders St station) is closed until 2024. The exit from the Myki gates within the subway will  also be closed. No pedestrian access between the arcade & Flinders St. Use Elizabeth & Swanston St entry/exits. Platform  interchange via that subway will be available until mid 2022.
Mernda line: Trains will run to an altered timetable until Sep 2022 (works).  Trains operate on a single track Thornbury - Regent, and trains will not stop at Bell or Preston.  Shuttle buses operate Thornbury - Bell - Preston - Regent - Reservoir. No access to station facilities during this time.
Buses replace trains on sections of the Lilydale & Belgrave lines until the last train of Sun 24 Jul (works).
Frankston line: Trains will run to an altered timetable until late Aug 2022 (works). Trains will stop at all stations Caulfield - Cheltenham in both directions, all day.
Heading to the Manchester United vs Crystal Palace game tonight? Let's go with PT. They'll be extra train and tram services to help you get to and from MCG. 
The dangerous level crossing at Ferguson Street is gone for good  The new North Williamstown Station is open  We've upgraded the precinct for the community to enjoy.
15.36 Pakenham/Cranbourne lines: Major delays (a trespasser near Dandenong).  Trains are being held.
- 15.52 clearing.  Trains are resuming, but may travel at lower than regular speeds.
16.25 Lilydale line: Major delays (police near Mooroolbark).
- 16.34 Buses replace trains between Mooroolbark and Lilydale.  Buses ordered, but will take 60 minutes to arrive.  Try alternative transport.
- 16.54 Buses will take 45 minutes to arrive.
- 17.05 Trains to resume, with major delays.
19.27 Frankston line: Major delays (an equipment fault near Patterson). 
Buses replace trains Ringwood - Belgrave from 20.00 until the last train (staff unavailability).  Buses also replace trains Camberwell - Box Hill (works).  Both add travel time. 
Pakenham/Cranbourne lines: Buses replace trains Caulfield - Westall from 20.30 until the last train (works).
22.20 All entrances to Jolimont and Richmond are open for soccer return traffic. [usual recommended gates for routes]

Here’s why we must build the Suburban Rail Loop now.  Frankie Carroll CEO of Suburban Rail Loop Authority July 15, 2022
The Suburban Rail Loop is designed to improve travel times, reduce traffic congestion and provide ease of access to key venues including the airport, hospitals, shopping centres and the regions.
It is the biggest infrastructure project in Victoria’s history.
But there has been some disturbing commentary from this masthead and a couple of high-profile think tanks – the same groups who regularly call for innovative and long-term thinking to address Melbourne’s growth challenges and who call for greater investment in infrastructure.
Premier Daniel Andrews attends as ground is broken on the Suburban Rail Loop project in early June.CREDIT:AAP
It is criticism from the same observers who lament short-term planning and demand ideas that rise above the political cycle.
We want the loop to be the gold standard for each and every community it passes through, and we are working with councils, stakeholders and locals to get that right.
It’s a big and complex project and we are consulting widely, but you cannot delay building it.
Sure, migration has experienced a COVID-induced pause, but this is temporary. Victoria will be growing again at breakneck speed before you know it, and the experts are telling us Melbourne will surpass Sydney as the biggest city in Australia in just a couple of years.
By 2050, we’ll be a city of nine million people – the size of London today.
Transport and cities program director at Grattan Institute
Despite this government’s record investment in roads, rail and level crossing removals, it’ll be a never-ending cycle of catch-up unless we pursue this major project to recalibrate how we grow in the decades ahead.
Just like London, and many other great cities of the world, Melbourne needs to become a “city of centres” if it is to grow sustainably while preserving all that we love about it.
This won’t happen on its own. We need to plan for it. We need to get ahead of it.
Here’s where the Suburban Rail Loop comes in.
A turn-up-and-go train service from Cheltenham to Werribee that connects with the existing radial rail lines and regional services. The wheel on Melbourne’s existing hub and spokes. It connects what will be the fastest growing centres of jobs, tertiary education, major hospital and research centres, and Melbourne airport.
The Suburban Rail Loop will shift an extraordinary number of motorists off our roads. By the time it has been delivered from Cheltenham to Melbourne Airport, there’ll be around 600,000 fewer daily car trips as more people choose public transport.
An artist’s impression of one of the new loop stations.
And jobs for our kids. The Suburban Rail Loop is a job creator like nothing Melbourne has ever seen. And I’m not just talking about the hard hats and high vis.
The delivery of fast, efficient transport and new underground loop stations will be a catalyst for investment, development, and new business opportunities in the suburbs. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be clustered around the new stations in the middle corridor of Melbourne – giving people access to diverse employment opportunities nearer to where they live.
By the 2050s, the number of jobs in Suburban Rail Loop precincts (about a 1.6-kilometre radius around each of the train stations) will be roughly the same as in the central city today.
For once, we won’t be playing catch-up – we’ll be getting ahead of the curve.
Just weeks ago, Infrastructure Australia put the Suburban Rail Loop on its Priority List, recognising that an orbital rail line with investment in the surrounding communities would support Melbourne’s growth for the future.
We’ll be working with them in the coming months to complete the assessment of the project.
The business and investment case released last year clearly showed that Suburban Rail Loop is a project which stacks up. It will deliver nearly $60 billion in economic, social and environmental benefits to the state and provides between $1.10 and $1.70 for every dollar invested.
We expect the community to speak their minds and drive us towards the best passenger and neighbourhood outcomes possible. We have an enormous responsibility to get this right.
That’s why we’ve been listening throughout the Environment Effects Statement process and taking feedback on board. It’s why we’re working to deliver more direct connections to existing stations – meaning passengers won’t have to touch off and on again at Box Hill, Glen Waverley, Clayton and Cheltenham to change trains. Councils and others are aware of this commitment.
We have a golden opportunity to set Melbourne up for the future. Create a world-class public transport system people will want to use.
A chance to thoughtfully plan how we’ll make these neighbourhoods ready for the families and businesses that will want to live near loop stations. A chance to plan new and improved open spaces, walking and cycling paths, and increase quality, affordable housing options.
Construction on the Suburban Rail Loop started last month – the first excavators and boots are on the ground in Clayton. Our progress will steadily ramp up as we pave the way for tunnel boring machines to dig from Cheltenham to Box Hill on the first leg of the loop.
No matter where you live in Victoria and no matter what you love most about this city and state, this project is for you and those who’ll come after you.
RELATED ARTICLE Commuters face a disjointed connection between Box Hill station (pictured) and the new loop line. Suburban Rail Loop’s latest woes another reason to hit pause
RELATED ARTICLE Premier Daniel Andrews and Transport Minister Jacinta Allan unveiling the planned Suburban Rail Loop just before the 2018 election. No time like the present for a rethink of the Suburban Rail Loop
* The primary issue is that the SRL should not have priority over MM2/East West Rail, joining Mernda Line to the growth corridor of the western suburbs. It creates a central city service linking east and west suburbs to both each other and with city uni & health precincts, a certain financial success with the additional benefit of removing thousands of vehicle journeys and reducing emmIssions. East West Rail is critical for metropolitan and regional Victoria, via Sunshine Superhub. The SRL is needed, but the EWR is the priority for economic and social reasons and needed now.
* We’ll grow by 4 million people, but the loop will ensure 600,000 fewer car trips… regardless of how many cars will be taken off the road by the loop, how many car trips will be added by having such an enormous population?
* Great concept. The hub and spoke system makes trains to the CBD very crowded. I live in Heidelberg and worked until recently at Sunshine hospital. To get a train to work I would have had to go into the city and back out on a different line. Therefore I always drove via the ring road. Also a great forward thinking project at its planning stage. I would love to be able to get the train to the airport like other cities do
* some interesting articles on Suburban Rail Loop Project. All the articles are from The Age in July 2022. They are definitely worth a read.
"Go West: Experts in call to drop Suburban Rail Loop for ‘more urgent’ projects" The Age - Patrick Hatch July 12, 2022 https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/go-west-experts-in-call-to-drop-suburban-rail-loop-for-more-urgent-projects-20220708-p5b05u.html
"Suburban Rail Loop’s latest woes another reason to hit pause" Marion Terrill - Transport and cities program director at Grattan Institute The Age July 5, 2022 https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/suburban-rail-loop-s-latest-woes-another-reason-to-hit-pause-20220704-p5ayu3.html
"Mayors demand rethink on Suburban Rail Loop plans" The Age - Patrick Hatch July 4, 2022  https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/mayors-demand-rethink-on-suburban-rail-loop-plans-20220630-p5axvp.html
* "Suburban Rail Loop is not only the largest, but also one of the least scrutinised projects in recent Australian history. The project did not appear on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list. It wasn’t in the state government’s ‘Plan Melbourne’ blueprint. Infrastructure Victoria did not recommend the project and was not consulted before the government’s announcement. Neither was cabinet, nor the Department of Transport." Marion Terrill Transport and cities program director at Grattan Institute. The Age 5 July 2022
* Suburban Rail Loop “worst transport project Melbourne has ever seen”" Inside Story - Tim Colebatch 25 Nov 2020 Excerpt…
"includes the government’s commitment to build the worst transport project Melbourne has ever seen: the so-called Suburban Rail Loop, in reality a twenty-six kilometre tunnel under the middle southeastern suburbs from Cheltenham to Box Hill. Tunnels eat money, and the demand for this one is likely to be small. No business case has been produced, and no cost–benefit analysis, but it will cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars" https://insidestory.org.au/stimulus-and-more-for-victoria/
* Australia, "The Lucky Country", has about the same level of combined debt as Sri Lanka had just before that economy turned sour - https://digitalfinanceanalytics.com/blog/australia-at-risk-of-sri-lankan-chaos-revolution/ And by 2050, will we have a reasonable climate in Victoria? That is doubtful when the appalling lack of progress on the mitigation of Climate Change is taken into account This project is very unlikely to be completed Even planning in Victoria for the predicted rise in sea level seems to have been placed to one side For instance, the Docklands area will be in difficulty with flooding within decades Eventually, it will have to be abandoned With both the negative effects of Climate Change and an economy becoming wobbly owing to our habit of whooping it up with money borrowed O/S, Australia will be in "deep shirt" when the lenders realise we might not be able to repay the loans in just the next year
* This opinion piece is defending the concept of SRL, which in general most people agree is fine. The trouble with this project though is the design. Why not try to justify why the stations and stabling yard take away so much open space from the community? And why not justify why the tunnels go through and beside 14 ex-landfills rather than taking a more direct route? Where is the justification for the negative impacts this project will have on people and the community from the way it is designed and planned to be constructed?
* I have submitted a number of Comments regarding this article. I'm not sure if you believe the comments are not suitable to post ie. outside of the Commenting Guidelines or You just don't like them or you are not receiving them. Anyway...I just don't know?
* I have seen them. There were many links included in a single comment. In addition, some of the links included quotes from the articles, which take time to verify. We do find links are sometimes greatly appreciated by others, I have seen this from time to time in the comment threads. Hope that makes sense. Regards, Rob Ashton.
* Ironically nearly all the articles and links in My comment have been posted previously at different times in various Age Articles on the Suburban Rail Loop Project. Of the 11 articles and links in My comment 5 of them refer to articles from The Age - 3 of the articles are from July Articles in The Age. The other articles and links are all from reputable sources eg The Guardian and ABC.
* Any growth in Melbourne's population should have been contained within its boundaries of 50 years ago with no further sprawl allowed. Future growth should focus on the development of narrow linear cities created parallel and close to existing but upgraded regional road and rail corridors, and preferably close to existing "traditional" regional cities The cities should be no more than a kilometre wide (excluding recreational/conservation land) with an internal "green" walking/riding/public transport corridor and main internal roads only on the boundaries.
* not too many restrictions there is there? no further sprawl but probably dont want many apartment blocks either, cant have it both ways, you either spread out or up!
* Good article, Frankie and I could not agree more with you. Every innovative idea must be talked to pieces because someone feels they have not been listened to. I hope wise heads will prevail and the project goes ahead
* I hope wise heads will prevail and some of the major issues in the project design will be fixed - like moving the stabling yard location off the Green Wedge, away from residential homes, and to an industrial area.
* Would it not be smarter to invest in regional growth cities so we don't become a city of 9 million?
* Why are these new suburban hubs being designed with just a single station, and expecting people to walk up to 1.6 km to the station ? Those further away will drive instead. The CBD is served by 5 stations, and hardly anone walks the 1.4 km from Flinders St to Southern Cross Station. The Monash Clayton acitivity hub should be served by two stations rather than one. And the Glen Waverly station is planned to be at the southern end of the activity area rather than in the centre with two entrances.
* People wont drive from further away because there will no commuter parking near the station. That will mean people will just drive the whole distance and not bother with the hassle of taking the train. Defeats the purpose.
* Money better spent on health system needed to support that growing population
* I agree. No one is suggesting SRL shouldn’t be subjected to a rigorous cost benefit analysis- but one that takes into account the full set of benefits, and the costs to future generations of Melburnians of having a city that is very difficult to traverse by a quick public transport system. The fact that someone is thinking about the future of this city, with a timeframe extending beyond my own likely lifetime, is really reassuring to me.
* I have submitted a comment with a detailed list of Articles and links that are critical of the Suburban Rail Loop Project. A number of the Articles and links are from Age Articles. It would be appreciated if you could post My comment. I believe My comment would add to the discussion.
* It seems acceptable to have a city of 9 million people. There are nearly three decades to plan and implement a more decentralised state. In the UK the 2nd most populous city has a population 24% of London's and the 4th largest 17%. In Victoria the 2nd largest city has a population 4% of Melbourne's. Why is there such an obsession about having Australia's largest city?
* dont forget to mention that said cities are hundreds if not, like london, 2000 years old, so nothing has happened overnight, none of our cities has been subject to almost total bombing destruction allowing for rebuilding and the london underground is 150 + years old. stop comparing us to them, it is not relevent.
* Any state government initiative that refers to itself as “gold standard” should make us all very nervous here in Victoria. Shouldn’t some of the $57b of our taxes be used right now on hospitals given their perilous state?
* A lot of "if, buts and maybes" here. Need a better justification for the size of the construction bill. Even if the pros here are valid, its not clear why this piece of infrastructure should be built ahead of other projects. For example, what about completing the Melbourne "underground" by expanding the Metro Tunnel as it is these projects that will enable a denser population to be accommodated that will be required if we are indeed, as the author suggests, going to be a city of 9m by 2050.
* Good luck trying to drag Melbourne into the future. "...We have a golden opportunity to set Melbourne up for the future.." We will follow our default position .... and fail.
* Sadly conservative commentators and politicians are rarely able to look past the ends of their collective nose, let alone plan for the future. Of course it suits LNP supporters to rant against anything an ALP government does, regardless of merit.
* appreciate your passion for the project, but if shovels are already breaking ground, why is it only now thatan assessment of this project is with infrastructure Australia? Shouldnt' that have been done before committing to a project of this size.? It's the governance and transparency around how this project was decided on versus other potential infrastructure projects that's concerning the community. No-one is disagreeing that we want to get ahead of the curve, we just want to know this project is the best way to do it.
* London also started on their underground 100+ years ago (10th January 1863). Not convinced why people will wan't to circumnavigate Melbourne by train, although many will like to go to Monash Uni from Box Hill etc. Stations must be connected/integrated. For example both heavy rail and loop in Glen Waverley should be underground opening the area up for better traffic flow. Closing part of Coleman Parade so people can walk in between above ground is a vehicle traffic clogging disaster.
* as someone who live in Coburg North and works in Broadmeadows (a distance of 7km) it can often take me over an hour to get home by public transport due to late buses and cancelled/ infrequent trains on the Upfield line. The loop is desperately needed, just a shame it won't be built for another 20+ years.
* As you say, the city is growing and needs this project. The other thing a growing city needs, especially as backyards get smaller is open space. Why then are we building the transport infrastructure at the expense of open space in the City of Kingston? One key park will be chopped in half for a station and the stabling yards are taking 30 hectares of sports fields promised to the community for the last 50 years. These sports fields are ready for design phase and could have been open in a few years time, that's now gone. This project could be the goose that lays the golden egg, instead it will be the goose that destroyed neighborhoods. Better solutions must be found, not the cheapest or the easiest as this government loves but the best long term solutions. Losing William Fry and the Sports fields is not the best long term solution.
* When James Greathead invented the London underground Rail, his detractors were many. Too expensive, unnecessary, the list goes on. Having recently travelled on it, it is the most forward thinking public amenity I have seen. I think the Vic suburban loop will be the same.
* The whole point of the SRL is integration (not necessarily discrete trips within the SRL). Therefore any suggestion of 'difficult' transfer could pretty much destroy that intent. Platforms need to be adjacent (think Hong Kong), not a 'walkable distance'. We have one shot at this, with a 'blank page' opportunity. Designs - even if preliminary - really should be made public. Interchanges need to be multi-modal, allowing for easy transfer between modes. This probably requires some tram network changes as part of the SRL package too.
* "Interchanges need to be multi-modal, allowing for easy transfer between modes." Which isn't true for the current design for Cheltenham. Currently planning is to choke the East end of Bay Rd – instead of constructing a short underground walkway to the bus station in Southland. Crazy.
* "The business and investment case released last year clearly showed that Suburban Rail Loop is a project which stacks up. It will deliver nearly $60 billion in economic, social and environmental benefits to the state and provides between $1.10 and $1.70 for every dollar invested." I'm guessing this is based on their Option A, Business case (p. 91 of Appendix C of the Suburban Rail Loop Economic Appraisal Report) which estimated that the total capital costs of the SRL - Including the East, North and West components - as ranging between $24.2-40.2Bn ($30.7bn to $50.5bn when recurrent costs are added). The FAQs on the SRL Big Build website estimate that SRL East will cost $30.0 to $34.5 billion alone. Assuming there are no further cost blowouts (of which I'm doubtful) and that SRL North and West both cost the same amount as SRL East, that brings the capital costs up to $90-103.5Bn. Adding in the recurrent costs ($6.3Bn-10.6Bn) means a total cost range of 96.3-114.1Bn, around double the estimated benefits of $48 5bn to $58.7bn...
* It is not scheduled to be finished till 2050 so a lot of water to go under the bridge before then!
* So there IS a business case.
* Not sure it offers much to people living around the Sandringham line.
* Low ridership on this line.
* ''Werribee to Cheltenham'', the missing piece of the plan. Will this ever happen? It should be planned for NOW rather than wait for Melbourne to reach an liveable Londonesque size.
* Let’s get cracking
* Who's paying for it? There is no where near the level of funding needed yet secured.
* I submitted a comment on an opinion piece by one of those high profile think tanks, suggesting it would be interesting to hear / read their 50 year plan for Melbourne. Unfortunately the mods decided it was not appropriate, though for what reason I do not know. It would still be good to read their response to the mild criticism in this article.
* Excellent article and a great and necessary project to make Melbourne even better in the future. It is great vision by the Andrew’s government and they should be wholeheartedly commended for it.
* No question we need this, should have been done years ago. I do wonder though why it all needs to be underground at great cost. Is there no option of doing at least some parts in elevated form as has been done with level crossing removal?
* The billions of dollars in compulsory acquisition required to go above ground is the reason.
* Good read, however I’m sure the politically motivated right wingers will object just for the sake of objecting. Progression is not in their DNA. Sad really.
* If we are going to be a city the size of London, we better build much more than just the SRL.
* Why does Plan Melbourne (an official State document) state: "Melbourne is the fastest growing city in Australia. The city's population is projected to grow from 4.6 million to almost 8 million – with Victoria's total population set to top 10 million by 2051." Where did you get the extra million people. from? I sure hope the numbers in the business case (where is the business case for this project?) are less rubbery. This project was flawed from the start and (like most such projects) favours the eastern suburbs. What started out as a thought bubble before the last election will be an expensive pursuit. We should be building mass transit into Fishermans Bend and improving transport in transport poor outer suburbs first by making better use of surface transport - electric buses and trackless trams for instance.
* Frankie makes some good points in this article.
* It should have been built years ago.
* Great article.  the SRL is a game-changing project. I am so proud to live in a state that are progressive and forward thinking. Well done Mr Andrews & team.
* Who would have thought five years ago we would have got rid of most level crossings. Have a new rail link to ease congestion in the loop. LNP don't do future planning, they just oppose everything.
* Melbourne so huge in the future? I think I need to move regional.
* It is extremely expensive, but so important for a truly livable Melbourne. We can't keep building and updating freeways every 2 years just to end up in the same position - stuck in traffic!
* I have lived and traveled in cities that have outcomes from good public transport like those described here. It doesn’t have to be a sad and sorry broken down mess from a bygone era. It will return on investment, increase productivity and provide a service if done properly. Not just a few carporks.
* 9 million people by 2050. Do we get a say in this?
* A waste of money. Will never be completed. Stations in the wrong places. A real muck up.
* Exactly. You only have to experience traffic of all shapes and sorts in cities like London and Paris to realise that it would be stupid not to go ahead with the suburban rail loop. Even medium size cities such as Porto in Portugal are planning ahead by extending their underground rail networks.
* Been around long enough to watch the consequences of the "Nah, we dont need this" crowd prevailing. That was what was said about completing the NE link when the nuts and berries and copper butterfly folk successfully halted the link. Now we find they have all sold out and the area is covered in dense housing and we are seeing a world of pain and inconvenience and huge cost to hatch together a 'workaround link' much more complex than the original plan.
* Setting cities on the right path for sustainable growth and improved quality of life starts with a strategy, from which initiatives and major projects cascade. The problem with SRL is that we're starting with a major project and retro-fitting the strategy. If SRL was/is such a good idea why wasn't it in Plan Melbourne? Why didn't it come out of Infrastructure Victoria's work? Why isn't there a city wide Melbourne transport plan that articulates the need for this infrastructure?
* I haven't heard anyone saying it shouldn't be built, but plenty saying it needs to be properly planned and transparently costed
* And then what? Another multi million dollar consultant report? Build the damn thing already!
* WHY does our population have to grow to equal LONDON?!
If it does, we're going to need a LOT more undergound train routes than one suburban loop!
This is not the projection for natural growth, this is assuming continued high migration which is advocated by business and property groups, maybe a review of THAT business case while we're at it. (This is not an anti-immigration comment, this is a sustainable population plea)
Why would anyone:
a) want to emulate the size of London's population
b) think that a big loop around the middle-outer suburbs will be comparable in effectiveness to London's integrated tube network?
Plus, suggesting that 'no matter what you love' about Melbourne and Victoria, this project that will fundamentally change the city forever is somehow 'for you' is a huge leap of faith! We can't even get everyone to choose to wear masks on a train or recycle their rubbish properly, do we really think we can get people comfortable with three decades of construction and a completely different city afterwards?
* Yes. We are currently at 5 million, so would need to find room for 4 million people in the next 28 years. That's the equivalent of a new Dandenong every 2 -3 months.
* No one is going to get on a train from Cheltenham or Glen Waverley or Box Hill to go to the airport.
In case Mr Carroll has not noticed working from home is here to stay. Consequently traffic has decreased significantly.
Yes, you could create office hubs. But, that will not occur simply because the train is there AND it assumes a business can attract the right talent "on the train line". And, people want to work more from home. The reality is this is a fantasy.
Additionally, we are in an environment of inflation; rising building material and labour costs; labour shortages; interest rate increases. This project will only superheat ALL those problems.
It should be scrapped.
If there is indeed an inevitable $100 billion to spend, then surely that would be better spent on addressing housing supply and addressing cheaper and simpler ways of improving non-car travel - think prioritising buses to improve travel time; think massive increases in bike lanes off road grid; think re-thinking the office and creating work hubs near libraries, etc.
This is a white elephant serving no purpose other than subsidising the cost structure of the construction industry. Elimination of this project would see a cooling of the construction sector. Buy reducing demand in the construction sector, this would flow into reduced labour costs in construction and, likely, reduced material cost.
The project should be terminated in it's entirety.
* I know plenty of people in the Eastern and Northern suburbs (myself included) who would love to be able to get a train to the airport - LIKE ANY OTHER MAJOR CITY. Having experienced London, Hong Kong, Singapore and many other systems, we know we can (and have) to do better. We are decades behind other major cities and we need to grow up and get on with this project.
* And there is the MARL project already planning a train to the airport. Why do we now need two trains to the airport? By the time SRL has a train to the airport, MARL will have already been operating for 15 years, and people will be in the habit of using that train.
* It is NOT about only going to the Airport but cross connecting the whole of the suburbs and as AFAICS the Airport train will be a massive white elephant and a waste of billions of dollars that could be spent on more worthwhile projects!
* I don't have a problem with the SRL, my problem is that there's so much money going into that when only a fraction of it is needed to upgrade and allow trains to run between Geelong and Ballarat. SRL is an act of political will power and that can be a wonderful thing, it's a shame those who don't live in Melbourne never get any of it.
* I think you will find the the upgrade to fast electric trains on both the Geelong and Melton lines will be announced before the coming election!
* More Pork Barelling for a never never project!
* Agree 100%. We are already decades behind other major cities. Need more roads, public transport and dedicated bicycle lanes. Expensive, but well worth investing for future generations.
* Yes this vital piece of rail infrastructure should have been built 100 years ago and when finished it will change travel around Melbourne forever!
* Problem with trains is it is from one fixed point to another. And if you are not near these train lines, then you need a bus. Another option is to spend this money on a fleet of self driving EV's for hire, when the technology is read? A drive share arrangement. Also discount EV's for purchase. You might think it will fill the roads with EV's, but if they are doing the driving, you can set back and relax, not wear a mask, and enjoy the view, the movie, the news, the book, and this covers all of Melbourne, not just the expensive inner suburbs.
* We do need this. Suburban roads are often gridlocked in peak times now. That will only get worse. Have a look at London's rail map - at the circle lines. We need to plan and think ahead. Back in 1930 when Glen Waverley station was opened, that area was largely rural and some people probably said "why build it" .
* "By 2050, we’ll be a city of nine million people" This would almost entirely be the product of the mass immigration ponzi the ALP/NLP/Greens promote despite polls showing the majority of encumbents aren't happy about this. And this is another example of enormous amounts of debt being accumulated to try and cater for this overpopulation.
* This is probably the worst idea ever presented to Victorians that seems to have got up for no reason. $50 Billion at least for a train that nobody wants to use.
* we don't want a population of 9 million in Melbourne. How will the power system and water supplies cope. We don't want to be like London. You can build as many rail projects as you like, but we don't want this.
* What if we just spend all the money on building renewables instead? Then when we have done with that we can get Elon to build tunnels at a fraction of the cost.
* 100% agree to it Frankie. There has been always inner city central development. Now is the time to consider suburban rail loop development connecting all the major peripheral lines and leading to the airport. Unfortunately this city-centric mania and decision makers always try to suppress and cannot see far sight. Am glad to realise that all the decision makers are all over the marvellous state we have.
* Comparing apples with apples (Melbourne Metropolitan Area at 5 million) , London is not a city of 9 million today (greater London), it is a city of over 14 million (London metropolitan area).
* It is not a smooth transition at Cheltenham. The proposed loop station is 500m from the current Cheltenham station and a solid walk from Southland station.
* Doing the cheap and easy is this governments modus operandi. Very little of their rail work is done for the best long term outcome, they say it is but it isn't. all the sky rails show this, the only reason they aren't underground is cost and ease. Not putting dedicated V-Line and freight lines on the Dandenong line shows this as well. So little forethought for immediate political gain from those that don't think it through.
* Here’s the real problem: “By 2050, we’ll be a city of nine million people – the size of London today”. Governments are in thrall to groupthink planners who declare that we can do nothing about the unrestrained growth in Melbourne’s population and must therefore squash 80 per cent of the state’s population into one per cent of its area, even though the aforementioned London contains only some 13 per cent of the UK’s population, with people outside it able to reach it and elsewhere by fast trains. A better rail loop would be Geelong-Ballarat-Bendigo-Shepparton-Benalla-Mansfield-Traralgon. We can ask the Swiss how to build long tunnels through mountains.
* where is the response to siting and design of stations though? why penny-pinch on quality outcomes for the localities involved?
* This opinion piece is about defending the concept of SRL, nothing about whether the design is right.
* Our rail is ridiculously under funded. You go to Europe or China,  They have underground rail stations everywhere for a city the same size as ours. It,s pathetic we don't even have a train to Tullamarine. I am so happy this is being done. It needs to be done to set us up for the next 50 years. Look at London, Paris we are heading to that size. Yes neocon nay sayers we don't all drive our Mercedes to work to park beneath the Park Hyatt. And you will not be able to either when all roads are grid locked.
* What benefit does it bring to people in Regional and Rural Victoria who as taxpayers will also be lumped with the debt associated with the project?
* Melbourne has been subsidising the regions for generations.

Tues.19.7.22 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  Letters.
* Town Hall's anti-car agenda is evident in its bike lane spending
- JUST madness that this council can continue to ruin our city. The empty bike lanes are becoming a real eyesore and mirror other failures like Docklands. Why don’t people go to Marvel Stadium? The road network.
Why do people avoid Docklands? The road network. Why is City Rd becoming the new Punt Rd? The road network.
- SALLY and the loony Greens are slowly killing the CBD. I used to love the Melbourne CBD but now it’s a rabble and getting worse.
- THE tail is being wagged by a small minority and the rest of us can go and jump if we don't like it.
- I MAKE a point of not going to places I’m not wanted. The City of Melbourne have made it clear they don’t want “my type” in the CBD — so I don’t go near the place.
- THESE bike riders should be paying a registration and TAC charge. Why would you want to go shopping in the CBD? Should one be lucky enough to find street parking, most of the time the limits are too short to let you get anywhere.
- THIS is such BS by the idiotic council. Reducing speed limits to 3Okm/ h for cars, yet bicycles and battery-powered scooters/bicycles can go faster than that. Is it going to take a pedestrian or a passenger disembarking from a vehicle to die because cyclists are travelling at speed?
- SPEED decreased from 50km/ h to 30km/h on roads without separated bike lanes? Seriously? The bike lobby needs to pull its head out.
- WENT into the city for the first time since Covid. Virtually all the parking spots have gone, only 10-minute zones and even those were full. Easier to stay in the suburbs.
- E-BIKES are perfect for city areas and reduce parking problems. I agree, cyclists need to pay registration fees, we are getting the benefits at the expense of the motorist.
- PEOPLE need to be able to get around and very few come on bikes. They’ve made it too difficult to drive through there or park.
- NEVER see bikes with shopping bags hanging off the handlebars.
- I WEEP for the small business owners being shafted by councils and governments.
- On yer bike.  MELBOURNE City Council’s decision to spend more money on footpaths and bike lanes over the next four years (“Boot for road spend”, HS, 18/7) could see many businesses eventually move out of the CBD to suburban areas.  The Greens may win the battle but eventually lose the war to common sense.

Tues.19.7.22 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  LYCRA-led recovery is not the solution to the CBD’s woes.  SUSIE O'BRIEN
City of Melbourne leaders believe cyclists will save the city and bring people back.
It’s a delusional hipster fantasy. Lord Mayor Sally Capp insists she is not anti-car, but the council’s recent decisions have done much to repel and demonise drivers.
Capp says bike lanes take up one per cent of the city’s total road space, but the vacant vanity symbols dominate some thoroughfares, taking up the same amount of space as busy car lanes.
Commuters are frustrated traffic flows and on-street parking have been reduced due to eco-friendly bike paths.
Delivery drivers now have to park unsafely and wheel their goods due to the proliferation of empty bike lanes. And people wanting to come in at night for the theatre or restaurants are put off due to expensive parking and late-night congestion.
Although the council has temporarily paused its rollout of new bikes lanes, the council’s priorities are clear. There is a further 70km of separated bike paths planned by 2030.
As Herald Sun revealed on Monday, City of Melbourne is projected to spend twice as much on footpaths and bike lanes over the next four years than on roads.
Ratepayers will fork out $69m on footpaths and bike lanes but only $3lm on roads.
The council’s website says the lanes “provide a safe, efficient, sustainable transport alternative that will support physical distancing and get the city moving again as Covid-19 restrictions ease”.
They’re right that there is great physical distancing on bike lanes — it’s because no one is using them.
Even VicRoads - long the champion of drivers — has l00km of new bike routes planned across eight inner-city council areas.
Making matters worse, the bike lobby wants speed limits on roads without separated bike lanes to be reduced from 50km/ h to 30km/ h.
Preachy and self-entitled, these cyclists expect city streets to be designed solely for their convenience. They don’t pay the same registration fees as motorists, but expect generous accommodation at everyone else’s expense.
With the city struggling to attract people back, initiatives such as free parking at night and cheaper parking during the day would do much to make the CBD more accessible and appealing.
What we need is a vibrant, busy, safe city, not one that alienates and annoys the vast majority of users. There needs to be safe passages into the city for all users and commuters.
But rather than just considering the needs of self-satisfied inner-city cyclists, councils should also cater for everyone. They need to remember not everyone wants to ride into the city in the middle of winter, particularly to a good restaurant or up-market bar.
Councils need to accept the reality that Victorians are among the biggest car users in the country due to our spread-out city and public transport blackspots.
The fact we’re willing to spend $27,000 for a five-year-old Toyota Corolla — which costs $23,490 new- shows our addiction to cars is not abating. Second-hand car prices are up 40 per cent over two years.
It’s absurd a major car-reliant city such as Melbourne could only have one lane of traffic each way in the middle of the city grid.
While hipster baristas can ride their fixies from Fitzroy to Hardware Lane, the vast majority (89 per cent or so) of city users rely on cars or other public transport.
It’s easy to boast, as one member of the Moreland Bicycle User Group told the council, that people should be “riding to work and to the shops and everywhere else”. But this eco-privilege is a lifestyle choice only available to those in the inner suburbs.
Despite the best efforts of many councils, there is little sign of Melbourne tuming into a Copenhagen-style cycling paradise.
Census data from 2021 shows 53 per cent of households have access to two or more cars — higher than the national city average. And 17.6 households have three or more cars — an increase of 65,000 cars from the 2016 Census.
As someone who regularly drives into the city during both peak and off-peak times, I’d suggest the biggest safety issue is not drivers like me, but death-wish scooter riders. They are usually helmetless, dressed in black and weaving in and out of traffic.
These urban pests are the real city menace.
City users should be given a range of options that do not start and end with demonising car users.
With motorists still paying handsomely for the privilege of owning a car, but cyclists contributing little, there is a desperate need for balance — not to mention mandatory high-viz vests and helmets for all scooter riders.

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