How the rail loop in the suburbs would transform Melbourne

A re-drawn commute

The Suburban Rail Loop could change the way people around Melbourne move by bringing hundreds of thousands of people closer to work, study and services.

A rail circuit in the suburbs could revolutionize the pendulum patterns of workers around Melbourne, says an expert in the economy.

Terry Rawnsley is a partner at SGS Economics consultancy and said that the proposed Suburban Rail Loop could expand people's work options.

He gave the example of a nurse living in Fawkner, who travels to the Royal Melbourne Hospital on the Upfield line. A railway loop would make Austin Hospital in Heidelberg just as, if not more, accessible, he said.

Mr Rawnsley said that although there were many unanswered questions about the costs and timing of the project, it did indeed distance itself from the previous model to expand existing transport corridors.

"At the moment, travel engineers say that there are X numbers of people on the Monash Freeway or on the Cranbourne-Pakenham rail corridor, so how can we broaden those routes so people can go faster," Mr Rawnsley said. "They do not think about how we can offer people options to move around the city. & # 39;

Plan Melbourne, the planning blueprint of the state government for Melbourne in 2050, lists ten employment clusters around the suburbs of Melbourne, and the railway stops at four of them: Monash, Bundoora (Latrobe maintenance), Sunshine and Werribee.

A top view of the Sunshine station, which could form a link with the proposed Suburban Rail Loop.

A top view of the Sunshine station, which could form a link with the proposed Suburban Rail Loop.

Photo: Jason South

Melbourne, megacity

By the time the railroad is promised in the suburbs to be completed in 2050, Melbourne will almost have doubled.

If the official population projections are correct, by 2050 it will be a city with 8 million inhabitants.

That is an extra million people every 10 years, or 100,000 new inhabitants per year.

But the truth is that Melbourne's growth exceeds the projections of the government – more than 125,000 people have moved here or were born here last year.

Keep growing so fast and Melbourne will become a city of 9 million by 2050.

That is slightly larger than the larger London is today, and larger than the Asian megacities of Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Population growth has emerged as a sleep problem in Victorian politics.

The vision of Melbourne as a mega-city is one that makes many people wary; they are worried about a city that is too busy, too densely populated in some parts and spread too widely in others.

Melburnians have become much more concerned about population growth since Daniel Andrews became prime minister in November 2014, according to Ipsos quarterly surveys.

In four years time it has risen from a low ranking of the 16th place to a list with 19 numbers. Ipsos keeps an eye on Victorians for our sixth greatest concern.

But Tuesday's surprise announcement by Mr. Andrews – that his government is planning to build a massive underground railway – suggests that Melbourne is on an irreversible course to megastath status.

Paris, population 12 million, has already begun building an extensive "ring rail" network under the suburbs, with an estimated cost of $ 61.3 billion.

Vincent Baumont, one of the directors of the project, told The age last year that this city also needs one.

Development Victoria's strategic assessment of the project suggests that a railroad would unlock a huge boom in rail guards.

Traveling by train accounts for only 5 percent of travel in Melbourne, compared to 21 percent in London, according to the assessment.

Melbourne is tipped to house 8 million people by 2050.

Melbourne is tipped to house 8 million people by 2050.

Photo: Jesse Marlow

A recipe for a larger urban density

But the metro stations of London and Paris maintain suburbs that are much denser than the middle ring of Melbourne.

The planning expert Professor John Stanley from the University of Sydney said that the middle cities needed a higher density of homes to control the continued rapid population growth of Melbourne and avoided condemning the city to congestion and longer travel times.

But Professor Stanley, who advised both the Napthine and Andrews governments on their plan for the urban blueprint Melbourne, said that no state government had shown the courage to act on that recommendation.

The new raillus "is in the right places," he said. "But they will have to go for leather to increase the density along that corridor, and along the radial corridors that connect to it, to make it work."

Plan Melbourne projects the city will receive 1.5 million homes by 2050.

According to Professor Stanley's account, that would mean building thousands of new homes in mid-sized suburbs, including Glen Waverley, Burwood, Heidelberg, Fawkner and Broadmeadows.

He admitted that this could provoke a NIMBY reaction.

Booming ... Cranbourne East has the highest population growth in Australia.

Booming … Cranbourne East has the highest population growth in Australia.

Photo: Joe Armao

A rail-guided houses boom?

The Suburban Rail Loop could promote a new housing boom around its 12 new stations and slow down the growth of the city edge.

Nine of the 10 fastest growing suburbs in Melbourne are in new residential areas on the edge of suburbia, in three residential growth corridors in the west, north and south-east.

Professor Stanley and economist Terry Rawnsley agree that the loop could keep the urban sprawl under control.

"When you look at where the population grows, it grows away from jobs," Professor Stanley said.

"It happens in the suburbs, but most jobs are not in the suburbs."

One in five jobs in Greater Melbourne is in the CBD, showing the 2016 census data.

Mr Rawnsley said that it was already possible to propose two radically different future versions of Melbourne; one with the Suburban Rail Loop and one without.

"The early announcement [of the project] will give the housing market the time to adapt, there will be certainty that the density along the corridor will be promoted, saving some of that urban development on the way up North, Southeast and West, "said Mr. Rawnsley.

"So in 30 years' time, Melbourne will look very different than with this project."

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