Previous readers will know that I have already written a bit about the state of public transport in Melbourne and my personal feelings about it. Melbourne sits in an unusual midground in regards to its public transport. On one hand its range of services far eclipses most other Australian cities and Trams are perhaps the best way to move around the inner city. Somehow though we compare terribly to European and Asian standards and yet put up with it as we largely have little alternative.
It does surprise me then when I occasionally read intelligent, logical and necessary solutions come up. Anyone who has driven around the Murumbeena and South Oakleigh areas during peak time will fully understand the ridiculousness of the traffic situation there. The Dandenong train line so effectively cuts the suburbs in half that waits of over a half hour to move a kilometer are not unusual. In suburban Melbourne however this is unacceptable.
The fact that we continue to even use level crossings is astounding given the amazing amount of time, petrol and other resources are spent as drivers sit at traffic lights waiting for the train, or trains, to pass. There is little doubt that Melbourne’s train system needs improvement constantly to meet demand and service expectations however the renovation of all our stations to either above or below ground makes so much sense as a long term improvement that its no wonder the government has not done it yet.
Money is always the most talked about issue in regards to projects such as these with service disruptions coming in a close second. I do understand the problems, there is limited budget allocated to such things and the closing of a station and roads to raise or lower the track is an immense disruption to everyone’s lives around the area. However at some point you just have to bite the the bullet for the short term in order to reap the long term benefits. I doubt there is a person around who would disagree that all stations should be free of level crossings so why don’t we just do it and be done with it.