When rail goes up, bike trails go in

The proposal to elevate the rail tracks through Parkdale in Melbourne’s south has created the opportunity for vital new active transport connections and bike routes through the suburb.

The State Government has announced it will remove two level crossings at Warrigal Road, Mentone and Parkers Road, Parkdale as well as building a new station at Parkdale.

Initial technical assessments have determined a rail over road solution is the best design for removing the level crossings, delivering new open space and better local connections for the community, Level Crossing Projects has announced.

This means options have opened up considerably for the improvement and expansion of bike riding and walking along and through the corridor between Mentone and Mordialloc.

More continuous, low-stress and low-risk links through these suburbs can considerably boost local trips, bike commuting and especially trips to the many schools clustered around Mentone, currently dependent on car-drop-offs.

The possibility of a solution that involved trenching the rail line rather than elevating it is terrible to contemplate, as it would have removed space needed for paths along the corridor and reduce opportunities for links across the corridor.

With the decision to elevate the rail, riders can anticipate that the proposed Strategic Cycling Corridor along this route, first identified five years ago, will now go ahead, eventually linking Moorabin to Mordialloc, and then to Caulfield.

And this main artery will in turn open a host of opportunities for the City of Kingston to move forward with its plan for local active transport network development.

That should include upgrades to some devilishly difficult roundabouts and intersections.

And of course the new Parkdale station should have ample space for train commuters to park their bikes.

Detailed planning and design have yet to begin, however LXRP have open preliminary consultation to gather early feedback.

Learn more and have your say here.

There is a survey and two community information sessions over the next week.

Elevated rail development as part of Level Crossings Removal Projects has proved hugely beneficial to local communities, greatly improving the amenity of neighbourhoods.

There are still puzzling pockets of opposition, but they are gradually being flushed away as people witness what has been done on the rail on the Upfield line and the Caulfield to Dandenong corridor.

Shared paths improve connectivity along the Caulfield-Dandenong rail corridor. Image: Landscape Australia, Peter Clarke

Early concept designs are expected too be available in early 2022 with refined designs going to community consultation in mid to late 2022.

Final designs and start of work will be in 2023 with completion in 2025.

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