Tag Archives: 906

Community attempts to rescue bus shelter walling

Concern on lack of consultation

A HUGE community effort has gone into mitigating the effects of a Public Transport Victoria (PTV) decision to reconstruct the 906 bus terminus at the bridge roundabout; demolishing a wall and damaging heritage stairs in the process.

This work is part of PTV’s ongoing future-proofing of bus stops in the area to allow for the potential introduction of bendy buses.

PTV handed the work over to VicRoads to manage as part of the bridge reconstruction and to be performed simultaneously to prevent the need for any further disruption.

VicRoads had been planning this work for some time and had applied to Manningham Council for an alteration to the original permit to include this work — a permit being required because of the heritage overlay applying to the site.

Manningham Council did not advertise this planning request, deeming it to be of minor nature, and in June 2018 they amended the original permit to include this work.

The Diary has learned from VicRoads correspondence that Council had referred the permit amendment to its heritage advisor and urban design team.

It was recommended that the works reuse as much of the existing stone work as possible and care should be taken to match the new stone wall in size, colour, arrangement and visibility.

The first that locals knew of this work was in mid-November when fencing was erected around the site and contractors began to demolish the existing heritage stone walling, which caused damage to the historic stone steps.

A group of concerned residents, along with the Warrandyte Historical Society (WHS), convened meetings with VicRoads and their subcontractors, reminding them of their community obligations and offered the pro-bono services of local conservation stonemason James Charlwood as a design consultant to oversee the rebuilding to the appropriate standards.

Warrandyte Historical Society President, Margaret Kelly, spoke to the Diary regarding the bus stop works.

“The Warrandyte Historical Society was disappointed that there had been no warning of the work to be undertaken on the bus stop wall (this would have allowed photos to be taken for archival purposes) or neither it or other community groups had been consulted on the project.

“This highly visible, central area of the Warrandyte Township Heritage Precinct is historically significant and the Society is concerned that any changes to any of the various elements should be in line with the relevant plans and guidelines.

“We were pleased with the community response and the quick involvement of individuals to try to ensure the best outcome,” she said.

Last year, WHS was successful in negotiating the fate of the Old Dairy with Council and Melbourne Water and are hopeful that this sort of consultation will happen again in the future.

WHS along with Warrandyte Community Association are meeting with Council this month to discuss heritage protection in Warrandyte.

Mr Charlwood has produced a comprehensive Concluding Report which is highly critical of VicRoads, the sub-contractors and Manningham Council for their inadequate provisions to protect the heritage assets.

A copy of the report is available from the Diary upon request.

Whilst to a layperson the finished result may look acceptable, Mr Charlwood is critical that the style of the new work fails to match the adjacent walling.

Others have commented that the diagonal cyclone fencing above the wall detracts from the overall look and feel.

And it is noted that despite all this work, nothing has yet been done to rectify the broken stonework rumble strip that separates the bus stop from the Yarra Street traffic.

It is not known whether further work is intended here, but it would be a shame to leave the broken stonework as is, as the surrounding area and roundabout have been rebuilt.

Theresa Dawson, who was a driving force behind the community initiative to preserve the wall told the Diary: “There are a lot of new people living here now who are more than likely unaware that the reason they are able to live in such a unique and beautiful suburb, in such close proximity to the CBD, is because of the tireless work through the 70s and 80s of the Warrandyte Environment League, WCA, many other diligent locals and the Diary, that acted impartially to present necessary facts to locals. 

“We need to continue to honour the legacy of all these groups and individuals by standing up and carrying on their work if we wish to continue enjoying such a lovely village with rich history.”

The last 24 months have seen community groups defending heritage in the face of utilitarian progress and the Diary looks forward to reporting on the plans to help maintain cultural heritage.

Major public transport upgrade on the horizon

Proposed rapid transit system to ease commuter congestion

GLOBAL PUBLIC transport company Transdev have put forward a proposal for a new Doncaster Bus Rapid Transit project.

The proposal presents a plan for Melbourne’s first ever express bus way, potentially revolutionising public transport for the eastern suburbs.

A BRT system would separate purpose built and high capacity buses from other traffic such as cars and SMART buses, by providing a dedicated bus lane with full right of way.

If the plan goes ahead, it would see the Eastern Freeway median strip — which has been reserved for the potential Doncaster rail link — developed into a bus expressway.

The bus way would also continue down the centre of Hoddle Street, making for just a 30 minute journey from Doncaster to the CBD.

This could be welcome news for commuters, who currently travel for 47 minutes or more during peak times — and for Warrandyte residents, who often travel for over an hour on the current 906 route.

The bus way would be the first of its kind here in Victoria, but Transdev has built similar systems overseas with successful bus rapid transit operations in Bogotá, Columbia and the French cities of Rouen and Nantes.

The new purpose built buses will have a capacity of up to 150 people, and are believed to operate more like a rail link (with fast transit times and minimal waiting times for services in peak hours) than a traditional bus lane.

Transdev’s proposal has been welcomed by Manningham Council who believe the project can vastly improve commuter’s public transport experience in the eastern suburbs.

Leigh Harrison, Manningham Director Assets and Engineering spoke to the Diary and was hopeful the project would be approved by State Government as the project would greatly enhance eastern Melbourne’s public transport system.

“Transdev’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) proposal would provide Manningham’s commuters with a markedly improved public transport option that maximises what buses can offer.

We hope the proposal will be given serious consideration and support from the State Government,” he said.

But for Manningham Council, the Doncaster rail link still remains of the utmost importance and the Doncaster BRT is viewed as merely a short-term solution.

“Manningham remains the only Melbourne metropolitan municipality with no rail, and the proposal for a BRT is the next best thing in the short to medium term to cater for already overcrowded public transport services.

The proposed BRT may also offer improved reliability and travel times between the Melbourne CBD and Warrandyte,” said Mr Harrison.

Mr Harrison then went on to emphasise Manningham’s position that any sort of rapid transit system is merely a short-term solution to public transport congestion, congestion which Manningham thinks can only be resolved — in the long term — by the Doncaster rail link.

“The proposed BRT must be designed so as not to prevent a future Doncaster rail link and ensure the Eastern Freeway median is preserved for a future rail line to Doncaster.

Manningham Council will continue to advocate to the State Government to prioritise a rail line to Doncaster as the ultimate public transport solution for the area,” he said.

The BRT project remains in the proposal stage at this point in time.

Should the proposal gain the support or approval of the State Government, community engagement and conversation with key stakeholders will be carried out in order to develop the project appropriately.