|The Rushall Bridge and station. My image, no copyright|
- Convoluted narrow underpass under Rushall Station, shared with pedestrians. Lots of no-cycling signs, that are rightfully ignored because they are an excuse for planner inaction on cycle infrastructure. Occasional clashes with pedestrians, lots of 'excuse-me' in the underpass, and too much slowing down.
- No access (see right) to Thomas Kidney Reserve, to the north west side of the railway tracks, from the Station. People, their dogs, and children have to climb a steel fence to gain access from Rushall Station, and then walk along the top of a Creek-side cliff, to attain the grassland Reserve and the bike path through it (a path that looks old, and was never completed up to the Station-currently it ends in the Creek!).
3.2 Merri Creek Trail at Rushall Station. Construction of new path on the east of Rushall Station to ensure the Merri Creek Trail bypasses the station underpass. Project will link existing trail south of the station to Rushall Reserve and eventually, the new crossing identified in 3.1 above. Project is consistent with the Merri Creek Trail Review. Yarra City Council with funding support of Parks Victoria. 2010 $375k (split 50/50)
However in Dec 2010, there was still no sign of any works commencing (but I did see someone who might have been an engineer there in August), and things actually got worse. In addition, a sign went up on the Rushall Bridge saying 'cyclists dismount, narrow bridge'. This is new - you could always cycle over this bridge in the past and it is a great crossing away from cars - there aren't other crossing points close by. We all ignore the sign - it appears to have no statutory authority, and anyway this bridge is not narrow - two bikes or prams can pass easily, there is zero history of accidents, and the bridge is the same width as all the older sections of the Capital City Trail, which has no such 'dismount' signs along its length!
- The Koonda Lat Bridge is not easily accessed, and cyclists like to take a direct route, unless they are out for a weekend meander. If you live where I live, it takes you 500m out of your way, every day, day-in, day-out on the commute.
- The Koonda Lat Bridge does not head towards the city - it is strongly angled away from it - if you are heading southbound, it angles east.
- A major screwup is that if you approach the Koonda Lat Bridge from the east on Westgarth Street, you find yourself having to go cross-country to access it - there is no cycle path approaching it from the east! Bike planners in Darebin Council could have thought of this.From Darebin Council, Aug '10 - this is because of underground service cables etc.
- Also the Bridge could be useful for the many St George's Rd cycle commuters coming from the north west and heading south, but only if they exit the obvious route into the city that they are on, to go out of their way to get to the Bridge in a big loop they takes an extra 5 minutes.
Inaction on Rushall Station is already legendary. It is a classic case of Strategy Planning not resulting in anything for years at a time, because "complex partnerships" would be involved. Improvements have been mentioned in almost every transport plan and cycle strategy for years, in Yarra and sometimes in Merri Creek Management and City of Darebin documents. Bicycle Victoria have a whole web page on it. But nobody can actually get themselves to start work on the problem. If this was a road, it would have been fixed long ago. Let us see if the latest funding allocation mentioned in the Yarra Bicycle Strategy 2010-15 actually comes to anything, while I am still alive..... Watch this space. Update 20 Aug '10 - Darebin Sustainable Transport say they have no plans to do anything about the Bridge right now - and the sign stays up because the Bridge is 500mm too narrow to meet new codes. Strange how we (nearly 400 people a day) have been cycling over it all these years without problems then, and it still has a cyclist painted on it....
July 2015 - in the last 5 years we have had 'no cycling' painted under the station, warnings on the Bridge, prosecution and warnings issues to cyclists in the tunnel, and a campaign by dog walkers and users of the Reserve to stop a 2015 proposal to open it up with a bike path (also useful for pedestrians). But still, hundreds cross the bridge every day because it is a major commuter route. Finally in July 2015 Yarra Council voted to proceed with a path (voted 2016 too). Now we just need to insure they build it. Still no better tunnel under the station, but at least safer access to the Reserve for those heading west. See the official council sites http://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/hot-topics/rushall-reserve-shared-path-decision/ http://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/environment/Parks-and-reserves/rushall-reserve/
2020 - there was over a year of gut wrenching public hearings and delays in 2015 to 2016 where plans were drawn up for a cycle and pedestrian path leading into the Reserve. This included dealing with a substantial opposition group, who were made up of off-leach dog walkers and others. Yarra polled the public [who voted in favor of the path], took the plans, and then the revised plans to a vote of Council, who narrowly voted to approve funding and building. By late 2019 nothing had been built - again. The promised budget was not enough apparently following a new route demanded by dog walkers and others, and the path project was completely cancelled. A victory for NIMBYISM. People continue to cut the fence so they can access the Reserve from the station.