The Murrumbeena Sky Rail Blues
So word is out that the government is planning to upgrade and replace the old level crossings at Carnegie , Murrumbeena and Hughesdale with a track raised 9 metres and huge concrete eye-sore stations that will hover over these quaint old village-style suburbs like alien spaceships.
The government did not consult the locals, but pretty much ambushed them with a door-knock 2 days before the official announcement. Understandably, the locals are up in arms and a petition against the “sky rail” containing nearly 3000 signatures has been filed with parliament.
The government also issued a propaganda video , which promises to turn the area under the track into a bike path and parkland, as if people will flock to parks under thundering trains. More likely this will attract the local drug dealers and “painters”.
As a former resident of Murrumbeena (for 10 years), I lived one street removed from the train-line. Even in the late Nineties it was congested and running with greater frequency than other train-lines. We could hear it, but it didn’t intrude on our lives. If the sky rail was built, many people from our street would be able to see it too.
As for the people whose properties back onto the rail (Mainly Murrumbeena)this is obviously a disaster of epic proportions reminiscent of the Blues Brothers scene :”How often does the train go by? So often you don’t notice it anymore” But of course you do!
Instead of accusing people of NIMBYism, maybe the critics need to understand that this part of Murrumbeena is an upmarket patch with huge and extended 1930ties heritage properties on large land, some of them close, even backing onto the train line. On the nearby Waverley line, which has always been raised in parts, property backyards do not back onto the train line but start across the street.
Murrumbeena and Hughesdale have the feel of old English villages, with masses of trees , beautiful period houses , and quaint shopping centres that nevertheless cater to all daily needs.
The elephant in the room is really that Melbourne is growing by more than 2% per year, and a lot of the growth is happening in the third world ghettos of Dandenong/Cranbourne, but also in suburbs like Clayton, which has necessitated more frequent trains and therefore congesting the level crossings. On the other hand , it is pretty obvious that those crossings are only used by locals, as most people know to avoid them by going via Caulfield underpass or Oakleigh overpass respectively. Opening up the level crossing will simply bring more traffic into the area and thereby nullifying any anti-congestion and safety effect from removing the level crossing.
Rather than turning Melbourne into another bullshit soulless Asian inspired city, why not keep our heritage alive ? We have a million tourists coming from China every year who want to see Australia, not another China. Looking after our heritage is better for the common good in the long run, than catering to the needs of drivers. Rather than just growing the city without restraint, it’s about time to relocate people to the country or smaller cities, which will improve services on existing lines there.
I ‘m guessing this isn’t going to happen : governments have been unseated for less.