2014 - 2016
Campaign Journey and Successes to Date:
In preparation for the City Plan 2013 to 2017, Council undertook some market research titled "Tell Us Your Top 4" and received a very strong message from the Community that traffic and transport congestion was the number one priority needing to be addressed. Due to that feedback, Council adopted a Budget and City Plan that made a commitment to undertake a congestion campaign over the next two years to tackle traffic congestion and transport issues in a bid to GET WYNDHAM MOVING.
The main objectives of the Get Wyndham Moving campaign are to:
- Increase Wyndham residents' understanding and appreciation of Council's efforts to address congestion;
- Enable Wyndham residents to get involved in campaign programs and events to address congestion;
- Secure commitment from State and Federal Governments to deliver projects that will reduce traffic congestion in Wyndham; and
- Deliver Council projects that will assist in reducing congestion in Wyndham
In 2014 and early 2015, there were two critical opportunities to attract funding from the Victorian Government; the State Election in November 2014, and the 2015/2016 State Budget that was handed down in May this year.
State and Federal Government Infrastructure spending has not kept up with the need and population growth that Wyndham has and is experiencing. With up to 12,000 new arrivals every year, Wyndham is the fastest growing municipality in Victoria and it is being felt by all. In March 2014, Council held its official campaign launch on a balmy Thursday evening, and even though the afternoon had its own major traffic congestion with a five car collision in Point Cook, over 250 residents attended the evening keen to hear what Council had in mind to ease the local congestion issues.
The launch unveiled the campaign's six defined 'asks' of Government:
- Make the Melbourne Metro Rail capacity project a priority;
- A second major road/river crossing from the West;
- Removal of three levels crossings (Cherry St, Wbee; Cottrell St, Wbee; and Old Geelong Rd, H/Xing)
- Improved bus services;
- Improved train services; and
- Funding for arterial road duplications and upgrades.
Awareness of the campaign heightened greatly with the campaigns 'Race to the City' event held in April 2014, attracting both local and metropolitan media, with a notable full page article on the front page of the Age newspaper. Coverage of the campaigns 'Grade Separation' document launch in October 2014 was also well received.
Backed by a local petition with over 5500 signatures, 12 Transport Champions, 10 Cafe Champions, over 40 schools in Wyndham on board and an attendance at 65 events throughout 2014, the campaign lived up to its objective of involving residents in campaign programs and events.
In the lead up to the November State Election, the campaign released an 'Election Scorecard' via the campaign website to help residents gain an appreciation of what the major political parties were promising to address traffic and transport congestion. The scorecard detailing promises and policy statements from the major parties was assessed by an independent academic, Dr Bill Russell.
The successful Andrews State Labor Government committed, to varying degrees, to most of the 2014 campaign six “asks”, either in the form of specific projects or funding programs.
A summary of delivery against the 2014 campaign “asks” are outlined below:
Make the Melbourne Metro Rail capacity project a priority
Labor committed to a major Melbourne Metropolitan rail infrastructure project, the Melbourne Metro Rail Project, announcing in February 2015 that $40 million in funding from its $300 million election commitment had been fast-tracked to establish the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority and continue progressing the project as quickly as possible. Additional resources, a $3 billion loan facility, have been transferred from the East-West freeway link proposal which is not proceeding.
A second major road/river crossing from the West
Labor firmly rejected building the East-West link and instead committed to building the West Gate Distributor (WGD) which once completed, promised to take more than 5,000 trucks a day off the West Gate Bridge and residential streets in the inner West.
The State Government is now considering the Western Distributor proposal from Transurban to add additional lanes to the Westgate Freeway, connecting to a tunnel under Yarraville/Footscray, and an elevated structure along Footscray Road to connect to City Link, the Port of Melbourne and the CBD. This project would replace the WGD with a decision expected by December this year.
Removal of three levels crossings in Wyndham
The Cottrell Street and Cherry Street level crossings in Werribee were listed in the top 50 level crossings to be removed over the next eight years under the Andrews Government, however we have no commitment to removing Old Geelong Road level crossing in Hoppers Crossing.
Improved bus services
Bus services in Wyndham have been significantly expanded to coincide with the opening of the Regional Rail Link in June 2015, including more services from Sanctuary Lakes and Point Cook. The Andrews Government also committed to reviewing the bus network on a more regular basis.
Improved train services
With two new regional railway stations opening at Tarneit and Wyndham Vale in June 2015, residents are switching to these news services. Overcrowding on the Werribee line has eased, with an additional service in the morning peak and an additional service in the afternoon peak on the Werribee line. The Andrews Government has committed to further timetable upgrades to Metro services later in the year.
Council may also benefit from a new $20 million commuter car parking ‘contingency fund’, which will be used to build commuter car parks once priorities have been determined.
Funding for arterial road duplications and upgrades
The Andrews Government committed funding for arterial roads via the Outer Urban Arterial Roads Program, with $1 billion over eight years committed. Wyndham has secured approximately $6 million of State and Federal funding for upgrades to the Palmers/Leakes Road intersection, and Palmers Road, Point Cook (with Council contributing $3.1 million to this project). This was a much needed first step however the Auditor General in 2013 estimated almost $6 billion in arterial roads funding is required for Growth Councils to deal with the backlog of projects.
At the end of the first year of campaigning, Council engaged key stakeholders including the campaign transport champions and members of the former Wyndham Transport Advisory Committee (WTAC), to review the campaign for 2014 and determine the priority direction for 2015.
The programme for 2015 was subsequently decided and the four main areas of priority were set as:
- Advocacy Priorities;
- Local Solutions;
- Planning Studies and Research; and
- Infrastructure and Capital Projects.
2015 in Review:
Regional Rail Link
In June 2015, we welcomed the opening of two new railway stations - Tarneit and Wyndham Vale. We also welcomed upgrades to our bus network with more frequent and direct services. We worked with V/Line, Public Transport Victoria and CDC Buses to promote the new services; in particular walking and cycling to the new stations.
The community responded to the new services, with patronage on both buses and trains (Werribee and RRL Lines) increased by approximately 20%, relative to 12 months earlier. Tarneit is now the busiest V/Line station in Victoria, after Southern Cross Station.
We have also successfully lobbied for further upgrades to the Derrimut/Leakes Road intersection, particularly for buses. Design works will commence in 2016.
Wyndham City's contribution of $3.1 million help secure $3.75 million of State Government funding for the upgrade of Point Cook's Palmers Road, south of the freeway for cycle and bus lanes. Works on the footpath connectivity were completed early 2016 and the bus transit lane works will commence later this year.
The campaign also contributed $200,000 for the upgrade of Palmers/Leakes Road intersection, and recently funded the instalment of 12 new bicycle hoops on the south side of Williams Landing railway station.
Level Crossing Removals
A public forum was held in July to discuss options for Cherry Street/Tarneit Road. Residents told us that direct access to the Werribee City Centre was a high priority. Council will continue to work in partnership with authorities to develop workable solutions.
We are also looking at ways the Laverton/Aircraft area can ease congestion on Point Cook Road by constructing direct access to the freeway.
Active Travel Capital Works
During the School Travel Planning process, a number of schools identified that infrastructure changes were needed to make walking, riding, skating and scooting to and from school easier.
In 2015, the campaign funded the following infrastructure around schools:
- a school crossing on Wedge Street for Corpus Christi Primary School
- a school crossing on Bellbridge Drive for Bellbridge Primary School
- a pedestrian crossing on Fairview Parade, Tarneit for Baden Powell College
Council has made progress on the wayfinding strategy and will soon implement the signage at the Wyndham Vale and Tarneit railway stations. This project will coincide with Council and Bicycle Network's decal initiative to encourage walking and cycling to /from the station.
A community carpooling workshop was held in late December to gauge interest in developing the Western Melbourne Carpool program. Council will work with interested participants to develop this initiative further in 2016.
Council held regular meetings with local, state and federal members. In July 2015, the Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan was joined by Councillors and senior staff on a half day tour of the municipality.
In October, delegates travelled to Canberra with a particular focus on funding infrastructure for growth areas such as Wyndham.
Work in Progress
We are still waiting to see a timeframe from the State Government for the removal of Wyndham's level crossings. Council will continue to strongly advocate for arterial road duplications into 2016 also.
The campaign was awarded two prestigious recognition awards in 2015. They were:
- the 2015 Government Communications Award for the Best Advocacy & Public Relations Award
- the 2015 NGAA Congress Award for the Best Advocacy for Infrastructure Investment
The Get Wyndham Moving campaign has been extended until the end of September 2016. Throughout this time the campaign priorities will be supported by the Fund Our Future campaign, and by having campaign awareness at various events throughout the year.
Advocacy Priorities for 2016
Council has already identified key projects it would like funded in the upcoming State Budget. These projects include:
- Commuter car parking at Williams Landing railway station
- More train services on the Werribee Line
- Implementation of the promised Outer Urban Arterial Roads Funding Program, to fund duplications on Dohertys, Derrimut, Sayers, Dunnings and Palmers Roads, and design work for Armstrong/Ison Road.
Fund Our Future campaign
2016 will see a Federal election called; so our Federal election campaign on congestion will be the Fund our Future campaign which is in partnership with the National Growth Areas Alliance Authority (NGAA).
Local Solution Priorities for 2016
The campaign will continue to support the successful Active Travel in Schools Program. This program is run under the Healthy Wyndham Together initiative. Subject to support from key organisations, Council is keen to establish the Western Melbourne Carpool project.
Other local solutions include:
- Improving way finding signage for walking and cycling to Tarneit and Wyndham Vale stations
- Support transport projects arising from Wyndham 2040 district plans
- Implementation of the 2016 Calendar of Events
Planning and Research Priorities for 2016
Council will continue its work on the Wyndham Integrated Transport Strategy and undertake research post Regional Rail Link opening. of commuters travel patterns and potential behaviour change.
The development of business cases for the 'Roads to Jobs' component of the Fund our Future campaign, and continued design and survey work on the Cherry Street level crossing removal project.
Infrastructure and Capital Projects for 2016
Continued work with VicRoads to ensure 'shovel ready' designs for:
- Sayers Road
- Derrimut Road
- Palmers/Dunnings Roads
- Ballan Road intersections
- Armstrong/Ison Road including bridge access to the railway line
Other projects include footpath connectivity on the Old Geelong Road/Forsyth/Federation trail tracks, and progress the $80 million Leakes Road duplication project with the aim of Stage One construction to commence in 2017/2018.
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