There is a huge appetite for more public transport in Melbourne – when the Suburban Rail Loop was first announced the public celebration was enormous. People want public transport to be prioritised. But will the Suburban Rail Loop meet expectations?
The Suburban Rail Loop is a proposed new underground rail link connecting Melbourne’s middle suburbs. It will include new stations and connect all major rail lines from the Frankston line to the Werribee line via Melbourne Airport, enabling more efficient transit options.
Trains are much more sustainable, in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, energy consumption, use of space and noise levels. Public transport carries more passengers on a single vehicle, therefore reducing the number of vehicles, the level of traffic noise, and the amount of emissions. It can also help cities reduce smog, meet air quality standards and reduce overall health risks. These are just a few things that will provide both ecological and social benefits that will increase the quality of life of all urban residents.
Right now, the state government is inviting community feedback on the proposal. It is still largely undefined, and it’s vital our government hear the prioritises for this massive city-changing project.
Have your say on the Suburban Rail Loop today!
We’ve got started with a few ideas – what would make the Suburban Rail Loop a winner for you?
Bridge the gap
The Suburban Rail Loop is an opportunity to help create a network between the inner city and outer-urban areas. This symbiotic connection will give people the opportunity to travel more efficiently to and from work. Right now it feels like two different Melbournes exist – the bustling job rich inner city with frequent reliable public transport options, and then the rest of the city where most of us live. 38% of Melbournians don't live within walking distance of a medium- to high-frequency public transport service. This jumps to 62% in outer suburban areas. Filling these gaps is vital.
Improve local connections and services
The new train loop will create one pathway around the city. But for many, it will still be beyond walking distance. In preparation for the Suburban Rail Loop, it is important that we revamp our local bus networks, extend our tram and train network into busy areas, and build safe connected bike pathways. This will ensure that more people have access to the suburban loop train line. Simply building massive commuter car parks by each new or expanded train station is not a viable solution.
Create local hubs
As activity goes into connecting old stations and creating new stops, we urge priority for creating public spaces. Local community services and amenities that resulted from the level crossing removals program have seen huge community benefits. Creating local destinations with shops, libraries, community spaces, health care, and support services will mean people don’t have to travel as far to access facilities and generate value for local economies.
Creating green space
Green spaces are both a social advantage and invaluable carbon sinks in moving towards a more sustainable city. The suburban rail loop should ensure the conservation of green areas, reduction of commuter distances, and associated effects of reduced emissions.
Melbourne's trains are the second largest energy user in the state, and building new connections will add to this. The train network still sources electricity from polluting coal stations, contributing to climate change and ill health. Victorians deserve a clean, 21st century transport system powered by renewable energy. Committing to power the Suburban Rail Loop with 100% clean renewable energy will help cut greenhouse gas emissions and create regional jobs in renewable energy. Read more on this: www.melbournefoe.org.au/renewable_powered_trains
Jobs for people, where people are
Construction is generating jobs as Melbourne prepares for a growing city. We need to look for long-term job opportunities that use a range of skills beyond construction: the ongoing running of trains, maintenance of the new loop, as well as local jobs by creating community hubs around stations. The Suburban Rail Loop should develop local jobs for construction and more efficient infrastructure.
Pipeline of planned projects
The Suburban Rail Loop is a long-term vision for our city - long overdue and sorely needed for many commuters. For the first time in decades, our state is building new train connections starting with the Metro Tunnel. It’s vital we create a pipeline of projects that continue to use the knowledge, skills and resources. Melbourne Metro 2 is the logical next step from Metro 1, enabling connections such as Airport Link, Doncaster and Rowville Rail. Alongside these projects, the Suburban Rail Loop will create a more connected 21st century city to cope with moving our growing population. As we get on with building these essential public transport links, we will be generating local jobs for decades to come.
Jump online today and respond to the government's community survey: https://suburbanrailloop.vic.gov.au/