Fitzsimons Lane/ Main Road Eltham Upgrade to be undertaken by Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV)

Just an upgrade? Then why should we be concerned?

 

Well, the plan is…

to replace this…

 

with this …

Impression created by ECAG based on MRPV plans

 

The roundabout, the extensive road reserves and hundreds of trees are to go, replaced by ELEVEN lanes of bitumen, concrete pedestrian, bike paths and traffic lights.

Sign our petition here

 

Why?

The aim, according to Major Road Projects Victoria, is to ‘improve traffic flow and travel times’ and ‘to make your journeys quicker, easier and safer.”

However we have not been given any evidence to show
a) that this will occur in any significant way
b) that there is not a cheaper, less environmentally damaging way for this to occur and
c) that it will not actually result in slower traffic flow in shoulder and off peak times when traffic lights slow traffic

 

The Real Problem

The major traffic issue is the Bolton St Intersection with Main Road where traffic will still have to wait to turn into a single lane in Bolton St.

How will one lane coming across the bridge from Eltham and expanding to 8 lanes within a hundred metres or so solve this?

MRPV admits in their words that the 8 lanes “increase storage” to allow for more cars to move at a green light – but once through the light, is it just straight into another jam?!

How will this design outside Eltham Lower Park, help the traffic at the Bolton St intersection particularly in the evening peak?

This is a costly overkill that will not solve the problem!

 

Concerns that ECAG has with this project

Data

The design is based on August 2017 data, 2 years old

Since then we have seen:

  • The completion of the Bolton St upgrade (early 2018)
  • The removal of Fitzsimons Lane bus lane, opening up another lane to traffic.

Both of these had a considerable effect on traffic numbers, patterns and flow.

  • NE Link route was chosen, which is predicted to result in 20% lower traffic volumes in the area.
  • Eltham /Nillumbik is a low growth area.

These points do not seem to have been taken into account.

Public Consultation

September/October 2018 – this was minimal.  Were you aware of it?

What apparently occurred included:

  • one pop up info session in the Eltham Town Square,
  • letters to houses within 100 metres of the roundabout (most of which is parkland or road reserve),
  • a completely misleading leaflet featuring a photo of the treed roundabout
  • information on the MRPV website- if you can find it

All of these avenues made NO mention at all of 11 lanes, retaining walls at least 5 metre high  or the removal of the roundabout and hundreds of trees.

The MRPV online survey received only 86 comments from Nillumbik/Banyule which demonstrates the public’s lack of awareness. (The Green Wedge Management Plan received 747 submissions by Nillumbik residents alone!)

There was NO contact at all with Eltham Community Action Group or other local groups including Diamond Valley Railway!

Social media was apparently heavily relied on. However, we looked back through MRPV’s Facebook page and Twitter feed but found no posts or tweets on the Eltham roundabout project. Councils were expected to promote the process but no checks were made to ensure that this had occurred – we have found two related Facebook posts from Banyule City Council, one from Manningham Council but none from Nillumbik Shire Council. At the time of the community consultation Nillumbik Council had an acting CEO and was experiencing a huge staff turnover. Council and MRPV have different accounts of their interactions.

Environment

The loss of roundabout and road reserves, hundreds of canopy and smaller trees, bushes, grasses is irreplaceable in our lifetime. We value our treed environment. Do you want to see all these trees go?

Footprint/hard surface area

Where in Melbourne or Australia, is there a similar intersection with 11 lanes in a residential area? It is an expensive overkill project.

It almost appears that the engineers looked at an aerial map of the area, spied the generous road reserve, rubbed their hands in glee and started filling it with lanes.

An easy option!

This enormous hard-surfaced area will be adjacent to a tributary of the Diamond Creek within 1km of the Yarra River.  No space will be left for water retention /filtration ponds to mitigate the issue of chemical pollution.

 

Impression created by ECAG based on MRPV plans

Other less intrusive options for achieving a better traffic flow are possible.

The bus lane in Fitzsimons Lane, Templestowe has been removed to aid traffic flow so why do we have a bus lane starting at the park and ending at the top of the hill?

Safety

Exiting Eltham Lower Park is already an issue at weekends. Imagine having to cross 8 lanes before turning right towards Eltham!

 

That ‘slowing down/ breathe easier/homecoming’ feel of arriving at the Eltham roundabout, the Gateway to the Green Wedge, that unique transition to our suburb/neighbourhood will be lost for ever, replaced by an asphalt and concrete wasteland.

Welcome to Eltham, Gateway to the Green Wedge !

 

What next?

If you share our concerns we encourage you to sign our petition here  or to email the Minister for Transport Infrastructure,
Hon. Jacinta Allan MP at: jacinta.a[email protected]
and copy your email to: