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level crossings
Extra crossings announcements a gain for bikes

The State Government has committed to the removal of another swag of levels crossings in Melbourne, raising hopes that some bike routes will be upgraded as part of the projects.

Another 25 level crossings are to go by 2025, bringing the total to 75.

Of the projects to date some have resulted in tremendous improvements to bike infrastructure, especially in the case of the level crossing removals along the elevated rail on the Caulfield to Dandenong project.

Of interest to riders will be the removal of a couple of level crossings in Mont Albert and Surrey Hills on the Bellgrave/Lilydale line.

This corridor, as far inbound as Hawthorn, has long been identified as a strategic cycling route into the city from the east and has already been the subject of preliminary investigation by state and local agencies.

Surely there will be value in considering opportunities for leveraging these major construction works to deliver elements of the bike route.

There will be another five level crossings removed along the Frankston line, but as with others in this corridor, the decision to put rail in trenches under the road at crossings will ruin opportunities for good connectivity in these communities.

The government has also announced several additional removals on the Upfield line in addition to the already announced projects at Moreland Road and Bell Street, The additions are to enable the Moreland and Bell Streets projects to be undertaken without compromises.

These crossings are expected to be elevated due to the solid rock under ground on this corridor, thus creating the circumstances for a new and high quality section of the Upfield Trail to be provided as part of the project.

Other projects of interest include three likely elevated crossings in Preston at Cramer Street, Murray Road, Oakover Road, including a new Preston Station.

The Hoppers Crossing crossing will also go, an opportunity to address the poor linkages to the adjacent Federation Trail.

At the same time as it announced the additional 25 projects the government released a prioritisation framework for selection of future level crossing removals.

The framework is underpinned by four key principles:

Safety: prioritise sites with a record of incidents or a high risk of incidents

Movement: prioritise sites where excessive delays caused by high train frequencies and high traffic volumes cause delay and unreliable journeys

Place: prioritise sites where the level crossing divides communities and impedes access to important facilities

Delivery: prioritise sites where there is an opportunity to increase investment efficiency and minimise disruption by delivering jointly with other projects.

See the full Level Cross Removal Authority framework report here.