An excellent morning out: AITPM Ringwood Station Technical Tour
13 December 2016
On Thursday the 8th of December four of the VLC team took part in an excellent tour of the recently upgraded Ringwood Railway Station Precinct.
The morning began with three presentations from VicRoads staff. The first, presented by Catherine Clarke was an overview of the planning and delivery of the station. In particular, Catherine talked about the challenge of delivering a project with so many interested parties: Metro Trains, PTV, Maroondah City Council, VicRoads and QIC (Eastland). I was impressed to hear that a key goal of the station upgrade was to create a “place for people”. I believe that they have achieved this; my experience arriving as a rail passenger was welcoming and seamless.
In the second presentation Tony Fitts explained how the traffic signals at the surrounding intersections were modified to encourage traffic to use the Ringwood Bypass instead of the Maroondah Highway.
From my perspective the high level of pedestrian connectivity between the transport interchange and shopping centre was the most successful element of the project. To help facilitate this, the Maroondah Highway has been reduced to two lanes in each direction with an eight metre wide pedestrian crossing installed. The average pedestrian wait time at the crossing has been reduced from around 60 seconds to 20 seconds.
The 8m wide bluestone pedestrian crossing on Maroondah Highway
In the final presentation Craig Allen, discussed some of the challenges and lessons learnt from the work on the Ringwood to Box Hill bicycle path. For this project, complex stakeholder engagement was a key challenge. This required the project team to have a detailed understanding of what the community wanted from the project. Another lesson learnt was the need to consider future projects in design and implementation. Had the provision been made for a bicycle path during the grade separation at Middleborough Road (completed 2007) the challenge of installing the path would have been greatly reduced in that area.
With the rain subsiding we ventured outside for a tour of the station itself. We were shown how the heritage buildings were retained in the upgrade. For me, these iconic railway elements were a nice architectural softener.
Although the new precinct prominently caters for bicycles, I do wonder how heavily utilised these facilities will be while the infrastructure outside the immediate area is not to the same standard.
As well as serving the Belgrave and Lilydale rail lines, Ringwood station is a stop or terminus for eight bus routes. The bus bays are located around a central waiting area, which will significantly improve the waiting experience for passengers.
The refurbished station building
After a thoroughly enjoyable tour and networking session with our fellow transport professionals we boarded the train to return to VLC central. As if to complete a great day of transport related activities, our service was an express, whisking us into the CBD in no time at all.