Students and retailers have backed the State Government’s plan for the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL), saying it will regenerate the suburbs and improve access.
The project is set to commence in 2022 and be completed in 2050, with the eastern section from Werribee to Box Hill projected to be delivered in 2035. The business plan was released for public comment in August.
Theo Della Bosca, development director of Burwood Brickworks shopping centre, said the project was an amazing investment in the local community.
“I am very excited about all this new public transport infrastructure which is being proposed,” he said. “Because it will be part of a renaissance and regeneration of the City of Melbourne, and the suburbs more generally.”
Some of the benefits of the SLR listed by the project team include better access to health services, thousands of new jobs, more direct journeys for regional Victorians and new business and employment opportunities outside the CBD.
Using existing stations as interchange points, the 90km rail line will also introduce new stations at Monash, Burwood, Doncaster, Bundoora and the Melbourne Airport.
The addition of these stations is expected to especially benefit students studying at La Trobe University, Deakin University and Monash University.
Mun Ee Yap, a graduate of University of Melbourne who lives in Mount Waverley, said the accessibility would motivate students to visit campuses more often.
“During my bachelor’s degree days, I avoided going to uni everyday as it was tiring after commuting,” Yap said. “I scheduled my timetable so that I only needed to go to uni a maximum two days a week.”
Yap also said the link to Melbourne Airport would benefit those with no access to a Skybus in their area, and the project would expand people’s options when they were job hunting.
“I would definitely consider more locations when looking for work,” she said. “For longer distances, I prefer to train than drive – saves stress, fuel and parking. More eco-friendly.”
For passengers that do not drive, the rail loop will run through suburbs with major shopping centres such as Westfield Doncaster and Burwood Brickworks, which are currently difficult to access from other suburbs.
Della Bosca is confident the SRL will attract people back into the metropolitan area and promote a more sustainable way of living in the longer term.
“Undoubtedly having that sort of heavy rail infrastructure to the local area will absolutely provide greater connectivity for the local community into the metropolitan area,” he said. “Delivering that transport infrastructure to the doorstep of a university will result in the redevelopment of the area and more people living in the area more generally.”
The Suburban Rail Loop Authority is currently seeking community feedback on the project.
To learn more about the SRL and give feedback, visit: https://suburbanrailloop.vic.gov.au/Have-Your-Say