Last week on Facebook the Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan published this great photo (along with a couple of others) from Southland Station under construction:
Over the weekend of 5-6 November when the Frankston line was closed, they put the pedestrian subway into place.
On Facebook the doubters continue to… well, doubt the usefulness of the station, to which I will say (at the risk of repeating myself):
- Walking from Cheltenham station is too far for most people to want to do. If they’ve already had to get to their origin station, they don’t want another 15 minute walk to Southland.
- Almost all the buses from Cheltenham (and other connecting stations) are either hopelessly infrequent (especially on weekends), or depart from a myriad of stops, or both. It’s even worse coming back, as only a severe bus nerd would be able to memorise which bus routes go to the station.
- The government is right not to spend up big trying to provide commuter parking. Just like somewhere such as South Yarra, it’s a destination, with walk-up access in there as a bonus.
- Many (most?) trips to shopping centres don’t result in people buying more shopping than they can carry (though some enterprising people do take home furniture, televisions and other big items on public transport). In fact a lot of journeys are for service-based spending, such as going to the cinema, banks, appointments.
Anyway, I took a look on Sunday. After so many years of inaction, it’s great to see solid progress on this project.
They seem to be making good use of the property in neighbouring Tulip Grove that was snapped up when it came up for sale, using it for construction access. It probably makes sense for it to provide another station entrance (as well as better access into the shopping centre) for locals, with parking restrictions to prevent park and ride commuters using it — but I guess it’s fair enough to get community views on this.
Some have observed that the station will be pretty bare bones. This impression posted on Facebook by Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos shows the design. What even is the point of that thing above the entrance?
It certainly appears the pedestrian access into the centre itself will be less then ideal. (Source: PTV)
But, hey, salami tactics. Just getting the station is the big step forward. Improved access is something to lobby for next.
If Westfield are smart, they’ll move to remodel parts of the car park to provide a more direct pedestrian path. And in the long term I wouldn’t be surprised if they extend the centre building out to meet the station.
Station construction work is likely to continue until December, then take a break over the busy Christmas shopping period, then resume next year, with PTV saying the station due to open in 2017.