The community can have its say on the proposal to remove the Lilydale’s Maroondah Highway level crossing.
The Rail Removal Authority will hold a public meeting to discuss the designs from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday 22 August at Lilydale Primary School.
There’ll also be a meeting to discuss the plans for the Manchester Road, Mooroolbark, removal from 10am to noon on Saturday 24 August at Manchester Primary School.
“You’re invited to attend our community drop-in sessions to find out more about the project and tell us what’s important to you,” the authority said.
The Mail reported last week that plans to remove the crossings included new elevated stations and up to 450 new and upgraded car parking spaces at Mooroolbark.
At Lilydale, the station and bus interchange will be relocated and walking and cycling connections will be improved between the town centre, new station and the Lilydale-Warburton Trail.
Yarra Ranges Council’s environment and engineering director, Mark Varmalis, said council officers were advised that the State Government’s Level Crossing Removals Authority (LXRA) would be looking for guidance from the community on several elements of the project, including the future use of the heritage Lilydale Station building, the bus interchange, connections to the rail trails, and integration of the proposed new station into the surrounding area.
The coming meetings are the only face-to-face opportunities at this stage to provide feedback, but there will be mail-in and online opportunities.
Mr Varmalis said the State Government also advised that there would likely be additional opportunities to provide feedback as the project progressed.
But he said these early sessions were the most important for commenting on the project’s larger elements.
During a Lilydale Township Action Group meeting on Wednesday 14 August, council officers noted that there were several questions regarding local traffic changes that were unknown at this stage.
Mr Varmalis said this included proposed additional traffic lights on Maroondah Highway, and likely traffic volumes along Williams Street East and West, John Street, and the wider area.
“We informed LTAG that we have contacted LXRA to request traffic analysis on what these changes are likely to be before we are able to formulate a position,” he said.
He said some community members raised the lack of additional parking spaces at Lilydale and officers confirmed that they would pass those concerns onto LXRA.
“Council officers noted that LXRA has a ‘no net loss’ car parking policy as part of their projects,” Mr Varmalis said.
More than 53,000 vehicles use the two crossings each day, where the boom gates can be down for up to a quarter of the morning peak.
There have been 13 crashes at the two sites in the past decade, including one fatality.
The project will be complete in 2022 and will lay the ground work for further line upgrades, including duplicating sections of the Lilydale line and a potential new station between Mooroolbark and Lilydale.