Public transport – use it or lose it?

With anticipated car-parking pressures at the Ferny Grove train station during TOD construction, our Association has been working with local and State authorities to find solutions to ease inconvenience for commuters and those who live close to the station. 

As a refresher, we estimate that across the 28-month development commencing June 2021, there will be a reduction of between 326 and 188 car parking spaces compared to now. Upon completion, the total number of spaces will be 1416, compared to the current 973 spaces.

Avenues we’ve explored with decision-makers to alleviate the long-term parking pressures included temporary use of Movilla Park as a flow-over carpark and increased bus services to encourage commuters to leave their cars at home and provide a more convenient alternative for accessing the train station.

Unfortunately, we’ve been unsuccessful in securing any of these options but through Facebook, printed flyers, public meetings and this column, we’ve endeavoured to keep the community informed of what to expect as the TOD takes shape.

A flyer that was recently handed out to residents in Ferny Grove

Our request for more frequent bus services to and from the station to take pressure off the reduced car park capacity raised an interesting dilemma. Translink’s data indicates that our local bus services are, on average, operating at less than 50 percent capacity.  Because of this, Translink have no plans to introduce additional trips even during the TOD construction. They will however continue to monitor services against local passenger demand.

This response was disappointing as it failed to explore why there is less than 50 percent patronage at the moment, nor whether the TOD construction constitutes a major enough disruption that additional bus services could be warranted regardless of current-state patronage.

So what’s the solution for our community if car parking issues at the TOD become untenable? Do we each increase use of the bus service so we can demonstrate genuine demand ? Do we write to Translink outlining whether their current bus service meets our typical daily needs and whether this influences our use of the bus service now and in the future? Do we ask the Lord Mayor to include Ferny Grove in its new shared e-bike scheme ?

Our Association is open to creative solutions and will continue to engage with State and Local representatives to alleviate as much traffic and parking disruption as possible until the TOD is completed.

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