COUNCIL WANT MORE PEOPLE TO WALK & CYCLE

“With the growth of Doncaster Hill a recent study forecasts a significant increase in locally generated traffic. In order to enhance livability and community well being we want to work with the community to come up with solutions as to how we can get more people to walk, cycle and use public transport”.

Community Consultation Click to Enlarge

Community Consultation
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Empty Bike Security Click to enlarge

Empty Bike Security

Doncaster Road and Williamsons/Tram Road, both busy arterial carriageways, present a very hostile environment for pedestrians which is discouraging walking trips to Westfield as well as access to the Bus exchange located there. The incorporation of grade separated pedestrian bridges over these roads is one option for consideration. However any construction of a new pedestrian overpass or underpass would have to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) which requires low gradient ramps. This is unlikely to be Continue reading COUNCIL WANT MORE PEOPLE TO WALK & CYCLE →

NO CAPITAL RETURNS FOR APARTMENT INVESTORS

Clearly, without overseas buyers, many off-plan projects on Doncaster Hill would not be proceeding. However if overseas buyers wish to sell they will incur heavy losses because of the difference between the prices paid through overseas intermediaries and what they will fetch on the falling local market.

Data Unit Asking Prices Click to Enlarge

SQM Data Unit Asking Prices
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According to SQM research, asking prices for 2 bedroom units (shown in red–houses in blue) in the Doncaster area have not increased but have actually fallen in the last few years. The situation will be no better on Doncaster Hill, where there have been apartments resold $50,000 below what they were purchased for 12 months prior. First home buyers, who have purchased an apartment to get a foot hold on the real estate ladder, will be penalised financially and forced to wait and hope that in time they might redeem their initial outlay or cut their losses and take what they can now.. The majority Continue reading NO CAPITAL RETURNS FOR APARTMENT INVESTORS →

RAISING FAMILY IN HIGH RISE IS NOT CHILD’S PLAY

Pete and Beth Clark wrote…”I wish our son could have a childhood like mine, with an empty block next door to roam in with hours and hours of outside time, riding our bikes with gangs of neighbourhood children with no sense of time and no parents hovering. If we got hungry we’d go home for food, or as Mum described it – “you must came home when it gets dark” Now it will be car-ferrying all the way, for fear of the “stranger danger”, to and from school and sporting activities, at least while he is young”.

Saving Space in 1937 Click to Enlarge

Saving Space in 1937
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Children Play Outdoors Click to enlarge

Children Play Outdoors in Parkland
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Many specialists in the field of child development and urban psychology say that life in high-rise apartments can present hurdles to a toddler’s psychological growth, particularly to the young child’s need to develop a sense of autonomy. And high-rises are exactly the kind of buildings that are being built on Doncaster Hill.

This kind of vertical existence also changes the traditional idea of  “going outside to play”, even in cities. The hallways and elevators that connect high rise buildings to terra firma exert their own intimidating force.  A recent study found Continue reading RAISING FAMILY IN HIGH RISE IS NOT CHILD’S PLAY →

COUNCIL VOTED LOW RISE FOR DONCASTER HILL

Manningham anticipated that the eastern freeway extension to Springvale Road would significantly reduce traffic volumes along Doncaster road. This had provided the opportunity to transform the character of the road from a state highway carrying heavy traffic to a tree lined boulevard. 
Low Rise Building Click to Enlarge

Low Rise Residential Building
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 The 1997  Three Storey River of Life  proposal as part of the State Government’s  Living Suburbs scheme was the last opportunity for Manningham council to control the size of development on Doncaster Hill. Councillors had accepted the the lower height of buildings  but voted against the strategy due to car parking issues. During this period, all councils were required to produce a new format planning scheme which incorporated the new State wide planning provisions. The principles of the State Government’s ‘Living Suburbs’, a Policy for Metropolitan Melbourne into the 21st century for the State Government of Victoria 1995, were to be adopted in ‘The River of Life’.
 This was seen as a godsend for the Council staff, who were getting anxious about the prospect of

Continue reading COUNCIL VOTED LOW RISE FOR DONCASTER HILL →

MANNINGHAM MODE SHIFT A PIE IN THE SKY PLAN

The achievement of mode shift is a complex issue, requiring a coordinated, long term approach across State and Local Government, developers and the community. The attractiveness, accessibility, reliability, efficiency and integration of sustainable transport modes such as public transport, cycling and walking are all considered key factors if mode shift is to be achieved. Actions to encourage mass behaviour change also need to be identified and implemented. In addition, the management and supply of parking facilities requires careful control”. Source Doncaster Hill Newsletter in a report 2014

Hepburn Rd High Rise  Five Parking Basements Click to enlarge

Hepburn Rd High Rise
Extra Parking Basements
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The above is the sort of drivel we are getting from our bureaucrats, writes “Chamier”, still buck passing 13 years after they had been warned that public transport to Doncaster would not include a rail service. Presumably the “mode shift” was to include an increase in cycling and walking but we have no safe dedicated bike paths with rideable gradients nor are the steep streets surrounding the centre conducive to easy walking while access to the core of the centre (Westfield and the Bus Interchange) is further hampered by the minimum number of pedestrian crossings available on Williamsons and Doncaster Roads. Some major developments are now providing more parking spaces than the required rates Continue reading MANNINGHAM MODE SHIFT A PIE IN THE SKY PLAN →

PROS & CONS OF HIGH-DENSITY VERTICAL LIVING

The amount of energy used by tall buildings, the energy in their building materials and the mental health and social impacts of living and working in high-rises are being questioned by current research.

Doncaster High- Rise  Click to enlarge

Doncaster High- Rise
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A 2010 Allen Consulting report to the Victorian Building Commission found ‘no conclusive evidence that vertical living was more sustainable than conventional homes. In theory, larger projects have the economies of scale to implement more efficient heating, cooling, hot water, etc.

In theory but not in practice

A study by the Schools of Architecture at Deakin University and the University of Tasmania found that high-rise buildings had 60% more energy embedded per unit GFA in their materials than low to medium-rise buildings. Continue reading PROS & CONS OF HIGH-DENSITY VERTICAL LIVING →

HIGH RAIL COSTS COULD STALL PHASE 2 OF STUDY

Whilst Manningham council should be supported in its intention to expand the evaluation conducted in the Doncaster Rail Study (DRS) Phase One, it should be noted that the study was completed in full. Further that it was confined by its terms of reference to consider only a heavy rail service, though it did make some recommendations for the short term improvement to existing public transport.

Anticipated Patronage Click to enlarge

Anticipated Patronage
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It would appear that phase two. of the Doncaster Rail Study will not proceed because the current projection of $11 billion for the Doncaster heavy rail, equivalent to the Melbourne Metropolitan Project itself, has already been deemed unviable. Phase one of the Doncaster Rail Study found that there would only be a 2 per cent mode shift from private vehicle to the rail line in the morning peak period in 2031 consistent with previous findings that the vast majority of morning peak traffic on the Eastern Freeway were not travelling into the city. Manningham council, who have confirmed they will pursue an extension of light rail from North Balwyn to Doncaster Hill in any event, should now advocate for light rail, at a fraction of the cost of heavy rail, to branch off Doncaster Road and along the eastern freeway and exploit the existing infrastructure to the city. Track and Signal Magazine have published a compelling report on a light rail service for Doncaster Continue reading HIGH RAIL COSTS COULD STALL PHASE 2 OF STUDY →

TRAFFIC LOG JAM FORECAST FOR DONCASTER HILL

Doncaster Hill was to be the key destination of Melbourne’s east, “a place to be”, and a vibrant self contained urban village. Manningham wanted to transform the character of Williamsons/Tram and Doncaster Roads into tree lined, pedestrian and bicycle friendly boulevards but did not allow for the huge volumes of through traffic they carry today or the effect of a poorly designed local street network.

Travel In Any Direction Click to enlarge

Travel In Any Direction Interconnected Street Grid
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Cul-De-Sacs in Doncaster Click to enlarge

Cul-De-Sacs in Doncaster  poor connectivity
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Our traffic problems really began from the 50’s, when we abandoned the densely interconnected street grids that enabled efficient traffic dispersion, where people could get around, then changed our street design to suit the automobile. Road networks now start from an arterial road, then down a main road, onto a collector Road, then into a local street and onto a driveway at the end of a Cul-De-Sac.       “Dead ends in more ways then one”..Patrick Condon    Seven Rules For Sustainable Communities . Manningham Council had recently commissioned Continue reading TRAFFIC LOG JAM FORECAST FOR DONCASTER HILL →

VEHICLE SOOT EMISSIONS A DANGER TO HEALTH

Since the opening of the Westfield shopping centre expansion, Doncaster residents have complained of black soot in their homes – a direct result of the increased traffic pollution.

Exhaust Plume Click to Enlarge

Exhaust Plume
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Due to our poor public transport system, Manningham’s residents are strongly dependent upon car usage. Our reliance on cars, buses and trucks (petrol and diesel)  as the only mode of transportation has had a detrimental impact on air quality and public health, with the significant release of high levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, benzene and the dangerous particle matter pollution. It seems that the more we learn about pollution, the more we realize how much of it we’ve been living with. So-called soot pollution is a good example of this as up until eight years ago we didn’t even have any regulations regarding its ambitions. Fortunately, we are now learning (thanks in part to the EPA) how damaging Continue reading VEHICLE SOOT EMISSIONS A DANGER TO HEALTH →

WORK ON DONCASTER RAIL STARTED IN SEVENTIES

According to Wikipedia, detailed planning of the long awaited Doncaster rail line, first proposed in 1890, began in 1969 and by 1972 a route from Victoria Park Station to Blackburn Road, East Doncaster was decided. 
Rail Cutting at Vic Park Click to enlarge

Rail Cutting at Vic Park
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Property acquisition for part of the route was completed in 1975 and the excavation of a cutting north of Victoria Park station had already commenced in 1974, only to be filled in two years later. By 1982 plans to build the line were shelved by the state government, and by 1984 land for the line once it left the freeway was sold. In 1991 an independent report investigated constructing the line, recommending against it due to the high cost. The most recent plan to build a railway line along the Eastern Freeway to Doncaster Park and Ride appears likely to meet the same fate as the proposal before it. Melways 1979 maps showing route of proposed railway from Victoria Park station to Blackburn Road is on next page.

Continue reading WORK ON DONCASTER RAIL STARTED IN SEVENTIES →