1 March 2017

Artist render of open space. People performing leisurely actvities in park.

Locals are being called on to have their say about shared paths, outdoor fitness equipment and lighting for new parkland as part of a new survey being run by the Level Crossing Removal Project.

A Community Open Space Panel has put forward a range of recommendations about practical ways to make the park appealing for commuters and exercisers, including bike repair stands and fitness stations.

Those ideas will now be tested with the community as part of the survey, which will run through March.

Project Director Brett Summers said community consultation on the open space would run until mid-year. "This is about encouraging people to get outdoors and add activities into their everyday life."

"It's important that we are taking into account a range of considerations from the people who will actually be using this parkland," he said.

While outdoor gyms are popping up at more and more parks in Melbourne, bicycle repair stands – which include an air pump and retractable tools – are relatively new in Melbourne.

The project will build 12 kilometres of shared paths for commuters, cyclists and pedestrians,  meaning a continuous route will be in place from Monash Unit to the EastLink trail, beyond Yarraman Station.

An expert panel, led by Royal Botannic Gardens Melbourne Director and Chief Executive Chief Tim Entwisle, has been providing recommendations which are in turn feeding in to the consultation process.

"This is a rare and genuinely exciting opportunity to shape a new parkland," Professor Entwisle said. "These opportunities don't come around very often."

With thousands of trees set to be planted in the rail corridor, residents were also surveyed about the type of vegetation they would like to see in the new open space. The results show a strong preference toward native species along with trees that attracted birdlife.

"We also received strong support for a concept for distinctive planting designs for different suburbs to reflect the local character of the areas," said Professor Entwisle.

The Level Crossing Removal Authority is running a series of themed surveys until mid-2017. An open 'ideas hub' is also available online via Your Level Crossing.