Open space and construction are two topics not always associated with one another, but several projects overseen by the Level Crossing Removal Authority are opening new doors and taking urban renewal to a whole new level.
The Mernda Rail project is building new open space and shared use paths for people in Melbourne’s north to enjoy as part of the $600m works.
A new skate park, basketball courts, play spaces and fitness equipment will be built across three areas under the elevated sections of the new train line, which is being extended from South Morang to Mernda.
Totalling 8000 square metres, or roughly the size of two soccer pitches, the recreation areas will be built at the new premium train station at Mernda, immediately north of Hawkstowe Station, and adjacent to Mernda Park Primary School.
The open spaces were designed with input from the City of Whittlesea, knowing that this fast-growing community will benefit from more opportunities to be healthy and active close to home.
At Mernda Station, the new skate park will be integrated with the future Mernda Town Centre, and includes ramps, ledges, rails and obstacles. The project team will also install climbing and fitness equipment as well as seating in the area.
At Hawkstowe Station, a half-sized basketball court, exercise equipment, seating and play equipment will be built.
The park near Mernda Park Primary, off The Parkway, will feature rocks and logs, as well as play equipment.
Set to open later this year, all three spaces have been designed by a team of landscape architects to create an attractive and safe environment for everyone to enjoy.
Meanwhile, the project team will also help to complete a shared use path spanning the length of the new rail extension, making use of some existing paths and laying new ones to fill the missing pieces of the rail trail puzzle.
Stretching from McDonalds Road in the south to Bridge Inn Road in the north, the planned shared use path has been designed in collaboration with the City of Whittlesea, who will also construct a section of the new trail and maintain the full length once completed.
The new trail will allow cyclists or pedestrians to travel the length of the new extension and easily connect to each of the three new stations, which will have bicycle storage facilities available.