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Ferguson Street – What we heard

10 Mar 2020

What we heard

The community has provided us with valuable insights on what’s important to them for the Ferguson Street level crossing removal.

The Victorian Government is removing 75 dangerous and congested level crossings, including Ferguson Street, Williamstown. The level crossing removal will involve separating road and rail and is planned to be completed in 2022. The project is in the early planning phase and we have not yet determined the design for removing the level crossing.

In November 2019, the first phase of community consultation gathered information and feedback from the Williamstown community on local identity and how people move around the area as drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. We heard valuable local insights through online surveys and three Williamstown Ideas Workshops. Community input from this phase of consultation will help shape the project.

  • 7400 community updates mailed to residents
  • Over 200 community members consulted in person
  • 3 information pop-ups
  • Email updates sent to 3311 subscribers
  • 261 online feedback forms
  • 1300 visits to our online engagement hub

Cyclists waiting at the Ferguson Street level crossing in Williamstown.

From the feedback collected from both our online engagement and Williamstown Ideas Workshops, key themes emerged from the Williamstown community in the three categories highlighted in our consultation.

Road connections

  • High pedestrian activity around the level crossing creates traffic congestion, resulting in ‘rat-running’ through local streets, especially Station Road and Victoria Street.
  • The interaction between traffic lights, roundabouts and boom gates at the level crossing was also recognised as a challenge.
  • Community members wish to see reduced congestion through improved pedestrian signals and a reduction in heavy vehicles in the area.
  • ‘The boom gates can be down for up to five minutes, movement is severely restricted.’

Pedestrians and cyclists

  • Pedestrian crossings block vehicles in all directions around the level crossing.
  • New designated bike paths, pedestrian islands and grade-separated pedestrian and cyclist crossings were suggested as methods for improvement.
  • ‘Road traffic congestion is heavily impacted by both railway and pedestrian crossings stopping traffic.’

Local identity

  • History and heritage, particularly maritime, are central to the local character of Williamstown.
  • The level crossing acts as a gateway to Williamstown, with the station buildings holding importance as representations of local character.
  • The Williamstown community has a ‘village feel’ and this atmosphere makes people feel safe.
  • Community members expressed that they want to see the existing look and feel preserved and to avoid physical divisions in their community.
  • ‘Heritage and community feel are two of the main attributes of why we chose to live in Williamstown.’

Traffic banked up at the boom gates.

What’s next?

This initial phase of community consultation has provided the project team with useful information to feed into our design work.

The project team will be back out in the Williamstown community soon to discuss potential designs to remove the level crossing.

Construction will begin in early 2021, with the level crossing gone in 2022.

View the PDF version of this fact sheet PDF, 316.4 KB.

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