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Preston community update – October 2020

09 Oct 2020

Take a look at Bell and Preston station designs

We’re working hard on designs to remove dangerous and congested level crossings at Murray Road, Cramer Street, Bell Street and Oakover Road in Preston and build two new stations.

Boom gates on Bell Street in Coburg are now gone. This is the first step in making Bell Street level crossing free for the nearly 100,000 drivers who travel from the Tullamarine Freeway to Doncaster each day. The boom gates in Preston will be gone in 2022.

Across the Upfield and Mernda lines, eight level crossings will be gone for good with four new stations built. These will be removed by the end of 2022 with open space ready for locals to enjoy in 2023. The Preston Level Crossing Removal Project will provide significant new open space underneath the two kilometre rail bridge.

A shared walking and cycling path from Oakover Road through to Murray Road will connect locals to the new stations and open space.

The new Bell and Preston stations will be safer and more accessible for the 4,000 plus people that use them each weekday with features including:

  • upgraded modern facilities including waiting rooms
  • elevated platforms with seating protected from Melbourne’s weather
  • lifts and stairs making it easier for everyone to catch the train
  • more spaces for you to securely lock your bike

Why these level crossings have to go

  • 82,000 vehicles use these four level crossings each day
  • Boom gates down for 40% of the morning peak
  • More than 200 trains travel through these crossings each day
  • The Mernda Line carries approximately 33,000 passengers each weekday
  • Improving east-west connections in Melbourne's inner north as we remove two Bell Street level crossings in Coburg and Preston.

New Bell Station. Artist impression only. Subject to change.

Open spaces – what we heard

During our recent consultation, we received over 700 ideas and insights from Preston locals on how they’d like their new open spaces developed.

  • 5,259 online views
  • 158 surveys completed
  • Email updates sent to 2,342 subscribers
  • 551 pins dropped on the online map
  • 18,500 flyers mailed to residents and business

After analysing all the pins dropped, comments made, and survey ratings we heard that green open space is overwhelmingly welcomed as part of the project.

Two key priorities emerged from the feedback – safety and accessibility - along with five popular ideas for open space.

Top five categories:

  1. Parks, gardens and seating
  2. Walking and cycling
  3. Sports and recreation
  4. Playgrounds
  5. Art and culture

To read more what we heard the open space feedback report is available online.

Station precincts

The new Bell and Preston stations are designed to make it easier and safer for locals and visitors to move in and around the local area.

New signalised pedestrian crossings at Bell Street and Murray Road makes it safer for passengers travelling by bus to the station. Upgraded walking paths will improve accessibility and shorten travel times.

Both stations will have a kiss-and-ride zone with five car spaces, making it easier for taxis and drivers picking-up and dropping-off passengers.

A parkiteer will feature at each station providing a secure place to store bikes. Located near the dedicated bike path it will deliver better and safer access for cyclists.

The elevated station platforms will be accessed by lifts and stairs. The lifts are big enough to accommodate mobility scooters, wheelchairs and prams, and are run off a separate power supply.

Raising the rail line creates new east-west connections that previously didn’t exist, such as:

  • being able to get to the stations from every direction
  • Preston City Oval being easily accessible for residents living on the west side of the rail line
  • safely reconnecting Shower and Bruce Streets for pedestrians and cyclists
  • walking to the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre from High Street via Garnet and Isaac Streets

There’s also a shared walking and cycling path connecting the new open spaces and the stations under the rail bridge.

We’re looking forward to delivering a project that will revitalise the area with modern facilities and spaces for all to enjoy.

Going Green

Bell and Preston Stations are leading the way in sustainability.

To maximise the environmental benefits, we’re working to minimise the project carbon footprint and water consumption through a number of initiatives such as:

  • Generating electricity through solar panels on station roofs for operation
  • Collecting rainwater in water tanks to be re-used for toilet flushing
  • Using energy efficient lighting with LED lights in the station main buildings, concourse, platforms and car parks
  • Building stations with environmentally friendly building materials

Both stations are being designed to allow for future use of the High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT).

Preston Precinct Plan

Map showing existing commuter cycle path, new shared use path, signalised crossings, POSAP areas, screening to substation and car parks, between Bell and Preston stations.

Bell Station

New Bell Station at night. Artist impression only. Subject to change.

The new Bell Station design reflects Preston’s historically rich post-World War II house roof tops and the existing vibrancy of the art and culture scene. Aspects from each can be seen through the building's abstract pitched roofs and coloured glazing.

Relocating the new Bell Station about 40 metres south creates the space required for a dedicated kiss-and-ride area with access via Garnet Street, separating drivers accessing the station car park from the drop-off and pick-up zone. It also increases the open space for the new station forecourt between Bell Street and the new Bell Station, providing better pedestrian access and east-west connections.

To do this Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) maintenance depot will be relocated, reducing the number of large vehicles on Garnet, Adeline and Gertrude streets.

The new car park will have 77 car spaces and will be access via Gertude Street with an additional exit via Adeline Street.

All station car parks will have lighting, CCTV and landscaping to provide a buffer between local streets.

Preston Station

Preston Station seating and landscaping. Artist impression only. Subject to change.

As the gateway to Preston’s shopping district, Preston Station’s design incorporates the liveliness of the area. The bright coloured façade is envisioned as a bar code that reflects the vivid colours of produce that can be found at Preston Market. Located in the same area, the new station will make it easier and safer for the community to get to where they want to go in Preston.

Relocating the eastern station car park makes space for greenery, seating and new shared walking and cycling paths through the area, making it an inviting space for locals and visitors to enjoy.

Preston Station car park will have 254 car spaces split across four locations providing parking options for passengers travelling from the north and south. Car parks will be located at Cramer Street, which will include accessible permit parking and the kiss-and-ride zone, Edith Street, St Georges Road and Murray Road which is accessed via Clinch Avenue.

For more information on the new stations visit our website.

How we're transforming Preston

What we’ll do with community feedback

Open space feedback has been provided to the Preston Open Space Advisory Panel (POSAP). Made of community members POSAP will focus on three identified areas where they can have the most influence. POSAP input and feedback from the broader community will be considered in all open space areas.

These spaces under the rail bridge will be available for community to use but we need to consider:

  • Bell and Preston station precincts that include car parking, walking and cycling access, connections to bus and other modes of transports plus pick-up and drop-off zones
  • Functional elements of the rail bridge and train line for trains to operate safely such as underground signalling, communication and high voltage lines. We also need to include drainage basins and swales to maintain existing ground conditions for rainwater movement plus provide access for train monitoring and maintenance.

The Preston Open Space Advisory Panel will also use this community feedback to form the basis of their discussions over the coming months to create places the community can enjoy for generations to come.

  • Community open space feedback
  • Preston Open Space Advisory Panel
  • Project design open space
  • Preston Open Space Advisory Panel
  • Community open space feedback
  • New Community open space designs released

Green-open-space at Preston-Station. Artist impression only. Subject to change.

Preston Open Space Advisory Panel goes digital

We've held monthly meetings via Zoom, with members building on feedback from the online open space engagement.

Each of the nine members selected belong to different parts of the community and bring a diverse range of interests. This includes parents, local community group members and workers as well as a Darebin City Council representative.

We look forward to sharing with you the spaces that are being designed by locals for locals.

POSAP timeline

March 2020
  • Nominations
May 2020
  • Members announced
  • Meeting one
June 2020
  • Meeting two
July 2020
  • Meeting three
September 2020
  • Meeting four
October 2020
  • Meeting five
November 2020
  • Community open space feedback
  • Open space designs released

For more information about POSAP, visit our website.

Project timeline

2017 - 2018
  • Site investigations
  • Technical and engineering assessments
  • Government commitment to remove additional crossings on the Mernda line
  • Confirm design
  • Further engineering investigations
  • Community engagement on what's important to the Preston community
  • Concept designs
  • Further community engagement on defined, negotiable elements of the design
  • Design finalised
  • Early work begins
  • Construction
  • Level crossing removed and stations opened
  • Open space ready for locals to enjoy

* Timeline subject to change

View the PDF version of this community update PDF, 1.2 MB.

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