Royal Park “death-trap” crossing gets budget funding for much-needed upgrade

Royal Park “death-trap” crossing gets budget funding for much-needed upgrade
Carol Saffer

In January 2022, the Royal Park Stakeholders Network called for improvements to the dangerous “S-bend” on Poplar Rd at the Royal Park Railway Station and tram intersection.

Protectors of Public Land Victoria Inc. secretary Michael Petit said the network had been campaigning to the City of Melbourne to kickstart the safety upgrade as it was “a death trap and something that needs to be fixed.”

At the same time, Friends of Royal Park secretary Kaye Oddie added that Poplar Rd presented dangers for tram drivers due to poor sightlines in both directions.

And now, their campaign has paid off with an announcement that the upgrade would proceed.

On Wednesday, May 25, Ms Oddie received word from City of Melbourne Cr Rohan Leppert that $1.5 million had been allocated in the draft 2022-23 Budget for safety works and upgrades at Poplar Rd.

Cr Leppert quantified that the council and the state government were to each contribute $750,000, resulting in jubilation within the ranks of the Stakeholders Network.

“This joint council and state $1.5 million safety plan will greatly reduce the threat of serious injury or loss of life for the many visitors to Royal Park who arrive by train, tram, bicycle, and foot,” Mr Petit said.

“The dangerous ‘S-bend’ on Poplar Rd will be replaced by traffic signalling, and safe ways to push a pram, ride a bike and walk across in safety.”

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“I think it safe to say that we are all in a word, chuffed, and we are deeply grateful for the championship of Cr Leppert.”

Cr Leppert said he was delighted that this project was being funded at last.

“It is a testament to the persistence of locals and Royal Park advocates that the project has been prioritised,” he said.

“At $1.5 million this project isn’t cheap, but that’s because we need to synchronise pedestrian crossing signals with the rail crossing to avoid road traffic backing up over the rail line.”

Melbourne Zoo is a remarkably accessible zoo by world standards, with a dedicated railway station.

“The Poplar Rd pedestrian crossing will greatly improve the link between the zoo and Royal Park Station, and make this wonderful part of Melbourne safer for all road users and park visitors,” Cr Leppert added.

Royal Park Stakeholders Network, comprised of more than a dozen community groups, venues and council officers, was initiated in late 2020 to address concerns related to the use and conditions of the park.

Mr Petit said that forming the network was a step in the right direction to ensure individual groups informed each other of their objectives and plans so they could work collaboratively.


Caption: Members of Royal Park Stakeholders Network celebrate the council’s budget support.

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