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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Blinky the bear sounds off!

How much can a koala bear?

While out walking last week your blogger and ever-faithful blue heeler happened upon an irate local resident.

Upon inquiring of the cause of his trouble, Blinky, of Minchinbury Terrace let fly with such a spray of invective that even the cattle dog from Queanbeyan (see profile pic) visibly blushed.

'Angry? I'm bloody ropable,' he spat. Koalas are notoriously cranky when woken during the day, but it seems this one had deeper issues.

'First I've got to put up with being endangered, but now I hear I'm f**kin' fictitious!!'

How so, I inquired of the foul-mouthed marsupial.

Turns out that the bear's neighbours on Minchinbury Terrace, had tried to alert DPT&I to his existence as part of the 'community consultation' (*sham up*) run by the department back in May. 

Upon being informed that eucalyptus trees lining the road verge formed a wildlife corridor, the departmental bods responded with a dismissive wave and concluded "it's not like you've got koala bears just wandering along the rail corridor, is it?"
Blnky of Marion, eyes up the chainsaws

'How do they think I get along it? Catch a taxi?' said Blinky, again unleashing the kind of cursing that would do a sailor proud, but is seldom heard in the dress circle of Marion. 

Blinky maintains that he's worked bloody hard for this country, what with putting us on the map as a travel destination for Asian newlyweds and the rest... With all the corporate offshoring, Blinky reckons he's had the devil's own job trying to get the balance of payments sorted.  

'Would it kill you to buy Australian?' opined the national treasure.

Not one to idly whinge, or take things lying down, Blinky undertook to get DPTI's attention via the Oaklands Estate Residents' Association.  In fact, he went straight to the top of the tree (where the leaves are sweeter), organising a meeting with the President, which was recorded in the association's latest newsletter.

'Fred was alright', said Blinky, 'Nice bloke. Bushwalker - dunno where he finds the energy. But at least he didn't treat me like a friggin' unicorn!'

Fred wrote to DPT&I to ask them to clarify what exactly was involved in tree pruning. 

How much of the canopy is removed exactly and what happens if you 'prune' a tree to death, is that considered removal? Does tree death trigger compensation? Blinky believes OERA is still waiting for a reply.

Similar queries (and more) were put from a resident at number 12 Abbeville.  If you have to take out the big redgum at the end of Bassi Street why not keep the trunk in the ground so that the animals could still use the limbs and hollows he asked? 

Surely this would also stop the kind of slumping we see at the northern end of the platform where a 300 year old redgum was removed two years ago? And shouldn't we prune koala food species lightly and replant something for them to eat?

'If we went to this much trouble at one station, what kind of rail system would we be running?' reasoned the bureaucrats.

'A good one!' said Blinky.

What do you think?

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Monday, 2 September 2013

Have you seen Blinky?

Blinky on the verge: 28 August 2013

Has anyone spotted this koala since the pruning and earthworks began?

This picture was taken at dusk on Monday, August 28 on Minchinbury Terrace at the overpass end of the station.  Since then it's been very noisy due to all the earth works, tree pruning and tree removal.

If you've seen him please send us an email

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Rail users rate the options

Thank you to all residents and rail users who chose to complete our community survey to rate three possible layouts for Marion station.

We tallied all the replies we received and delivered them to DPTI and to Minister Tom Koutsantonis within the timeframe set out by the minister to consult with the local community.

Collection of your responses began at the DPT&I Open Day, held at Hamilton High School on Thursday, July 25. We wanted to give you a chance to attend the open day, listen to DPTI's prsentation, ask questions and then judge the merits of each argument for yourself. Accordingly all respondents were asked to listen to the presentation before completing the survey.

For anyone who wasn't able to make the open day (or did attend but just wanted time to think things through) we collected community surveys from people up to the closure of consultation on Monday, July 29. 

Unacceptable option

From a total of 159 survey respondents, 154 of you rated a subway only option at the station as unacceptable, with one person saying that this option was their first preference, providing it was 'properly designed with minimum overway'.

The other two options were:

  • Option A, a gated level crossing at the northern end of the platform and a pedestrian foot bridge at the southern end of the station, nearest Westminster School oval.
  • Option B, two gated level crossings at either end of the platform.

Acceptable options

Many of you indicated that either A or B were acceptable, with 154 of 159 indicating option A was acceptable and 148 respondents rating option B as acceptable.

First preference

One hundred and four people indicated that option A was their first preference, while 55 indicated a gated level crossing as their first preference.

Disabled, aged and vulnerable

Of the 13 respondents who indicated that you are aged, mobility-impaired (such as walk with a stick or a frame) or commute via a wheelchair, none indicated that the subway was an acceptable option for them.

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Saturday, 27 July 2013

Statistics don't answer Leann's question

Leann from Minchinbury Terrace wanted to pass on a statistic she received in reply to an inquiry made on rail safety this week.

When questioned as to how removing an overpass and a level crossing and providing all pedestrians with a single point of access to the platform could be considered safer, a DPTI representative responded with the following statistics:

"There have been 23 collisions and 717 near misses between pedestrians and trains on the SA Rail network over the last five years" DPT&I rail revitalisation project team.

This is a large, scary number, however, it doesn't really answer Leann's question. Her query relates to whether or not a single point of access (particularly one that people don't want to use - say, like a subway) introduces a rail risk.  

If that point of access encourages trespass, for example, it would seem that Leann is quite correct.


But this statistic is also seems to radically overstate the risks of pedestrian crossings in general and the one at Marion in particular

The most recent publicly available SA data says that of 16 recorded people-train collisions, three occurred at level crossings.

Over 4 of those 5 years:
  • Three  people were hit at pedestrian level-crossings.
  • Thirteen people were hit at platforms, trespassing, or in some other way.
It is also unknown what the extent of injury occurred in these incidents. Note that collisions are presumed to be fatalities. It's not actually clear if they were or not, based on the information Leann received. 

What it does mean?

It seems that the sad reality is that if every level crossing in Adelaide had been removed from the network in the past five years, 13 of the 16 people recorded here would still have been struck by a train.

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Saturday, 20 July 2013

After Warradale, no thanks!

I used to live at Warradale before we moved here to Marion.  I'm not at all keen on this underpass idea. In Warradale we lived two streets back from an underpass. My Dad and my uncle are with the Police, so we've been taught from an early age to steer clear of them. 

I have been in the Warradale one though. Aside from the way people treat the underpass, which is usually as somewhere to vomit or go to the toilet, the one at Warradale has some kind of drug house nearby.  What it means is that people go there to Warradale to score and use the underpass as a safe space for drug taking.  There was always drug paraphenalia down there.

I used to walk down to the next station to use the zig zag crossing closer to Brighton Road rather than use it - which was ridiculous really because we wanted something close to public transport, then you're walking for miles.

We'll be doing the same here if this goes ahead - which is really annoying!  We bought this place because we hoped to send Eamon (2) to Sacred Heart when he's old enough.  We thought it would a great, safe place to live where we could actually walk our kids to school of a morning.  

I'm apprehensive of going into any sort of underpass, especially on my own.

We're glad that the residents here got together to talk about this.  If we hadn't gotten their flyer through our letterbox we would never have known what was being planned.  What kind of consultation is that?

We live two streets back and you think you can just ram through an underpass and no-one will be any the wiser? These people must think we're idiots.

I heard from the meeting that they consulted Westminster, which is good, but I don't imagine they'd be for it. They've got loads of parents there who would feel just as worried as I do about what could happen to their kids.

I know that a lot of people are not aware of some of the issues that we have even in this area, but because I'm from a police family I'm probably more aware than other parents of some of the stuff that can go on.

By all means give us some grade separation - maybe an overpass - as well as a crossing.  I'll use a level crossing with Eamon if we're walking together and when he's old enough I'll tell him to use an overpass or teach him how to cross safely when he's in school.  But what am I supposed to teach him about being stuck in a tunnel with someone who's six foot tall and 32 when he's a young boy of 38-40 kilos? 
The only thing I can teach him is what my Dad told me - steer clear of it! 

Olivia, Abbeville Terrace

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Monday, 8 July 2013

Marion residents have their say on the station

Were you there? 
We might have caught you on camera.
See video footage of residents arriving for the start of Saturday's public meeting where Marion residents made clear their opposition to a proposed rail subway.

"I will ask the minister to put it on hold" Patrick Conlon MP for Elder

This is the biggest street corner meeting I've been to I think - and I've been around a long time!" Vickie Chapman, Shadow Minister for Transport.

Reporting from the Messenger

The Herald Sun National News Online this week ran a story on residents' fight to be heard, with a story entitled 'Angry residents opposed unsafe underpass at Marion station'.

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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Yvonne of Marion calls for gated crossings

Yvonne of Marion has written letters to State MPs on this issue.  She shares some of her thoughts with us below.
As one who has lived near the Marion Railway Station since 1965 I am most interested and concerned at some of the development taking place there. The public meeting at Westminster School on Sunday 23 June was informative. I appreciated the frank and open discussion with representatives of DPTI, and the opportunity to express some worries.
My biggest worry is the safety for all those especially children using the pedestrian crossing. I still recall with horror the tragic accident that occurred before the overpass was built to avoid future deaths. I also know from experience that even with the overpass in place some children and even some adults would jump the railway fence to avoid using it.
My firm opinion is that only an automatic gated level crossing for pedestrians- similar to the existing one at Oaklands Park Railway Station - at BOTH ends of the Marion Station will provide adequate safety.  The proposed underpass at ONE end of the station will not ensure this protection for long. It is inevitable that despite warnings pupils and adults will be jumping fences to take a quicker and shorter but much less safe route.
As a regular user of the railway I am also worried about my personal safety in an underpass, even an open one, when so many stories are told about unfortunate incidents in previous underpasses like those at Edwardstown, Ascot Park and Brighton  stations.
My other concern should the proposed underpass go ahead is that significant trees in the vicinity will be damaged and removed in its construction. I understand that with the electrification of the line safety is paramount, and that some trimming even removal of trees may be needed. Nevertheless this damage to the environment will be minimised if the underpass is not constructed.
May I urge you to replace the existing overpass with automated gated pedestrian crossings at each end of the Marion Station?
Yvonne of Marion