Greens push for $60 million east west tram link from North Melbourne to Richmond

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Melbourne Leader: Greens push for $60 million east west tram link from North Melbourne to Richmond. Nic Price. 14 August 2014

The Greens are lobbying for tram track works in 17 locations around Melbourne, including the construction of 2.1km of new tracks to better link North Melbourne and Richmond.

The Greens want to create a new tram line direct from North Melbourne train station to Richmond by filling in gaps in the network.

But the State Government said it would simply duplicate an existing bus route.

The tram would run mainly along established tracks on Victoria Parade, but two sections of new track would have to be built at an estimated cost of about $60 million.

The 2.1km of new track would be built between North Melbourne station and Errol St, along Dryburgh, Spencer and Hawke streets, and on Victoria St, between Spring and Swanston streets.

Greens candidate for Melbourne Ellen Sandell said the new route would be “the real East West link that Melburnians want and need”.

“At the moment, if you live in North Melbourne and want to visit a friend in Fitzroy, or travel from Carlton to Smith St to go shopping, it’s impossible without going in to the CBD and back out again,” Ms Sandell said.

“Particularly at peak times this is a real inconvenience, and adds pressure to trams that are already operating at 150 per cent capacity.”

“People don’t want to rely on their cars, and we’ve got practical, affordable solutions to help make it happen.”

The link is part of $840 million of track works in 17 locations around greater Melbourne the Greens are lobbying for.

But Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the tram route would duplicate existing bus route 402 from North Melbourne to St Vincent’s Plaza.

“The Victorian Coalition Government recognises the important role that trams play in meeting travel needs in Melbourne and is continually reviewing existing routes and the need for potential new routes,” he said.

“These reviews consider issues such as the likely number of users, suitability of the road network for tram operations, development of a direct and easily understood network, connectivity with other public transport services and the costs of providing the services.”

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