Whittlesea Council receives 2000 postcards supporting Access Denied campaign, Mayor Mary Lalios says

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Whittlesea Leader: Whittlesea Council receives 2000 postcards supporting Access Denied campaign, Mayor Mary Lalios says. Katrina Hinschen. May 20, 2014.

Whittlesea mayor Mary Lalios, Aurora Community Association president Toni Marie Wuelfert and South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance president Darren Peters.

Angry residents have sent more than 2000 postcards to Whittlesea Council pledging support for the Access Denied campaign.

The postcards call on the state Labor and Liberal parties to commit to build the O’Herns Rd and Hume Freeway interchange and extend the rail line from South Morang to Mernda.

Whittlesea mayor Mary Lalios said with another 29 weeks until the State Election in November, the council was confident it would continue to be inundated with postcards from frustrated residents who have had enough of road congestion.

Would you like to see a rail extension to Mernda and/or O’Herns Rd/Hume Freeway interchange? Tell us why below or email Whittlesea Leader

“We fully expect to get well in excess of 5000 postcards, which we will present to State Parliament and formally call on both parties to make a commitment to fund these crucial transport projects in their first term if they are elected into government in November,” Cr Lalios said.

Aurora Community Association president Toni-Marie Wuelfert said she was not surprised a large number of residents had joined in.

“Our rapidly expanding residential neighbourhoods have very few access roads in and out, and our families are left sitting in their vehicles on roads choked with traffic when they should be home with their children or participating in community life,’’ she said.

>>> WHITTLESEA MAYOR SAYS STATE BUDGET A ‘REAL BLOW’ FOR RESIDENTS CRYING OUT FOR BASIC TRANSPORT SERVICES

Ms Wuelfert said the call to connect O’Herns Rd with the Hume Freeway would relieve the congested Hume Freeway/Cooper St interchange and allow for the imminent traffic growth once the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable and Flower Market opens.

South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance president Darren Peters expects more postcards.

“Frustration about the lack of a railway to Mernda is at boiling point and residents want to know which party is going to solve these issues so they may vote for them in September,’’ Mr Peters said.

“The Mernda railway extension is the number one issue in the seat of Yan Yean and for Liberal and Labor it will be the deciding factor for whether or not they win the seat.

“I encourage everyone to support the Access Denied campaign by heading to the website and sending an email to their local MP and signing and sending in an Access Denied postcard.”

Doreen resident Claudio DiGiorgio penned the 2000th Access Denied postcard and said every day his commute to work was a struggle.

“Two years ago I was working in the city and the South Morang rail wasn’t finished yet, it was three hours of travel a day,’’ he said.

“I thought I’d get a job closer to home and now I’m working at Mill Park Secondary College.

“Closer to home you’d think 15 minutes to get to work — no, it takes me at least an hour.”

>>> MERNDA RESIDENT TRAVELS TWO HOURS TO WORK EVERY DAY, CALLS ON MAJOR PARTIES TO COMMIT TO RAIL EXTENSION

Mr DiGiorgio, 30, works in information technology and said he took a pay cut to work closer to home but the traffic had continued to stress him.

“You can’t go anywhere, or if you have to go anywhere it just takes too long,’’ he said.

“We have friends who are moving out of the area because they can’t take it anymore.”

He said more housing would make the traffic worse.

YOU CAN SUPPORT THE ACCESS DENIED CAMPAIGN BY:

>> VISITING THE CAMPAIGN WEBSITE HERE,

>> ‘LIKING’ THE EXTEND THE RAIL LINE TO MERNDA’S FACEBOOK PAGE HERE;

>> AURORA COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION’S FACEBOOK PAGE HERE; AND

>> WHITTLESEA LEADER’S FACEBOOK PAGE HERE.

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