Poor community consultation by VicRoads costs taxpayers

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The lemon scented gum report. from Daniel Doody on Vimeo.

Along Mt Alexander Road in Parkville, is a lemon scented gum tree that sits on an island median strip, that City Link want to remove to introduce two new lanes and create a smooth traffic flow… they have already cut down 4 trees, but VicRoads are still in discussion with the community on alternative arrangements to keep this one.

UPDATE 2: Monday 25th July 2016: news is circulating that VicRoad may move on removing the Lemon-scented Gum in the next 24-48 hours, it’s imperative to show support & contact Guardians of the Flemington Road Gum if you can volunteer to guard the tree.

UPDATE 1: VicRoads has reviewed Option 6 and provided a response. The attached table presents a guardian response to the VicRoads comments that were clearly aimed at discrediting the alternative design rather than moving closer to embracing a much safer alternative for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. It is now up to Transurban to determine whether they will ignore the better design that has been developed.

Read Option 6: Flemington Road Intersection  |  Read VicRoads response

Media Release: Poor community consultation by VicRoads costs taxpayers $40,000-$50,000 a day (25 July 2016) By Guardians of the Flemington Road Gum

FlemingtonRd_Gum1VicRoads’ failure to engage in community consultation over the redesign of the Tullamarine Freeway Flemington Road off ramp and intersection in Parkville that includes the removal of a stand of mature lemon-scented gums is costing Victorian taxpayers $40,000-$50,000 a day.

Local residents have come together under the name Guardians of the Flemington Road Gum in an attempt to protect the remaining landmark tree classified as significant by the National Trust, potentially one of the first native Australian trees planted in a Melbourne roadway reserve.

After being directed by the City of Melbourne to investigate alternative designs that retained the trees, VicRoads pushed ahead with their original intersection design and began removing the trees on 25 June this year. The Guardians managed to save the one large significant tree.

Less than two weeks later, in a second aggressive move, locals were woken by chainsaws at 1am as the canopy of the significant tree was targeted in a surprise midnight raid. Quick-thinking residents were again able to save the tree by stepping in between its trunk and the work crew.

Since that night, the Guardians have maintained a 24 hour a day, seven day a week presence at the tree. They have also been working with a civil engineer to create a design for the intersection that will retain the tree while meeting all VicRoads’ safe roadway design requirements.

Local residents state that their design proposal provides for a safe 60kph travel speed for all lanes through the intersection, a safer off-road bicycle path on the northern side of Flemington Road and a mid-way point under the significant tree for pedestrians required to cross five lanes of traffic between the tram stop and the northern side of Flemington Road; better safety measures for cyclists and pedestrians than VicRoads’ preferred design, while providing the same number of traffic lanes.

FlemingtonRdGum_April16This safer design was submitted to Peter Holcombe-Henley, Project Manager of the CityLink Tulla Widening project last week for evaluation by independent road designers, and their findings will be delivered today. Under legislation to which VicRoads is subject, the Guardians will seek to have a right of reply to the finding of this review, if required.

Mr Holcombe-Henley has previously stated to the media that all design options for the intersection have been fully investigated and evaluated. Through submitting their design to VicRoads, the
Guardians hope to be able to work with VicRoads and Transurban to produce the best outcomes in road design, local amenity and the environment for this intersection.

A petition created by the National Trust on change.org delivered to VicRoads and the Minister for Transport Luke Donellan has attracted more than 2,800 supporters.

Quotation

‘We are optimistic about having a mutually beneficial, cost-effective outcome to the Flemington Road intersection. With safety as a priority for all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians, and an appreciation for the local environment, we hope to have a win-win situation.’

Media Contact: Sue Freeland 0458724665 email: sfreeland0458(AT)gmail.com

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