Advice from Rucker Councillor Trent McCarthy is that VicTrack and Darebin are settling on a form of peppercorn leasing arrangement for the land on the corner of St Georges Rd and Merri Parade. While it seems strange that this site, remote from rail corridors, continues to be owned by the state railway, this is good news. Hopefully the arrangement will allow Darebin to improve the presentation of this gateway site in the coming years as part of the re-landscaping of St Georges Rd, following the Melbourne Water infrastructure upgrades. So, with effusive gratitude to our representatives on Council and in State Parliament (Trent McCarthy, Steven Tsitas, Fiona Richardson - thank you), we can dial this one down to 'resolved.'
There's more encouraging news from Fiona Richardson's office on the Merri Street Crossing; Minister Luke Donnellan has responded to Fiona's representation on our behalf, advising VicRoads have acknowledged the protracted safety issues around the crossing from Union Street to the bike path and are keen to engage with Council on a safer crossing solution. It's likely this will be a refuge island, but I hold out some hopes for lights to assist motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike, particularly with a major bike route needing to be redirected through the area while Melbourne Water does its thing on St George's Rd. Darebin Council have set aside some funding in the next financial year to assist with state road projects across the City, so hopefully this will be an early contender.
There's also an undertaking to upgrade the St George's Rd signage, warning large trucks not to enter Merri Parade and get trapped by the rail bridge. Hopefully this will help reduce the general carnage!
We'll advise once all this is nailed down, but for now, this is positive progress. Thanks to everyone in various levels of government, statutory bodies and community for lending your support to a remarkably complex local issue, which we hope to see resolved very soon.