Docklands News reported (01/10/13) Yarra's Edge residents were growing increasingly worried about the proposed tram bridge as outlined in the Fishermans Bend draft vision. Under the headline "Yarra's Edge tram bridge outrage", Docklands News quoted boat owners as saying they would oppose any low-level bridge that would restrict access to the Marina.
The article similarly quotes the Planning Minister as saying "the bridge was more than 20 years off from being built" and then quotes a Places Victoria representative as saying "a tram link between Collins Street and Yarra's Edge would be in place within 10 years". Confused? You're not alone.
Whilst a tunnel might keep the boat owners of Yarra's Edge happy, we need to look at the overall benefits of building the cheaper option: a low-level bridge:
One potential idea is to slowly move the berths to the west of the proposed bridge alignment as leases in their current position expire therefore allowing a fixed bridge to be built maximising the public's return on investment in the bridge.
If you're to believe the Places Victoria representative's timeframe of 10 years then an opening bridge could be built with a view to lock it in position over a longer timeframe once the berths have moved away from their current position. In 10 years, Fishermans Bend (in particular the Lorimer precinct) isn't likely required to have super-high frequency services traversing the river (therefore periods each hour for opening could be catered for), but in 20 years time (the Planning Minister's quoted timeframe) demand for high frequency access to and from Fishermans Bend is likely to be much greater with the entire redevelopment zone underway in some shape or form.
On the loss of open / green space, it is well within the realms of possibility to acquire the site on the opposite side of Lorimer street (pan the street view below around 180 degrees) to even increase the amount of open space available to existing Yarra's Edge residents, mitigating the obvious loss of existing green space should a low-level bridge be the preferred option.
As I wrote two weeks ago, the most interesting part of the Fishermans Bend draft vision was the eventual form this new link would take. I just didnt think it would be this quick for the locals to fire up.