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Croydon station and how its relationship with the local area might change

It is not on the state government's list of 50 level crossings to be removed, however, the Coolstore Road level crossing in Croydon is nevertheless subject to some interesting preliminary conceptual work.  

In August 2016 Maroondah City Council appropriated $40,000 and engaged consultants to look into the possibilities for the Croydon town centre and the report on the outcomes of the preliminary findings was presented by Peter Marshall from K2 Group in June this year.

The council's Director of Planning and Communities stated in remarks prior to the presentation that the report will be used for to assist in community consultation and for potential advocacy purposes.

The consultants found that lowering the rail track under Coolstore Road and building a new Croydon station in a trench would be cost prohibitive because the existing line's gradient is already at maximum and lowering the track even further would likely require a longer trench that directly impacts the rail bridge over Mount Dandenong Road.

Instead, the report focuses on an elevated rail solution that would include a new elevated Croydon Station and significant re-working of the street network below. 

At present Coolstore Road is the only connection to either side of the rail corridor within Croydon town centre and the report highlighted how multiple connections could be created as well as unify the two bus stops into a single interchange and likewise, 1.1 hectares of public open space would be created.

Infil next to the station building on the land to either side is also present in the report - the video below highlights all aspects that were covered.

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The Lilydale branch of the Ringwood corridor has two level crossings on the list of 50 to be removed - Manchester Road in Mooroolbark and the Maroondah Highway in Lilydale - leaving the line with 3 level crossings: Coolstore Road in Croydon, Dublin Road in Ringwood East and Melba Avenue in Lilydale.

As stated in the June 2017 council video, Maroondah council is lobbying for this level crossing to be removed and the council ought to be congratulated for taking the initiative to identify possibilities. 

Some ratepayers might take issue with the bill however it's a relatively small price to pay to have preliminary advice presented to the council; the rail engineers and consultants were quick to rule out a trench option for crossing removal and the reasons stated - gradients and impacts on Mount Dandenong Road - pass the pub test.

The most interesting aspect of the presentation, however, is its focus on presenting a far more complete vision for the local town centre - the new elevated station & its unified bus interchange, far better street connecting across the rail corridor, the enhanced and new open space and the inclusion of mocked-up in-fill development opportunities.

According to the Level Crossing Removal Authority's map, 44 level crossings have either been removed, are currently being removed or the main design and consultation process is underway.  The remaining 6 crossings are still in pre-design phase.

It's likely that before next year's election campaign kicks off, the remaining 6 crossings will be unveiled and hopefully, all the main political parties outline their plans for the level crossings that remain beyond the list of 50. 

While Croydon might not be at the top of a subsequent post-50 list, the groundwork that's already been laid puts it in good stead.  

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