Black Forest Public Art Consultation

As I have indicated to most people over the weekend who received a letter last week from Council that the content in the letter was not as I, nor our CEO had expected.

In error we informed we would be doing the proposed art rather than seeking your input into the design and locations. 

As my blog title indicates I am here to represent you and advocate for you, which is exactly what I have done to right the confusion that the letter has created. I have spoken with our CEO and he has re-affirmed that we will be listening to what you, my neighbours, have to say.
He promised me on Saturday to prepare a letter apologizing for the confusion and seeking to clarify what we are seeking with you to achieve. I expect a letter may be mailed out tomorrow so watch your letter boxes.
Indeed, if I understand correctly, he has already received enough feedback on the Canterbury Terrace regrowth tree sculpture to meet his promise not to proceed with it if this is what you want. Not sure if has received many yet on the Cowper Road art.
Depending on what might come in on Cowper I believe we will likely formally seek input in November after the end of the caretaker mode caused by the elections. Seems the original letter should not have gone out under the caretaker provisions as our administration are not permitted to conduct a public consultation during this period.
Really. Conducting my business, even with all the red tape I am exposed to pales when compared to the red tape council has to endure. It (the red tape) is one of the contributing factors behind some of the mistakes we (as an organisation) make from time to time.
Watch out for his letter for confirmation of what he is offering.

Railworks Revegetation to Commence

The railways projects that have dogged Goodwood South for 18 months take their final works with the re-vegetation to be carried out by Council.

Cromer Parade and Arundel Avenue are the focus in our ward and Forestville Reserve will be the focus of our northern neighbours. Letters to Cromer Parade residents were posted yesterday and Arundel Avenue residents today advising of content and timing schedules.

It will be great to see this happening.

DPTI will be funding Arundel Avenue, and the northern end of Cromer Parade and Council has included the southern end of Cromer Parade in its 2014-15 annual business plan and budget.

Of course when I say final works there remains a number of things DPTI need to do which we have left in the capable hands of your State Local member Steph Key.

Much better than those Purple Dots

During a walk along the line yesterday with Jennie and Steph Key we noticed a great improvement to those throw screens at the Goodwood Junction.

The pictures, depicting the local architectural history, shown here were donated by local resident Molly Birch, and no doubt they have improved her outlook. Well done all involved. I reckon this is great.

And when the mural painting occurs later this year of the 4 sides of the Tram Overpass this area will have received a much needed face lift.

Now what we need is those purple dots to disappear.

Rail Revitalisation Not Complete

For those of you who are aware of inconsistencies in the rail corridor work and also that it is not complete Jennie & I “walked the line” yesterday with local state MP Steph Key.

Steph seemed in good spirits and relaxed and looking forward to serving you for the net three years. She was also very receptive to recognising that much is yet to be done before the project can be deemed complete.

Those of you (and there are many) who have indicated their disgust at those purple dots spattered around the junction rest assured. Your local MP agrees with you.

We identified many issues that need attention, including graffiti removal within the corridor, removal of supplied structure materials that have no apparent use, cementing in a light pole at Emerson Road (yes it is loose in a hole with two sand bags propping it up), removing a loose piece of fencing material used to bridge between a new fence and the adjoining neighbours fence and likewise barbed wire at the end of Parker Terrace.

 It includes determining if the gates that used to be provided at the Clarence Park Rail Station are to be returned to what DPTI have promoted is a less safe environment now; and why the ARC fencing used at Emerson and the Cyclone mesh fencing at Clarence Park have not been replaced with the new tubular fencing surrounding them.

Redesigning fences at both Emerson Avenue and Cranbrook/Arundel Avenue to improve site lines was also identified. Whilst on fences we identified as any of you are aware the corrugated iron along the bike path between Cromer Parade and Victoria Street is missing a number of screws and there are a number of joins in those sheets that are opening up and pulling free.

The same can be said for that expensive lattice screen along Arundel Avenue, which of course no longer is sighted by the turn out bay.

The overlapping of the corrugated sheets also will encourage early corrosion of the metal as they allow entry of water into the joints.

The list is too long to recreate here.

Suffice it to say, we had a willing ear from Steph, who believes the new Minister for Transport will be receptive.

PS        By the way. New graffiti, the responsibility of council (yes we get the ongoing maintenance of the new greenways), along the bike track has already been removed by council. Hopefully DPTI will acknowledge their commitment to remove that which has been there for an eternity on the corridor, noting they will allow no-one else access the area to do it for them.

Electric Trains A Plus

This afternoon I decided I needed to take a break and turn off for a while and this gave me an opportunity to unexpectedly experience the new 4000 electric train.

I felt an afternoon at Adelaide Oval was in order watching the Victorians crawl toward a draw after South Australia had them on the ropes. Of course I was not there 10 minutes and I ran into a resident from Fairfax Street Millswood and also residents from Cowper Road Black Forest.

This worked a treat once I found my own seat because such nail biting activity on the part of the Vics helped me simply drift away from all the activity that has recently consume me.

What I did not realize was I would find my first venture to Clarence Park Railway Station I would catch the new 4000 electric train.

It was a smooth and quite ride and I enjoyed it. The aisles were quite wide making it much easier to get from one end of the train to the other. This should prove beneficial.

The only downside was I felt the seats could have been wider than they are and the width of the aisle would suggest it may have been possible. I feel they are the same width as the trams.

All in all I give it a big tick.

And I reckon the train full of passengers checking it out would agree with me. The biggest number of passengers I have ever seen on a Sunday.

Wayville Station controversy prompts a deeper question

As the newly opened Wayville railway Station (actually named the Showgrounds Railway Station) is heralded a huge success by the State Government it has raised a number of eyebrows as an expensive and unnecessary addition to the State’s infrastructure.

The debate which arose before it was constructed has flared again, only a week after it was opened. And the headlines read ” The Phantom Passengers of Wayville Station”. This is clearly a dig at the fact that very few passengers are suing this brand new state of the art station.

I refer to an article by Sheradyn Holderhead in today’s Sunday Mail.

As I ventured by train into the Adelaide Oval to take in some Sheffield Shield cricket (unfortunately the game ended in a draw be we (SA) are still sitting atop the ladder) I could not help but notice not one passenger at this station.

Is this a big waste of taxpayers money by the current State Government is the question being asked. If I may I suggest the question should actually be should infrastructure precede housing or commercial development or follow it.

This Government has been oft criticised for not providing infrastructure before housing developments are allowed to proceed. Now they are being criticised for putting it on ahead of time. In my opinion infrastructure should come first so I applaud the Government for taking the opportunity when it presented itself.

With a Development Plan encouraging sometime in the future (not sure when) a significant and dense residential population between the Showground and Greenhill Road, perhaps it is timely.

I guess only time will tell if the expenditure on this project was justified or not.

On the other hand the rumour is the Government and the Showgrounds are in discussions with each other over an opportunity to create a Park & Ride on the north side of the Showgrounds. This of course will undoubtedly provide a degree of patronage to help justify the construction of the Station.

Indeed the Premier recently announced Wayville as part of a wider Park & Ride program costing $ 7.5 million, which he says will be funded from the proposed car park tax.

All the experts agree that the various north-south roads situated in the City of Unley are already overtaxed with peak hour traffic. And now the Government says it will encourage increased traffic into this area in order to service the otherwise Phantom Station.

So while I am in favour of infrastructure before housing or commercial development I am dead against a park & ride in an inner suburban location.

Please Mr Premier, do not screw up the western suburbs of the City of Unley. We need you or the opposition if they form the next Government to actually do the opposite and ease the commuter pressure on this inner suburban area.

Showground Station Opened

This morning I took the opportunity to preview the new rail station at Wayville, called the Showground Station prior to it’s being opened.

Heavy rain did not dampen my inspection and I have to say I am impressed. We could well do with replicating this elsewhere, not the size necessarily but the style and the amenity.
I can now catch the train to the various events at the showground. Woo Hoo!
Check out the photos

Rail Electrification Update

For those of you who are not on the DPTI mailing list for updates on the rail electrification project you might find the current update of interest.

You can access it at the link below

Rail Electrification Community Update

And stay tuned for an announcement from the Minister re the start of passenger services for the Electric Trains (The 4000 series)

Electric trains…coming soon but watch out for Suburban black outs when they do

The Good. A short while ago we (my wife & I) happened by chance to witness the trialing along our stretch of the line the new electric trains.
The Bad. Our neighbourhood suffered a black out at the precise moment it went past.

It is great news that the electric trains are being trialed along the full length of the Seaford Line. It means they can’t be too far away from carrying passengers. This adds to the news that the Wayville Station will be open on the 17th, maybe a precursor to the electric trains commencing even though there is no word on this yet.

As I said we happened on this event. The trains ARE so silent you don’t know they are coming. It was a fluke in other words I got to see them.

I did manage to get footage of one passing our door.

But my wife and neighbours were worried about a black out we experienced at precisely the time the train passed our door. Co-incidence or a fault that impacts on the power grid. I hope it is the former because (if not) there is going to be further outrage.

Warning—the decibels of discontent are lifting another notch

As I head of shortly to work (yes I need the money) I understand that there is yet another public meeting about to take place. That meeting organised again by Terina Monteagle and in which Vickie Chapman will attend.

It is to be held at the Victoria Street rail crossing in what I understand is a push by the Liberal State opposition to have all warning devices lowered in volume and pitch after DPTI acquiesced to do precisely that at Fairfax Street last week.

So we have our local member looking to receive a petition from Fairmont Avenue about the East Avenue crossing to take to the Minister and her opponent at Victoria Street where she will be presenting a petition to the Opposition Minister gathered by a resident close to that crossing.

Seems our little neighbourhood has become the focus of attention as the election campaign starts to pick up.

Warning Bells Saga lifts a couple of Decibels

After the success of the Cromer Parade and Millswood Crescent residents in getting the volume and pitch of the Fairfax Street pedestrian crossing lowered people power is targeting another crossing.

With the help of local State MP for Ashford Steph Key, a resident from Fairmont Avenue is putting a petition together to have the warning device at the East Avenue Rail Crossing likewise lowered. Steph has indicated she will present this petition to the Minister.

I must say that where i live some 200 m south of the crossing it is my impression that these bells have changed. I rarely heard them before and now they are a constant reminder that there is train traffic on the tracks again. Needless to say my wife & I both signed the petition.

If you have a problem with these warning bells and have not seen the petition can I recommend you let Steph know. She can include your input when confronting the Minister.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Tom Koutsantonis turns on new electric Noarlunga train lines

The news we have been waiting for. The electric trains are due next month.

This article from Adelaide Now refers.

And to add some sugar to the recipe. I was reading the notice we all received the other day and the Tonsley line is being electrified as we speak This of course means that as the rolling stock roll out (and my understanding is that may take a year to get the full fleet up and running) rolling through Goodwood South will be electric.

Public Meeting re ongoing concerns with Rail Revitalisation Project.

As a number of your neighbours celebrate the saving of the Sugar Gums this afternoon (see separate post on this blog site) the work in getting a fair deal from DPTI is not yet complete.

Many of you would be acutely aware of this. 

Some of you will be aware that Terina Monteagle (the Liberal candidate for Ashford) has undertaken to advocate for us with DPTI on the level pedestrian crossing on the Seaford line (adjacent Fairfax Street, Millswood). As a result of two public meetings concerning this have been held, one attended by Vickie Chapman, the Shadow Treasurer for Transport & Infrastructure.
Others along the corridor (you might be one of them) have asked Terina to look into other unfinished business.
In response to this Terina has organised another public meeting as detailed below. On her behalf sorry about the late notice, she has only just now confirmed the venue.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity and come along and air your remaining concerns about the work of DPTI.

A Celebration for once on the Corridor

Residents of Cromer Parade will be celebrating tomorrow afternoon at 5.00 pm with a flag raising.

The celebration of course is probably the most accomplishment of G-RAG during the liaisons with DPTI on the issues that the rail upgrade caused to our suburbs.

Unfortunately I have another commitment at that time but in my absence may I say this:

“As your local representative for the first time on Unley Council, I take pride in being part of a community that not only cherishes its environment but had the strength of character, but also the maturity to meet the threat on our neighbourhood with calm and reasoned debate and action. It has been a difficult and at times an energy sapping and emotionally draining year. We paid a huge price during the time DPTI trespassed into our space, some of us more than others, but the price was worth it. The price of inaction or inappropriate action on our part would have been far greater.
I encourage all of us to keep this community spirit as other major projects touch on our door steps again.
Well Done everyone”.


Those of you on the DPTI mailing list would have received this communication. For those of you who aren’t. 

The electric lines have been switched on.

The overhead wires along the railway lines between Seaford and Hallett Cove Beach were energised in June 2013, and between Hallett Cove Beach and Hove in November 2013. 

In January 2014, the remainder of the Seaford (formerly Noarlunga) line from Hove to Adelaide Railway Station is being ‘switched on’.  Overhead wires and attachments within the rail corridor will therefore be dangerous if interfered with, carrying 25,000 volts of electricity. 
Please click below for further information. 
Community update – rail electrification ‘switched on’ from Seaford to Adelaide Railway Station
Please, please, please do not interfere with the lines in any way!

Vindicated Again but without Recognition!

At this very late stage in the rail revitilisation project time frame and with no money to address any concerns raised by residents DPTI have worked out they need to provide a pedestrian maze on the south side of the Leader Street rail crossing.

DPTI undertook a safety audit for the level crossing at Leader Street recently as part of the Noarlunga Rail Electrification Project. One of the high risk issues identified was pedestrian movements on the southern side (currently no pedestrian crossing facility).  This issue will become a higher risk with the electrification of the railway line.

Curiously they (DPTI) dismissed observations by me at the beginning of the project, and by a number of residents at the various community engagement sessions they conducted, that this was needed. So when it is our idea it is not necessary and there is no money for it. When the crossing is up and running you are then able to find for out yourself (DPTI) that this is not only needed but because it is a HIGH risk, particularly with the electrical trains soon to run the line, that you need to do it, and now.

DPTI is proposing to install a pedestrian maze (identical to what is already present on the northern side of the level crossing). This will enable the pedestrians to cross the railway lines with improved safety. The traffic movements at Nairne and Richards Terraces will remain unchanged. There will be a loss of  2 car parking spaces (1 each on Leader St and Nairne Tce) in order to accommodate the proposed design. Cyclists movements will be retained on both Nairne and Richards Terraces. The proposed work is anticipated to be completed in first couple of months of 2014 with the works on railway tracks be undertaken before the electrification of the railway line.

Like I say….vindicated yet again….but I don’t expect to be recognised for having the vision, at least by DPTI.

And they (DPTI) still don’t get it.

Some who read the posts on this blog site may well remember my post early last year that read “DPTI just does not get it”. Well with the rail revitalization project stumbling toward completion I have repeat it.

I have received a number of complaints today at a street meeting about how DPTI have treated their observations and concerns with contempt, some past but some current. This demonstrates that DPTI are still getting under peoples noses.

Goodness I thought the project was finished some time back you might ask. As I noted in my last post DPTI may believe this but what this has done is to spark a whole new round of angst, through me, toward them and the Government.

A case in point; they have completed the pedestrian crossing just south of the grade separation tunnel, adjacent Fairfax Street, Millswood. It has been in operation for a while now. The crossing includes an audible warning which did not exist before because the oncoming trains (from the north) are now not visually apparent until almost on the crossing.

DPTI engineers have determined, not unreasonably at first look, to provide an automatic closing gate system couple with an audible warning. The problem is the audible warnings are way too loud for the comfort of adjacent residents, who were promised they would not be worse off before the project started.

It has been claimed the level of the audible warning (which is a hoot not a ding dong) is 73 dB. 75 dB I understand  is roughly the equivalent of a car horn. As a warning it is operating every 3 1/4 minutes during peak hour (trains are passing every 7 1/2 minutes each way, check the train schedules if you doubt me) and 7 1/2 minutes outside peak hour.

Hardly a warning if it is on that frequently I would have thought. And the vast majority of the time there is no-one using the crossing.

A resident has reasonably (in my opinion) offered a solution of reversing the gate function from being open all the time and automatically closing when a train approaches to one that is automatically locked all the time unless opened by the actions of a pedestrian. Of course of the automation system would have to recognize a train is approaching the gate preventing the gate to be manually opened by the pedestrian in that situation. An audible warning system becomes less necessary if this were the case I would have thought.

Their response to that residents reasonable suggestions as to how the safety they want can be achieved, was to simply to throw regulations at them. No recognition of the residents well reasoned, thought out attempt to be part of the solution or thanks for their looking to a solution rather than just venting.

Their response is to claim it was confirmed by an acoustic engineer commissioned to check the site that the alarm noise level output complies with the International Standard ISO 7731 and the volume is not required to be adjusted.

Sorry DPTI. That is just not good enough. You are sticking your neck in the sand in my opinion and using regulations to “blind people with science” who might have a concern with what you are doing.

Here is a big tip DPTI. You might want to check the statistics of pedestrian deaths in Australia on rail crossings. If what I was told today by an unqualified source the vast majority of deaths occur at crossings configured the way you have configured this one.

If this is true, might be time to change the regulations which you can do, as the regulator.

The Fight Continues…Unfortunately

DPTI believe the rail revitalization projects have reached the point where no further consultation is required. The angst still exists however and residents have indicated they are “over it”.

And here is my message to the State Government. The residents of Black Forest, Clarence Park & Millswood are part of a seat (Ashford) that they can ill afford to lose but are doing their best so to do. These people are not not pleased with what has happened to them and what continues to happen along the rail corridor.

By my observation there is much yet to be done on the project and disruption sufficient for them to treat us fairly with some warning of works, particularly the night works that are still impacting on the lives of the people of Black Forest, Clarence Park & Millswood. The trouble as I see it is however that they don’t know themselves what they are doing next.

As someone involved in construction for over 40 years my observations are that the contractors making the most disruption are reacting to issues (maybe signalling or the like). Hard to forewarn of that of course. Having said that they could level with us that they are having problems.

My experience is builders, departments, people don’t want to admit to having difficulties as they perceive they will look like idiots. My experience again those that do not communicate they are having difficulties look like idiots.

To be fair we had a letter prior to Christmas to indicate that there would still be some disruption. But that was 3-4 weeks ago, far from specific.

It has not been some disruption, it has been significant and a number of residents have shared their frustration with me on this. I too have experienced this being only 30 m off the line at Clarence Park.

A group of us shared experiences at a street meeting this morning and we were all subject to the same concerns.

  • Work commencing after midnight without warning.
  • Intrusive flashing lights
  • Hammering of metal on metal
  • Consistent loud and audible swearing by workers. (these guys are frustrated over something too)
And here is the rub. They are so frustrated by the lack of respect for their opinions over the 12 months or so that they are now simply waiting on the next 9 weeks to pass by and then register their concerns for the final time.