The paper also proposes a “metro style” service to the airport – a Melbourne Metro 3 (MM3) – to connect current and growing activity centres and major urban renewal areas in the north-west region between the CBD and the airport.
“Extending the MM3 to Ringwood via Doncaster and Kew could fill a major gap in the radial passenger rail system in the eastern suburbs and provide better walk-up access, network connectivity and land use integration benefits.”
However, the debate about airport rail should not be too narrowly focused and reduced to a question of a single route for a railway, warns Woodcock.
“Demand for access to the airport by passengers and workers is already large and is predicted to grow to levels comparable to current arrivals at Heathrow Airport in London,” he said.
“The politics of the whole debate has so far prevented a railway from being built, because it is not possible for one railway line to meet all of the landslide access needs of the airport.
“We need several public transport connections to the airport and it will need to be firmly linked into the suburban public transport network through multiple modes and good connections between them.”
Extending the 59 tram by 7km from Airport West to the airport to go via Gladstone Park to would make it more useful to locals, Woodcock said.
“This is not a megaproject, and would improve airport and local access for everyone along its catchment,” he said.
“It may not be the quickest, but it would be a one-seat ride for anyone within walking distance from Elizabeth St in the City to Western Ave in Gladstone Park.
“We need to have many possible ideas set alongside each other and assessed for their merits, costs and benefits.
“And more importantly, we need a plan for how we change the way we move incrementally as well as transformationally.”
The community is invited to submit opinions, ideas and feedback via City of Melbourne’s Transport Strategy Refresh Participate website.
Additional discussion papers will be released over the next two months.
Story: Chanel Bearder