Opinion

Period of public feedback for proposed Shepparton overpass

By Shepparton News

No doubt a proposed pedestrian overpass bridging the railway line at Shepparton railway station would add welcome accessibility and amenity to the site.

It would allow for improved access for those disembarking trains at Shepparton station, at the very least providing welcome direction towards the city’s central business district.

Judging by concept drawings, the proposed design looks to acknowledge the region’s fruit industry, replicating a conveyor-belt.

And certainly, if used, clear walking and cycling links connecting the station with the central business district and the lake have the potential to increase activity

These are all clear benefits of such infrastructure becoming a reality.

But a few valid questions remain unanswered, some of which were highlighted by Shepparton Chamber of Commerce president Carl Hainsworth in yesterday’s News.

Firstly, there is the cost.

While perhaps unproductive to ask what else the funding has the potential to buy, a more applicable question could be what sort of benefits beyond these, within the scope of the railway precinct masterplan project, can be achieved with similar funding levels.

For one, if the goal is to better connect both sides of Shepparton railway station, how would $20million progress the proposal to re-develop the station so it opened out on to the central side of the railway tracks?

Secondly, there is the question of how much the overpass and pathway links would be used.

While this is difficult to assess, Mr Hainsworth suggested many commuters were picked up by car or take a taxi from the station.

This should not be a reason to not cater to or encourage other modes of transport.

If improved connections are built, this may change.

It is also worth noting Shepparton’s railway service is set to improve in the coming years, with more frequent and faster services.

With this, one imagines, demand will increase on the city’s rail line.

While considering these proposals now could be read as council planning ahead for this, Mr Hainsworth suggests waiting until demand has increased sufficiently to deem these improvements — the overpass and the pathway links — necessary.

These are valid questions to ponder, especially with plans still out for a period of public feedback.

We encourage Shepparton train users, those interested in the development of the city and its connections to view the plans on public exhibition at Greater Shepparton City Council’s website.

People can make comment on the plans until February 18.