Oaklands Park Rail Crossing

25 March 2015

I wish to speak today about an issue which is regularly raised in this house, most often by my colleague and electorate neighbour, the member for Mitchell, that is, the congestion disaster which unfolds each day at the Oaklands crossing at Oaklands Park.

Mr SPEIRS ( Bright ) ( 15:19 :54 ): I wish to speak today about an issue which is regularly raised in this house, most often by my colleague and electorate neighbour, the member for Mitchell, that is, the congestion disaster which unfolds each day at the Oaklands crossing at Oaklands Park. Given the regularity with which the member for Mitchell raises this issue, I am sure that members of this house will be more than familiar with the situation in Oaklands Park but, in summary, the equation is at follows: two roads divided by one railway line plus tens of thousands of vehicles per day equals a traffic nightmare.

We have Morphett Road and Diagonal Road awkwardly intersecting at this point, which would be bad enough, but this problem is greatly compounded by the Seaford line cutting through the middle of this mess. It is an archaic hangover from a land before town planning when train movements were relatively infrequent, traffic volume was far less significant and the Marion precinct was still surrounded by vineyards.

This is not an issue which has emerged in recent years. From speaking to people in my electorate who have been around for much longer than me, I understand that grade separation in the form of an overpass or underpass was first touted in the 1970s and has been raised continually for the last 40 years; and, at each juncture of it being raised by members of the community or explored by the government, the cost of a potential solution seems to rise each time. I think the initial discussion in the 1970s was that grade separation would cost just a couple of million dollars and now the figure being touted is in the mid-100s.

While no solution has yet been implemented, the problem has gotten worse and worse. I have recently been undertaking a concerted doorknocking campaign throughout my electorate and have had the issue of the Oaklands crossing raised repeatedly on the doorsteps, particularly in the northern portion of my electorate, in the suburbs of North Brighton and Somerton Park and, in particular within those suburbs, those parts which lie on the eastern side of Brighton Road. Residents living in these communities really have no other option than to travel through the crossing to reach the shopping and recreational precinct which is found at Westfield Marion.

I have spoken to some residents who simply drive from their homes towards the crossing and stop short, parking in the streets to the west of Diagonal Road, where they leave their cars and walk the last kilometre or so through to Marion. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation and not an option available to everyone, and it also creates parking problems in those side streets, streets such as Bowker Street and Dunrobin Road.

The Oaklands problem is one which lasts all day, every day. Obviously, it is worse during peak traffic times in the mornings and late afternoons, but there are actually very few times of the day (except, perhaps, in the middle of the night) when you will not be caught up in significant congestion at this crossing. Recently, I thought I would be safe to travel from Glenelg through to Marion at 2pm in the afternoon and, really, I should have called the member for Mitchell beforehand and he would have told me that this would not be a good idea because at 2pm it was not safe to travel through that area at all. I spent some 15 minutes backed up at the Oaklands crossing unable to get through to Westfield.

As the member for Mitchell has regularly mentioned, a $2 million feasibility study into the crossing was undertaken in 2011 and some colourful images made it onto the front page of the Guardian Messenger and were splashed through Adelaidenow one afternoon, but that was about it. The study highlighted that grade separation through an overpass was possibly the most suitable option for this site, though there has been some speculation that other options are also on the table.

The lack of certainty around how this project should be delivered underlines the government's lack of commitment and disinterest, or perhaps just complete lack of understanding of the necessity of this project within our community. Members of the house can expect to hear much more from the member for Mitchell and me over the coming months and years as we continue to ramp up our campaign to have an infrastructure solution developed for the Oaklands crossing.

Extracted from Hansard