Our proposals in detail

We have spent quite some time investigating the possible solutions for the crossing.  Our ideas, which are based on conversations with hundreds of people in the community, are described in the proposal document which you can read here.

It is a long read, so if you're only interested in the highlights you can read the executive summary, or simply the proposals below.

WCG - Proposals for the level crossing at Ferguson Street, Williamstown v0.5

Full document

WCG - Proposals for the level crossing at Ferguson Street, Williamstown v0.5

Executive summary

What we stand for

There is no denying that the Ferguson St crossing has some problems.  Before jumping to conclusions, let's have a look at them in turn (see our fact check for details):

  • Safety: the greatest safety risk are the unmarked pedestrian crossings of Ferguson St and Victoria St

  • Congestion: the first cause of congestion is the pedestrian crossing (responsible for 65% of the traffic stoppage)

It is clear that rail and road grade separation alone will not solve these problems.

We believe we need a solution for the whole precinct.  This is reflected by our motto: a Safe and Respectful Outcome for All.  The motto captures four non-negotiable principles:

  • Safe: ensure safety for pedestrians and cyclists in the whole precinct, not just the crossing

  • Respectful: ensure the solution does not negatively affect local residents (e.g. by blocking views from or overshadowing private properties)

  • Outcome: ensure the solution actually improves mobility for all users (vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists) and does not attract more traffic

  • for All: ensure the solution preserves the community values of the precinct (the North Williamstown heritage station, Rifle Club Hotel, Bristol Hotel facade) and does not visually separate them

Crossing precinct risk: pedestrians have no safe route between A (North Williamstown station) and B due to unmarked road crossings

Below: several pedestrians use the uncontrolled Ferguson St crossing during the peak hours, often with near misses

Our proposals

As a group, we have studied the crossing precinct and assessed the possible options in detail.  Our conclusion is that there are only two viable options which meet all four non-negotiable principles:

  • Traffic Management Solution: creating a pedestrian underpass, maintaining the rail crossing

  • Rail Under Road: lowering the rail under the road

All alternatives (rail over, road over and road under) would not fit with the four principles.  They would visually affect the whole precinct and negatively impact local residents, therefore we consider them unacceptable.

Option 1 - Traffic Management Solution

This is the simplest solution which meets all four key principles:

  • Create a large and well-lit pedestrian and cyclist underpass, accessible from all sides of the intersection

  • Remove pedestrian level crossing of road and rail

  • Remove traffic lights at roundabouts

  • Maintain rail and road crossing as-is

  • Create dedicated lanes for cyclists

The pedestrian underpass could be modelled on the Degraves St underpass at Flinders Station.  CCTV and shops would help ensure safety at all times.

Option 2 - Rail Under Road

Of the possible grade separation options, this is the only solution which could integrate with the precinct.  It would consist of:

  • Lowering the rail under the road

  • Partially covering the resulting trench to hide it from sight

  • Using the covering for open-air public space (park, plaza, cafes)

  • Including pedestrian underpass features similar to Option 1

  • Ban trucks from using this route to bypass the West Gate Tunnel, allowing local movements only