Save Tonsley Station! Save our access to public transport.

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NOTE: This petition commenced on 22 November 2017. This campaign is still continuing and will be redirected to the new Minister for Transport, Hon Stephan Knoll, MP for Schubert.  Please read this original petition in conjunction with petition updates.


The Flinders Link railway extension will remove Tonsley Railway Station permanently, adversely affecting the residents of Mitchell Park and Tonsley, particularly those with disabilities.

For many wheelchair users, the train service is the ONLY ACCESSIBLE MODE of independent, affordable, public transport (as buses are inaccessible to many). If you remove Tonsley station, you remove people’s independence by taking away the option of public transport altogether. 

PLEASE POSTPONE THE FLINDERS LINK PROJECT UNTIL THERE IS FUNDING TO KEEP TONSLEY RAILWAY STATION IN ITS CURRENT POSITION AND PROPERLY INTEGRATE FLINDERS LINK WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY.

Removal of Tonsley station discriminates against local residents, especially wheelchair users and people with disabilities, short stature or frail health (of which Mitchell Park has a significant number) because the train is their only affordable access to independent travel. 

Flinders Link is essentially 'UN-linking' the local community by withdrawing access to the train service.

Access to the Tonsley train line is essential for Mitchell Park and Tonsley residents to access employment, education, healthcare, local services and the wider community.

ACCESS TO TONSLEY RAIL LINE IS ESSENTIAL FOR EQUITY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

The next station, Clovelly Park (902 m away) is not accessible to all because it does not meet disability access standards and is too far away for many people due to mobility and/or safety concerns. There are no plans to renovate Clovelly Park station to make it fully accessible. (Clovelly Park station is adjacent to the Tonsley Innovation Precinct at Alawoona Ave.) Many pedestrians can not even get to that station due to dangerous and/or unsealed footpaths.

When Flinders Link is complete, the new replacement station will be over 520 metres away, uphill, at Flinders Medical Centre (FMC), Bedford Park.  Many pedestrians cannot walk or wheel that distance, especially when it is an uphill journey all the way.  The distance between Clovelly Park and FMC stations will be approximately 1.54 km.

Keeping Tonsley station will remove more cars from the roads, reducing air pollution and traffic congestion in the Mitchell Park, Tonsley and Bedford Park’s ‘Flinders’ precincts and reducing parking problems at Flinders University & Medical Centre and other local railway stations like Oaklands Park and Woodlands Park.

The SA Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) says that the Flinders Link project will cause an incline at the location of Tonsley Station due to a bridge/rail overpass over neighbouring Sturt Road. Why can't there be a section of level track at this section to accommodate Tonsley Station? Why can't we have a replacement Tonsley station as close as possible to the overpass?

If the State Government of SA can build elevated railway stations at Port Adelaide, elevated tram stops at Glandore and elevate freeways across the suburbs, I cannot see how the creation of elevated stations along the Tonsley rail line is beyond the realms of physics!

The proposed community engagement by the DPTI will have no influence on the engineering of the rail extension or its design.  The community engagement is to discuss pathways and landscaping around the Flinders Link project.

ABOUT THE TONSLEY & MITCHELL PARK NEIGHBOURHOOD

Other people in the neighbourhood use the Tonsley Station to access the local community by travelling from one end of the suburb to the other to access local schools, community and social clubs and neighbourhood centre. The local kindergarten and Suneden School use the Tonsley Station regularly to access community resources.  Mitchell Park and Tonsley have a large amount of public / social housing and people who are elderly or living with disabilities.  This community is already disadvantaged and values the opportunities that access to the train service brings. 

There are also many new residents - students and health workers - who have moved in to be closer to Flinders University, UniSA & Flinders Medical Centre. There is the potential for the local community housing organisation to increase the number of dwellings for affordable housing in the area.  Recent changes to the local council's planning zones will allow multi-storey developments along the Tonsley rail line. It seems ludicrous to take away a station from an area which is predicted to expand in population and demand for rail services.

Tonsley Station is an important link to Sturt Road for services, schools and businesses; e.g. Sturt Police Station, Sunrise Christian School and an important transport link to Blackwood, Sturt, Seacombe Gardens, Marion Medical Centre and Marion Shopping Centre. Many Sturt Road buses do not stop at Flinders Medical Centre.

WHY AM I PETITIONING? WHO AM I?

PLEASE HELP!  I am a wheelchair user who lives close to Tonsley Station. My family and I use it regularly to access education and work.I travel to Flinders Medical Centre for treatment multiple times per week. It would have made sense to be able to catch the train from Tonsley Station to the proposed new one at Flinders Medical Centre but without Tonsley Station, not only would I not have that option, but I would no longer be able to travel elsewhere independently like other adults do.  Access taxis are expensive and often unavailable when needed.  IF I LOSE MY STATION, I LOSE MY INDEPENDENCE!

FURTHER INFORMATION

  • Removal of Tonsley Station was confirmed by the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, "Flinders Link" web page in June 2017:
    http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=062838-15SA-NP

    I have printed copies of this document updated on 3 June 2017 and again on 20 September 2017. It states:
    "Project Description: …Removal of the existing Tonsley Station and construction of a new station adjacent to the Flinders Medical Centre;"

    On 30 November 2017, this document's Timetable stated:
    "Construction is expected to commence in late 2017 and to be completed by early - mid 2019."
  • In August 2016 I downloaded a PDF of the Flinders_Link_concept_design2.pdf downloaded from the SA Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI). There is a label pointing to the rail line where Tonsley station is located. The label says "Existing Tonsley Station (review of station access)" This means that there will be a review of the access to the elevated walkway at this location but when I speak to people about it, many people interpreted that label as including Tonsley station in the Flinders Link design.
    The concept design can be found here:
    https://infrastructure.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/249094/Flinders_Link_concept_design2.pdf
  • Previously, DPTI had published animations of the proposed Flinders Link project. Each one omitted Tonsley Station from the animation. When I contacted the DPTI to find out the status of Tonsley station, I was continually told "Nothing is finalised", "It's under review" and was promised to be contacted when there was an answer. The only news I received about the project was via the media or my own research. Animations can be found at the DPTI YouTube channel:
    25 October 2016: Flinders Link Project – Concept Animation 2017: https://youtu.be/kb1foVOmku8
    This upgraded version of the ‘fly-through’ animation now has a long circular ramp next to Sturt Road. This was not part of the concept animation in 2016.
  • McLauchlan, Cathryn, "All systems go for Link work", CoastCity Weekly newspaper, Messenger Press, 17 May 2017“…the existing Tonsley train station will be removed, and a new station built next to Flinders Medical Centre.”

    This journalist's source was the aforementioned "Flinders Link" web page of the Federal Dept of Infrastructure and Regional Development. This article was the first news I received that Tonsley station was confirmed for removal. It sparked follow-up letters to the editor:

  • Clutterham, Helen, "Railway extension", published letter to the Editor, CoastCity Weekly newspaper, Messenger Press, 24 May 2017: “As a senior citizen, I have loved being a seven-minute walk from the Tonsley station. Please don’t remove it. If it must be removed, then perhaps move the Clovelly Park station across Alawoona closer to where to Tonsley station is.” By Helen Clutterham, Mitchell Park.

  • Buck, Matthew, Shortsighted rail plan, published letter to the Editor, CoastCity Weekly newspaper, Messenger Press, 31 May 2017:
    “The removal of Tonsley Railway Station as part of the Flinders Link seems a little shortsighted, as it will leave a distance of more than two kilometres between Clovelly Park Station and the new Flinders Station.
    “Those who previously used the ‘park and ride’ facilities at Tonsley will now be faced with a longer commute.
    “Those who walk will now have to cross two major roads (Sturt and Main South Roads) to access the new station.
    “Services will also be restricted due to the only passing loop being between Tonsley Junction and Celtic Avenue.
    “There is a real danger in not planning for the inevitable future growth of rail patronage...". By Matthew Buck of Clarence Gardens

     

  • 7 June 2017: I emailed the Mayor of Marion, Kris Hanna with copies to Ward Councillors Luke Hutchinson and Raelene Telfer and received no response except to see a Letter to the Editor in the Messenger Press:
    Hanna, Kris, "Rail link debate", published letter to the Editor, CoastCity Weekly newspaper, Messenger Press,
    14 June 2017:
    “… the current Tonsley Station on Sturt Rd has to go, because the elevation of the track has to start a long way back to get up the hill.
    “Marion Council is talking to the State Government about relocation and upgrading of the current Clovelly Park and Mitchell Park train stations so that they cater for the northern and southern ends of the Tonsley site where 900 new dwellings are expected to be built.
    “The community should be consulted about station locations as details become clearer …” by Kris Hanna, Mayor of Marion

  • 17 October 2017 The Public Works Committee Paper 343, entitled "Final Report. Flinders Link Project - Extension of Tonsley Rail Line to Flinders Medical Centre"
    was tabled in the South Australian House of Assembly and endorsed by the Presiding Officer Ms Leesa Vlahos MP.
    Document Location:
    https://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/HouseofAssembly/BusinessoftheAssembly/RecordsandPapers/TabledPapersandPetitions/Pages/TabledPapersandPetitions.aspx?TPLoadDoc=true&TPDocType=1&TPP=53&TPS=2&TPItemID=204&TPDocName=PWC%2bReport%2bFlinders%2bLink%2bProject%2bSIGNED%2b20171017.pdf

    It states:“The Tonsley station needs to be removed due to the new elevated track. However DPTI is undertaking a review to determine if the current railway stations need to be relocated. The relocation of a station is not currently part of this project.”

    I identified a possible inaccuracy in this report and am concerned that there may be either members of the Public Works Committee or officers of the DPTI that are interpreting "Tonsley Station" as the station adjacent to the Tonsley Innovation Precinct and Flinders Tonsley Campus. It concerns me that there may be people making decisions about this project who are confusing The current Tonsley station (adjacent to Sturt Rd at the end of the line) with Clovelly Park station which currently serves the Tonsley Innovation Precinct.

    The reason I question the accuracy is that the distance quoted in the Public Works Committee Paper between "Tonsley railway station and the proposed FMC/Bedford Park railway station is, in fact the distance between the current Clovelly Park station and Bedford Park (Google Maps).

    “The nearest train station to the Flinders Precinct is Tonsley, which is located approximately 1.5 km from the centre of the Bedford Park campus." (Page 4. Public Works Committee Paper 343, 17 Oct 2017)

    This leads me to believe that Clovelly Park station will remain in its current location and will be renamed 'Tonsley' when the existing Tonsley Station near Sturt Rd is removed, despite local politicians suggesting that Clovelly Park station may be relocated further south, closer to the location of the current Tonsley station.

    This report says "Train services on the Tonsley passenger  line have historically experienced low patronage," but fails to provide the reason which has historically been a lack of weekend, early morning and evening services. Currently:

    • the first weekday service to Tonsley leaves the city at 6:42 a.m. arriving at Tonsley at 7:04 a.m.
    • the first weekday service to the city leaves Tonsley at 7:09 a.m. arriving at the city at 7:32 a.m.
    • the last weekday service to Tonsley leaves the city at 6:42 p.m. arriving at Tonsley at 7:04 p.m.
    • the last weekday service to the city leaves Tonsley at 7:09 p.m. arriving at the city at 7:32 p.m.
    • Compare the Seaford line which runs trains from Seaford between 5:21 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.  and runs trains from the city between 5:30 a.m. and midnight.
    Local residents who would prefer to use Tonsley station and have the means, are forced to drive to other stations on the Seaford line such as Oaklands, Marion, Ascot Park and Woodlands Park.  Oaklands Park and Woodlands Park are most popular because all trains stop at these stations providing a service that is more frequent and reliable than Tonsley.  Commuters that need to work late or attend later appointments and functions in the city (and elsewhere) cannot rely on the Tonsley train to be available as late as necessary to get them home safely.

    This was reflected in the Darlington Upgrade Project Community Liaison Group Meeting Minutes of 24 September 2015 which can be found here:
    https://infrastructure.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/251350/9980213-v1-NORTH-SOUTH_CORRIDOR_DARLINGTON_UPGRADE_PROJECT.pdf
    "DPTI advised that ... Woodlands Park to the City accounts for 70% of the total patronage on the Tonsley Line. Essentially, if more people used the Tonsley line additional services would be added. ... A group member stated that it is like a horse and cart scenario–you need the horse before you got the cart. If DPTI increased services people would probably use it more–especially on weekends. DPTI advised that the statistics show that carriages can currently be running empty or with two or three people on them."

    My personal observations are that the Tonsley line is not 'running empty' during morning or afternoon peak times.  It is no surprise that patronage drops in the middle of the day because people who start work late, often finish late and the Tonsley train service does not cater for that need.  The DPTI has known about this since at least 2015. Residents have been requesting extended and  weekend services for decades.

  • All Darlington Upgrade Project Community Liaison Group Meeting Minutes can be found here:
    https://infrastructure.sa.gov.au/northsouthcorridor/darlington_upgrade_project/community_engagement/community_liaison_group_meeting_records
  • 18 Oct 2017 ABC Radio News reported:
    The 650 metre extension of the Tonsley rail line to Flinders University has been given the green light from State Parliament's Public Works Committee.
    The 85-million dollar project involves construction of a rail bridge across Sturt Road and South Road.
    The existing Tonsley station will be removed with a new one built at the end of the extended line, providing easier access to Flinders Medical Centre

    For those of us who rely on Tonsley station, the loss of it will definitely not provide easier access to anywhere!

EDIT 10 April 2018 PLEASE REFER TO PETITION UPDATES FOR NEW INFORMATION POST STATE ELECTION: https://www.change.org/p/sa-minister-for-transport-save-tonsley-station-save-our-access-to-public-transport/u/22616561

For more information please email savetonsleystation@gmail.com



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