Call for pedestrian rail crossing

Words by David Baxter

Coolabah Drive resident David Baxter at the dividing line

I am launching a campaign to ask the State Government to build a safe formal pedestrian crossing over the railway tracks between Coolabah Reserve and the Eltham North Adventure Playground, allowing local children a safe walk to their primary school. This need has been recognised and discussed for years and years.  It is time to build it. 

In the 2.6km of railway from Sherbourne Road to Wattletree Road, there are eight formal pedestrian crossings connecting the communities on both sides of the tracks, averaging little more than 400m apart. Yet in the 1.9km from Wattletree Rd to Allendale Rd there are none, thereby separating the community east of the tracks from the local community services and facilities which all sit west of the railway line: Eltham North Primary School, the Eltham North Adventure Playground, Edendale Farm, Eltham Men’s Shed, 1st Eltham North Scouts, Eltham Redbacks Football Club, North Eltham Wanderer’s Cricket Club, three sporting fields, the Eltham North dog park and the Diamond Creek Trail. 

The health and wellbeing benefits of living in a walkable community are well documented, and a new safe walking connection would open up these facilities to a large community that are currently cut-off by the train line. The lives of over 300 local families would be improved, and walking would become a practical and convenient alternative to driving, cutting the number of short car trips around the train line. This would reduce traffic congestion in and around Wattletree Road which would bring benefits to a much wider segment of the community, including residents across Nillumbik. Reduced car use brings significant benefits to the environment as well.

Connect our community, make our children safer. It’s time to build a formal, safe pedestrian crossing at Coolabah Reserve.  

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