Urgent upgrade of South Yarra Station
What is the issue?
The South Yarra Station is integral to its surrounding precinct, a significant landmark within Stonnington and a major transport node that urgently needs upgrading.
The station is the busiest station on the metropolitan network outside of the CBD, attracting close to 32,000 daily passengers.
The station struggles to meet current capacity demand, and this demand is set to increase exponentially with projected rapid residential and economic growth in the area. The urgent upgrading of the South Yarra Station and the surrounding precinct to improve capacity, ease congestion at the entry point, and to provide access for all is a priority for Council.
Demand upon the station will continue to grow to as:
- 20,000 people move into the precinct over the next two decades
- more than 12,500 additional workers will be located within immediate locale
- over 5,000 additional station entries and exits emerge by 2031
- 77 per cent of people access South Yarra Station by foot, this will continue to grow as residential development continues, and
- the station is chronically over capacity and is not universal access compliant.
Connectivity and interchange between trams and trains could be significantly improved, and made accessible for all, with better planning and a holistic approach to the South Yarra Station precinct.
Our strategic approach
The City of Stonnington has long advocated for inclusion of the South Yarra Station in the Melbourne Metropolitan Rail Project (MMRP). Central to Council’s advocacy position is the urgent need to address current capacity constraints, improve accessibility, functionality and safety, and accommodate for the projected rapid future residential and economic growth in the area.
The State Government has not included an interchange station in the Metro Tunnel Project. As a result, the urgent upgrade of South Yarra Station has become more critical to meet the demand of a growing community.
The upgrade of South Yarra Station aligns with key government policy, namely:
- the state government’s Plan Melbourne strategy, which seeks to ‘keep up with the growing transport needs of the city’, and
- Council’s Chapel ReVision Structure Plan, which identifies a number of key opportunities to improve accessibility and mobility to and around the South Yarra Station.
What needs to change?
Inability to meet current and future demand
Continuing population and employment growth in South Yarra has resulted in the station no longer meeting the needs of its users:
- South Yarra Station is the sixth busiest station outside the CBD, attracting close to 32,000 daily passengers.
- Current total day passenger numbers (31,971 passengers) have already reached 82 per cent of the total passengers projected by Public Transport Victoria (PTV) in 2031 (39,000 passengers).
- The South Yarra population is projected to grow to 35,342 in 2036, an increase of nearly 20,000 people or 124 per cent on current figures.
- The projected increase in dwellings in South Yarra is from 8,995 in 2011 to 19,875 in 2036, an increase of 121 per cent.
Substandard facilities and poor accessibility
Despite being designated as a ‘premium station’ several facilities and features usually associated with this designation are absent. The station:
- does not have full access for people with a disability to and from the platforms, and there are no seats, lockers or bike racks
- is not universally accessible, there are no escalators, stairs, lifts, tactile paths or hearing loop facilities, and the ramp gradients are too steep to be compliant under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992, and
- needs to be upgraded to achieve compliance with the DDA by 2022, as mandated by legislation.
Public safety risk
Pedestrians face risk in several locations:
- the single entry/exit point to the station is no longer sufficient
- congestion spills onto Toorak Road at peak times with conflict between those entering and those departing, bike riders, as well as tram users and Toorak Road pedestrians, and
- pedestrians crossing Yarra Street face significant risk, there is no footpath on the western side of Yarra Street and no designated cross point, except at the mouth to Toorak Road.
Connectivity and interchange between trams and trains could be improved with better planning and a holistic approach to the South Yarra Station precinct.
While Council believes the best and most strategic long-term solution for transport services in South Yarra and the wider network generally is to include South Yarra Station as part of the MMRP, Council worked hard to secure a $2M State Government commitment (May 2017) to plan for the station’s upgrade.
Council has written to the Minister for Public Transport and met with the State Government to work in partnership on the upgrade project from the outset.
Council has briefed the State Government on the raft of issues that need to be addressed to bring South Yarra Station up to its premium station standard — such as capacity, functionality, accessibility, safety and interface with the surrounding public realm, as well as modal interchange between tram and train. Council officers are directly involved in the scoping and design process for the upgrade to South Yarra Station, which is currently underway.