A new railway station for a proposed TOD at Castle Plaza

As part of the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide, 14 locations have been identified as proposed TOD locations including Bowden and Noarlunga which are currently in the planning stage. One location that hasn’t been identified as having potential for a TOD by the State Government is in the Edwardstown and Woodlands Park area adjacent to the Castle Plaza area. Marion City Council itself has already identified this location as having potential and has been working with the developer to make it a reality.

Map of the area of the proposed Castle Plaza TOD at Edwardstown and empty Hills Site. Woodlands Park station is bottom left. (Source: Nearmap)

A development plan of the Hills Site. (Source: Marion City Council)

What is it about this location that gives it the potential for a TOD? Firstly, it is located near a junction between two train lines – the Noarlunga and Tonsley lines – and has direct services to Adelaide City. Secondly, there are a number of bus routes running through the area in both the north-south direction and east-west direction to destinations including Glenelg and Mitcham. Thirdly, there is a large vacant area of land between the train line and South Road that was previously occupied by Hills Industries, known as the Hills Site, which is ripe for new development.

In addition to the Hills Site being vacant, this land was acquired by the Colonial First State Retail Property Trust who also own the adjacant retail complex called Castle Plaza. Their plan involves doubling the size of the existing Castle Plaza as well as constructing high density housing on the Hills Site, which would require a realignment of a number of local roads and the rezoning of land from industrial/commercial to mixed use.

An element of the plan that has loosely been discussed but not mentioned in extensive detail is incorporating access to the railway system into the TOD plan. Two railway stations are near the site at Edwardstown and Woodlands Park. Unfortunately, neither of these stations is within close walking distance of the proposed TOD location which is about halfway between the two stations – or about 400 metres from both.

View from the Woodlands Park station looking towards Adelaide. The new station would be beyond the crossing in the distance.

The current Woodlands Park station, which is currently the closest to Castle Plaza and the planned TOD.

The railway conveniently runs adjacent to the Hills Site, and within 150 metres of Castle Plaza. One potential location for a new railway station is adjacent to Wilfrid Street on the north site of Raglan Avenue, which is a busy connector route which runs east-west across the railway line at this location. This railway station would replace the current Woodlands Park station, about 250 metres to the south.

Rough design scheme for Castle Plaza Station Interchange, located on Raglan Avenue. The platforms are marked in gray and the overpass is marked in red.

This station would be constructed as two side platforms either side of the existing tracks, similar to how the new station at Oaklands was constructed in 2009. This would eliminate the need to rebuild the tracks through the site and allow trains and road traffic on Raglan Avenue to operate normally during the construction of the station.

Unlike Oaklands, which is only long enough to fit trains up to four cars long, the new station would be constructed to allow trains up to six cars in length, making allowances for future increases in patronage and train lengths following the upcoming electrification of the Adelaide metropolitan rail network. Building the new platforms would require the removal of numerous trees, some possibly significant, which would require further investigation.

To limit the delays to traffic on Raglan Avenue, a signal for south bound trains would be installed between the outbound platform and the crossing. This would function in a similar fashion to the signal for south bound trains departing Oaklands, with the railway crossing only activated when a train comes to a stop at the platform – rather than when it is some distance away from the station – and the signal turning green once the crossing gates are activated.

In addition to building a new railway station on the north side of Raglan Avenue, a bus interchange could also be constructed adjacent to Wilfred Street on the eastern side to connect with the train services. This would be used by the current 190 and 241 routes which already serve Raglan Avenue as well some of the local South Road bus services (719, 720, 721 and 722) which would turn off South Road and run to and from the interchange along a realigned Ackland Street.

Wilfrid Street looking north from Raglan Avenue. The bus interchange would be built on the left side of the street adjacent to the new station at this location.

The existing pedestrian crossing over the tracks on the north side of the Raglan Avenue railway crossing would be retained to allow pedestrian and cycle access between both platforms at the south end of the station. This pedestrian crossing would be fitted with warning devices and gates, making it safer than the majority of pedestrian crossings in metropolitan Adelaide which are unprotected.

The railway crossing at Raglan Avenue would be upgraded to improve pedestrian safety.

At the north end of the station, an overpass linking both platforms would allow access across the tracks and provide alternative entries to the station from the bus interchange on Wilfrid Street on the eastern side and from Railway Terrace on the western side. Elevators would be provided for wheelchair accessibility and a staffed ticket office could be provided near the overpass by the bus interchange and eastern platform. This would discourage illegal trespassing across the tracks and allow late running commuters to cross the tracks to reach their train without risking their lives.

No car park would be constructed as part of the station and interchange. This would otherwise duplicate an already planned car park for the Castle Plaza extension nearby. However, a kiss ‘n ride drop off facility would be provided with the bus interchange, and bike storage facilities would be constructed to encourage commuters to reach the station by foot, bicycle or bus instead of driving and keeping in line with the form and function of the TOD.

Building a TOD and transport interchange at this location has benefits for both the developer and the local community. It would increase Castle Plaza’s role as a key activity centre for the area while also improving transport accessibility to the surrounding community. Placing the new station in the presence of the shopping centre, a bus interchange and a relatively busy connector road as well as staffing the station – from first service to last service – will also improve the security of the station over the current Woodlands Park station.

Source:

Marion City Council – Castle Plaza Activity Centre Development Plan Amendment, November 2010

(In recent days leading up to this post being published, there have been media reports about the contamination of groundwater in the area from the Hills Site in Edwardstown. Please note that I am not in a position to comment on these matters.)

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