Planning for the Future of Dakabin
Well, the Government’s Independent Report has finally been completed and released http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/dakabin-investigation.
It’s been a sore point for the area surrounding Dakabin for a long time that the 59th most used station out of the 148 in the Brisbane City Train Network is such a user unfriendly location. Despite efforts in the past to make improvements at the station little has been done to recognise the growing need in the area. With the opening of new parcels of land for development in low to medium density housing we’ve seen the population of Dakabin double over the past ten years alone and it is set to increase by that again within the next ten.
The current station has only 176 parking spaces including motorcycle parking to accommodate up to 400 vehicles daily, however building more car parks is not a solution. The recent report conducted by ARUP in Brisbane identified a number of issues impacting on the patronage and car park issues alone.
- Buses cannot access Dakabin Station due to the surrounding road network structure being too unsafe for a bus.
This means that patrons are given little option but to drive to the station unless they have someone else to drop them off. It also leaves those who do not drive or own vehicles with relying on whatever bus network there is in the surrounding area to take them to other stations which can be an extensive and difficult trip for people travelling to the airport via the rail network and families with children. There are currently no buses connecting the station to the community or infrastructure in that community.
- Lack of pedestrian and cycle connection also raising safety issues due to the isolated location of the station.
While the location is currently closest for service to Dakabin High School there are also other schools in the area that cannot be serviced by this station due to the distance and lack of bus connection. The immediate surroundings of the station are rural while 200m north and south is the edge of the fast developing Urban and Next Generation Residential zones. People with disabilities in these areas are currently not catered for. Even though the station is accessible to Dakabin High School and the school has been listed as a disability accessible premises since the 70’s, students have been transported here by taxis because the station is not wheelchair accessible. Division 7 councillor Denise Sims recently commissioned the completion of a shared pathway joining the station to Anzac Avenue at Kallangur as part of her first budget, but there is still nothing to connect areas east and north of the station. With the high demand for bike lockers at this station due to the lack of security and staff as well as poor night lighting, cyclists are hesitant to use the station frequently.
- The recent opening of the Redcliffe Peninsula Line and impact on patronage at Dakabin.
The new railway line seems to have had minimal impact on the patronage and parking at Dakabin station. While this is good news for the new rail corridor it shows that the new stations do very little to service the Dakabin area and the Dakabin station users.
- Failure to comply with; and any future possibility of compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992(DDA).
There is no suitable crossing for people with disabilities or families with prams. There is no suitable parking for people with disabilities. There are no facilities aside from access to the carriage from the platform. Access to the station from the road is unsuitable and unsafe.
There are several options tabled by the report including adding more parking which would require the resumption of land surrounding the station and would still not address any of the other issues. Upgrading the current station while it might address some of the access issues won’t address the parking and lack of connectivity nor will it make the station accessible to the bus network. Improve connectivity to the station which of course will be entirely useless to the disability community who still will struggle to use the station as well as families with prams and others with mobility needs.
Finally an option of relocation of the station was tabled. This would mean building a brand new station further north of the existing one. The benefits of this for the community would be:
- The new station would be built to current building and DDA standards making it accessible to everyone.
- A road network useable by buses could be attached to the station.
- Car parking would be designed to suit the stations current and future needs.
- The station would be more accessible to the current high growth Urban and Next Generation neighbourhoods being constructed as well as future enterprise attracted to the region due to its location close to the main highway.
- Minimum disruption to the rail network as the old station can continue to run while the new one is being built.
Relocation of the station though would have most impact on Dakabin High School and areas south of the current station, however this would most likely be remedied by the establishment of a bus network connecting the station and those areas to replace that walking distance.
Local MP Shane King who encouraged Transport Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe to visit Dakabin Station and see first-hand what his community faces says while the report hasn’t told him anything he wasn’t already aware of it at least supports his case to have Dakabin station prioritised on the upgrade schedule. Despite early reports claiming that he was adamant that he wants a new station to be built he told us “I can see the benefits of a new station and how we can create an optimal community space around it to service the Dakabin community, but it’s not about what I want. I represent the community. I want to know what the people want. That’s why I encourage everyone in the community affected by it to contact my office. I always welcome local residents to sit down and discuss community issues with me.”
Local Disability Advocate Elisha Wright of the Moreton Bay Region Access and Inclusion Group (MBRAIG) says for too long Dakabin has been the bandaid station of the region. “I had to move elsewhere because this station just wasn’t suitable for me to use. I still can’t use it to come here to visit family or attend local community events.” She told us many others in the disability community who do use the station to access the community including nearby Lakeside Raceway and the Pine Rivers Golf Club, often risk their safety travelling in their mobility devices on the road and using the blind underpass on Alma Road. “There have been others who claim to have a voice for this area but they’ve been satisfied with these bandaids handed out to Dakabin that don’t address the most important issue that should be pushing the state government toward fixing it and that’s the Disability Discrimination Act. To replace stairs with new stairs and pitch it like it was of any benefit to the community was just a slap in the face to those of us who need disability access. The only reason those stairs were replaced is because they were a liability, a lawsuit waiting to happen. It doesn’t matter how long we smile at those stairs they’re not turning into a lift for us.”
Elisha says she has a list of accessibility issues she is engaged with TMR and Queensland Rail about on the rail network but Dakabin is by far the worst on the list with the most need.
The Queensland Government will hold a series of consultation sessions before submissions on the Dakabin Station Analysis report close on 31 January 2017. So don’t expect anything to magically appear before 2018.
Two community consultation sessions will be held with details on these sessions will be provided shortly.
MP Shane King is asking as many Dakabin Station users to complete the following survey, that will form the basis of of his submission to the Minister and the Department: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DakabinSurvey
Residents are also encouraged to share their feedback by emailing Dakabin.firstname.lastname@example.org