FRUSTRATED residents have sent more than 3500 postcards back to Whittlesea Council pledging their support for the Access Denied campaign.
The postcards call on the State Labor and Liberal parties to commit to build the O’Herns Road and Hume Freeway interchange and extend the rail line from South Morang to Mernda.
Whittlesea Mayor, Cr Mary Lalios, said the campaign had been launched just two months ago and postcards were already filtering into Council from all pockets of the municipality.
"There are still months until the state election in November and Council is confident that it will continue to be inundated with postcards from frustrated residents who have had enough of road congestion," Cr Lalios said.
"We fully expect to get well in excess of 5000 postcards, which we will present to State Parliament and formally call on both parties to make a commitment to fund these crucial transport projects in their first term if they are elected into government in November," she said.
"Inadequate transport services are not only denying our community access to employment, education, social and community services, but it is robbing them of quality family time.
"While we are out in shopping centres and at community venues talking to our residents, we are hearing stories of young families who never sit down to dinner together because one parent isn’t home from work early enough. There are families who are getting their young children up at 5.30am to avoid the morning peak and students enduring 30 minute road trips to travel to education and sporting facilities that should take 10 minutes to access."
Aurora Community Association President, Toni-Marie Wuelfert said she was not surprised with the large number of residents who had signed up to the Access Denied campaign.
"The Aurora Community Association, which includes Epping North and Wollert residents, is fully supportive of the Access Denied campaign and we are hopeful it will highlight the need for improvements to road infrastructure for our community," Ms Wuelfert said.
"Our rapidly expanding residential neighbourhoods have very few access roads in and out, and our families are left sitting in their vehicles on roads choked with traffic when they should be home with their children or participating in community life."
Ms Wuelfert said the call to connect O’Herns Road with the Hume Freeway would relieve the congested Hume Freeway/Cooper Street interchange and accommodate the imminent traffic growth once the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable and Flower Market opens.
"It will allow for freight movements and emergency vehicles for the Northern Hospital to use the Cooper Street interchange and private commuter traffic to use the O'Herns Road interchange, delivering a safe and efficient road network."
President of the Mernda Rail Extension Group, Darren Peters said whilst 3500 postcards was impressive, he predicted many more thousand were still to come.
"It is significant that 3500 postcards have been signed in such a short time in support of the Access Denied campaign.
"Frustration about the lack of a railway to Mernda is at boiling point and residents want to know which party is going to solve these issues so they may vote for them in September.
"The Mernda Railway extension is the number one issue in the seat of Yan Yean and for Liberal and Labor it will be the deciding factor for whether or not they win the seat.
"I encourage everyone to support the Access Denied campaign by heading to the website and sending an email to their local MP and signing and sending in an Access Denied postcard today."