The Western Australian Department of Transport has released a new draft strategic transport plan for the Perth metropolitan area – it’s open for public comment until October 28 2016.
I’m in the process of reviewing it and will put together my thoughts and post them here when I’m done. An indication of my early thoughts?… disappointed.
Firstly there is no acknowledgement of streets as vital community places or any movement towards protecting/enhancing those important main streets that have functions much greater than transport.
This plan has the ability to manage traffic flow in a way that enables Complete Streets. In fact, the proposal for an additional river crossing at Heirisson Island may even put more pressure on Albany Highway through Victoria Park which really shouldn’t be a highway anymore.
The Green bridges for active transport are a good start but in light of the rest of the document’s focus on over-sized, expensive road infrastructure, they seem like an after thought.
The plan proposes a tunnel/bridge interchange proposed on Langley Park at the end of Plain Street – in the center of Perth CBDs waterfront parkland. With the aim to “create opportunity to close Riverside Drive with remaining traffic using Terrace Road, enabling activation of the Perth waterfront”… hmm… not sure that has been fully considered. A huge new intersection involving two tunnels connecting with Terrace Road, a residential street, does not spell good design to me.
Their idea of “sustainability” appears a tad biased. for example: Principle 4 of road network planning is”Sustainability: The road network strives to avoid impacting land that is not already reserved in the MRS”.So, to avoid this impact on reserves they are proposing 10 new tunnels instead, some of which run underneath the most environmentally sensitive area in the central Perth area. I would argue that sustainability would be making better use of the assets you have, reducing pressure on them, avoiding the environmental impact of building new tunnels under the river and planning to use the road network less overall.
I’d like to see a triage process to reduce demand for the road network system starting with a focus on active transport infrastructure, public transit networks and then, if absolutely necessary, new roads.
More thoughts to come!