THE West Australian Government last week said that an unprecedented focus on cycling infrastructure will ensure new bike paths are constructed across the metropolitan area, with $72.1 million to be provided over four years.
Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the Government was determined to create an integrated transport system which gave West Australians a choice of transport options to get to and from work, leisure and other destinations.
"Cycling infrastructure needs to be considered an important part of all major transport projects, so with every major new road constructed by this Government, you will likely find a new bike path," he said.
According to the government, the four-year plan to improve infrastructure for cycling includes $34.4 million allocated to the following projects:
- Gateway WA;
- Mitchell Freeway extension - Burns Beach Road to Hester Avenue;
- Great Eastern Highway - Bilgoman to Mundaring; and
- Reid Highway dual carriageway and Malaga Drive interchange.
"Since 2011, we've seen the number of cyclists using our paths increase by 32 per cent. That's not only good for their health, but by cycling to work, they take cars off our roads and improve traffic flow," Mr Nalder said.
Treasurer Mike Nahan said the State Government had allocated record funding over the next four years, including $9.1 million in 2015-16 for new shared cycle and pedestrian paths in railway and freeway reserves within a 15 kilometre radius of Perth's CBD and at other locations.
For example, the path alongside the Fremantle Line between Shenton Park and Loch Street stations is now under construction. A similar path will run alongside the Midland Line from Guildford Station to East Street, with a future extension to Morrison Road in 2016.
"In the year ahead, the government will develop some innovative options to create greater separation of cyclists and vehicles on arterial and local roads to further improve safety and support the increased use of cycling as a transport mode," Mr Nalder said.
Over the past six years, the State Government has invested $101.6 million in cycling networks throughout WA, resulting in 221 kilometres of off-road shared paths and 71 kilometres of on-road bike lanes.
Each year, the government provides grants to local governments for cycling infrastructure and the development of bike plans through the Regional Bicycle Network and the Perth Bicycle Network with $37.71 million allocated for the next four years.
In the most recent round of 2015-16 local government cycling grants, 33 local governments will share more than $2.7 million to create, design or upgrade 22.1 kilometres of shared pedestrian and cycle paths and 1.4 kilometres of on-road bicycle lanes which will separate cyclists from motorists.
Six projects are part of the Connecting Schools Program which aims to improve bicycle access and end-of-trip facilities - an important aim of the WA Bicycle Network Plan 2014-31.
Other projects include:
- 1.9-kilometre shared path alongside Safety Bay Road in Baldivis;
- 1.4-kilometre bike lanes alongside Scarborough Beach Road;
- 1.3-kilometre Busselton Bypass cycleway between Strelly Street and Clydebank Avenue;
- 2.8-kilometre shared path alongside Coalfields Highway in the Shire of Collie; and
- 1.5-kilometre shared path to promote tourism in Bremer Bay.
"This cash injection into WA's cycling network will help ensure local infrastructure meets the needs of the state's growing cycling community," Mr Nalder said.