THE West Australian Government last week released the 'Perth Transport Plan for 3.5 million People and Beyond', which provides a long term blueprint for transport infrastructure and considers ways to use the transport network more efficiently as Perth's population approaches 3.5 million and beyond.
Transport Minister Dean Nalder described the plan as Perth's most comprehensive transport plan in two decades and said it had been developed over two years by transport planning experts, based on extensive research and modelling.
Under the plan, which is open for public comment, Perth's public transport system would be significantly expanded.
Key rail projects proposed include:
- Expanding the city's train network from 180 kilometres to 300 kilometres and including a new rail line to service Morley and East Wanneroo;
- Extending existing rail lines to Yanchep, Bellevue and Byford to cater for growing suburbs; and
- Extending the Thornlie line to Cockburn Central.
The plan also recommends Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), where buses have a designated lane, to areas where the level of demand does not warrant heavy rail. BRT routes would connect Ellenbrook to Bassendean Station, Midland and the new East Wanneroo rail link. BRT or light rail would connect Glendalough Station to Scarborough Beach.
The Minister said road transport would remain the dominant way for people and freight to travel and the plan expanded the city's core system of freeways, mostly by upgrading existing highways to freeway standards. Key plans for roads included:
- Stock Road to extend north from Leach Highway, linking with Stephenson Avenue at Jon Sanders Drive with an extension tying into the Mitchell Freeway. The extension will include tunnels;
- Fremantle-Rockingham Highway to serve the Western Trade Coast strategic industrial centre; and
- An East-West City Link connecting Canning Highway at Berwick Street to Riverside Drive and a tunnel connecting Riverside Drive with the Narrows interchange.
The plan also recommends increasing Perth's cycleway network from the current 172 kilometres to more than 850 kilometres.
"Improved road and freight networks, tunnels and river crossings will play a part in our future network, keeping the city vibrant, connected and productive," Mr Nalder said.
"Aside from new infrastructure and expanded services, network efficiency measures and strategies to influence travel choices will make sure we get maximum value out of the transport system.
"With the cost of congestion in Perth currently estimated at $2 billion a year, the Liberal National Government has developed a comprehensive and smart plan that will keep Perth and our economy moving.
"This plan draws from expertise within the State's transport agencies, universities, recent research and global knowledge.
"While this is a plan prepared by transport planning experts, everyone has a right to have a say on what we aspire our city to look like. The State Government will be consulting with local governments, industry and the community during the next three months."