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Author Topic: Article: Perth's rapidly growing population putting pressure on roads PT  (Read 1351 times)

Offline ozbob

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ABC News --> Perth's rapidly growing population putting pressure on roads, public transport

Perth's rapidly growing population putting pressure on roads, public transport
By Andrew O'Connor, Kathryn Diss and Lucy Martin

Transport within Perth was a major issue at the last WA election and whether you are on the road or public transport, neither seems to be improving.

Despite extra lanes and extra trains, the city's major roads have never been more congested and commute times have never been longer.

Perth is a city choked by traffic. Three years ago, it took 30 minutes to drive the 20 kilometres from Midland to Perth on Great Eastern Highway in peak hour.

These days it takes an average of 41 minutes.

Driving from Baldivis to Perth via the Kwinana Freeway also takes five minutes longer than it used to, while the trip from Joondalup to Perth is slightly quicker.

Quinns Rock resident Lisa Thatcher said her travel time to Perth each day was getting longer.

"It used to take me maybe 35 minutes, 40 minutes at the very outside on a real bad day, but now it's so extreme - congestion's bad," she said.
Growing population clogging roads

About 108 people move to Perth every single day and they are bringing their cars with them.

John Venables from Main Roads said Perth's rapidly growing population was the major factor contributing to traffic congestion.

"There's certainly more vehicles on the road, there's a lot of people coming into the state at the moment," he said.

Mr Venables said congestion was mostly contained to peak hour in the morning and afternoon on weekdays.

"Once that peak period is finished around 9:00 to 9:30am, we find the traffic volumes are significantly lower," he said.

"What happens in other larger cities is that peak period extends over a longer period.

"So it's not a huge problem, but we've got to continue to manage it."

Managing the peak period involves giving commuters the most up-to-date traffic information so they can plan their journey.

"They can choose to use another mode of transport, public transport for instance or ride a bike, they may choose to avoid the congestion and leave half an hour later or half an hour earlier," Mr Venables said.

But public transport is not an option for all commuters, including Lisa Thatcher.

"My youngest son has a medical condition so I just like to have the ability not to have to rely on rail timetables so I can just jump in the car and fly back when I need to," Ms Thatcher said.

She hopes the opening of a train station at Butler will ease the pressure on Perth's northern roads and thinks the planned Mitchell Freeway extension should made be a top priority.

Mr Venables said the problem was not going away and the solution was not simple.

"We're never going to grow our road network at the same rate as the population is, it's just not feasible, we've got to find more ways of managing traffic than build more lanes," he said.
Is public transport keeping up with demand?

It is no secret Perth's trains are also overcrowded. From July 2013 to June this year commuters have used Perth's train network more than 58 million times.

That is double the number of boardings recorded over the same period a decade ago.

7.30 WA jumped on a train from Perth to Mandurah to see what commuters had to say and most were not happy with the current state of play.

"The trains are always packed 24/7, you'll see it right now, it's going to be a struggle, if they can make sure we can have more trains... everyone's life would be a lot better," said one passenger.

Another commuter was critical of the limited number of rail cars on the network.

"During rush hour they should really have some six-car trains going on because it gets too congested, some people can't get seats," he said.

The Barnett Government is well aware of the growing pressure on WA's public transport and roads.

In the past two state elections it made several big promises around the issue of congestion, but they have all been put on the backburner.

The Max Light Rail project has been shelved and the Airport Link has been delayed until at least 2020.

Plans to extend Roe Highway to ease congestion in the city's south have also been put on ice, as well as the much touted Ellenbrook rail line.

The Government has delivered on a promise to add more rail cars to the network but commuters argued it was playing catch-up.

"I understand how they want to get to a budget surplus but they've got to put some money into public transport," one commuter said.

"Definitely more carriages and trains to come more often," said another.

Last week, the Government started charging for car parking at train stations.

Critics said it could force more people onto the roads - but the impacts are yet to be seen.
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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Offline ozbob

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Curtin University --> Mass transit infrastructure spend missing from Budget

Mass transit infrastructure spend missing from Budget

The 2014-15 Federal Budget is devoid of any spending on mass transit infrastructure – and instead proposes to spend large amounts of money on roads, some of which are actually not needed.

This is the view of Jemma Green, Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute.

Writing for The Conversation Ms Green said that whilst roads obviously need to be maintained and built, at the expense of the kind of infrastructure that allows cities to operate efficiently and grow is a material omission. Congestion is costing cities billions of dollars each year.

A far more pressing issue in Perth right now is the need for funding for the light-rail – Metro Area Express (Peter Newman wrote about this for The Conversation last year). This was a WA State (Liberal) Government promise for delivery 2018, which, following WA’s credit downgrading from AAA to AA- in 2013, prompted this to be delayed to 2022. Meanwhile all the other infrastructure programmes remain prioritised (stadia, Elizabeth Quay, and the road programmes).

Research at Curtin has shown how up to 60% of the light rail can be funded using a value capture method. This is a system of putting aside windfall taxation revenues (stamp duty, capital gains taxes, rates) received as a result of building the rail – land values go up because of it. This innovative funding approach is yet to be tried in Australia (has been in other parts of the world), and in a budget constrained climate, could allow Australia to really get the infrastructure it needs.

The proposal to build a Perth Freight Link appears to lack detailed business case assessments and is a bizarre attempt at putting in expensive infrastructure that will create more issues than it solves. It will increase the capacity of the Fremantle Port when the surrounding residential areas cannot withstand further heavy traffic imposts.

A far better idea to deal with the growth projections is to relocate the Fremantle Port to James Point in Kwinana. This will allow for the realisation of both the Fremantle City in terms of jobs and residences and at the same time the growth in activity in the port. The Perth Freight link is trying to solve the problem of port access when what is really needed is a new port in Kwinana. Then the emphasis could be moving containers at least in part via rail with the Kwinana to Kewdale Link as well as a Roe Highway Stage 8 extension following the existing rail line. This approach would also have far fewer environmental impacts than the Perth Freight Link, and be located closer to Latitude 31 – a new industrial precinct.​
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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