Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Infrastructure Matters

Major traffic chaos results from closing Riverside Drive

source Western Suburbs Alliance

A major inquiry into Elizabeth Quay prepared by three prominent citizens: the Hon Robert Nicholson AO, Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton AO and retired Associate Professor of Architecture David Standen AM, has found that the planning process was deeply flawed, and requires immediate, extensive review.

The enquiry, based on the views of invited experts, was commissioned by CityVision - a voluntary, non-party advocacy think-tank – after frustration at lack of transparency in the planning process. A major enquiry topic -“Traffic and Transport” – shows vital facts have been ignored, or are not available.

Given the current debate on road congestion, it is naive for government to say that the effects of removing Riverside Drive, are “manageable.” The report makes it crystal clear that this will mean even more traffic chaos in central and inner Perth.

The government’s own (belated) Veitch Lister study confirms this. That study was based on 2009 figures, and takes no account of traffic generated by this or any other development proposed since then. Thus it admits understating both general congestion and the traffic impacts of Elizabeth Quay (p1);

Despite this, Veitch Lister shows impacts will be significant – much greater than the government admits to.

  • “There will be severe queue-back problems on Mounts Bay Road and the Esplanade – adjacent intersections will be adversely affected.” “Traffic is likely to crawl along all approaches” (ch7).
  • Traffic will spread to Manning and Mill Point Roads, Walcott and Charles Streets to avoid CBD congestion and to Mill Point Road., Burswood back streets and Thomas Street etc.
  • “Travel time impacts for bypass routes are likely to be … 6-10 minutes in peaks.” (ch7)
  • “Vehicle km travelled each weekday will increase by about 17,800 km. …and 1600hrs” (ch6)
  • “Increased capacity for the Graham Farmer tunnel is needed now, irrespective of this project.

Other critical points to emerge were:

  • Over-concentration of employment in the CBD (including 200 000m2 at Elizabeth Quay) is contrary to government planning and will have wide-spread impacts on traffic and transport congestion, given Perth’s limited rail and single-route freeway systems;
  • The economic costs of increased congestion are delay, driver stress, vehicle costs, crash risk and pollution; the Elizabeth Quay project will result in annual congestion costs in the millions;
  • Continuing growth in demand cannot conceivably be diverted onto public transport or met by the limited increased capacity of the Graham Farmer Freeway;
  • Riverside Drive must be retained, both for its historic visual role and its essential traffic function. If an inlet is to remain, this will mean a well-designed bridge (allowing pedestrian underpasses).

“The proposed … development will practically and permanently close Riverside Drive as an east-west through- way, unless very expensive tunnels or bridges are constructed,” says engineer Peter Bruechle. “These delays and added costs affect everyone and have the potential to cause a decline in the use of the city.”

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