Light rail proposed for Perth


By Steve Thompson

PERTH — Metropolitan Perth could take a radical step forward in transport planning by scrapping the proposed controversial City Northern Bypass Road and Burswood Bridge link road, replacing it with a light rail transit (LRT) service.

Such a link would be cheaper than a destructive new highway through residential East Perth and Northbridge.

This is the suggestion of Perth independent MLA Ian Alexander, who launched the plan on May 31. Alexander drew up the plan in conjunction with Phil McManus, a qualified town planner.

The plan has been well received by ratepayer/resident groups. It has also had a favourable initial response from public transport unions.

The initiative would complement the existing public transport system and link the city bus and rail station using existing heavy rail and roads.

"We believe this initiative offers a viable and environmentally acceptable alternative to the city Northern Bypass project, a proposal which has been dogged by high costs, delays, disruption to residents and controversy. LRT offers a far more acceptable, cheaper and less disruptive alternative", Alexander said.

"Perth could learn from the experience of many American and European cities, which have already adopted such solutions to their growing car transport problems, and could set an Australian lead with this project."

Meanwhile, the state Labor government seems to be moving in the opposite direction with its decision to ban pushbikes from the soon to be operational electric trains. The existing decrepit diesel trains, with less room, currently allow the transport of bicycles.

Democratic Socialist Party Perth secretary Frank Noakes issued a press statement condemning the decision. "In recent years we've seen bicycling premiers riding through city streets and some improvement in the provision of cycle-ways. However, in light of this decision, they stand out as cynical exercises in vote buying."