Rail users drive 400m to station – carpark chaos

This is the headline to a recent article in the Weekend West (August 27th 2011) which commented on a licence plate survey undertaken by the Public Transport Authority on the Mandurah/Joondalup train line. Headline distortion relates to the 7 cars parked in the 600 bay Bullcreek Station that had driven only 400m from their home address.  Not exactly a lot.  More interesting was the fact that 83% of cars had single occupant drivers.

What I particularly liked was the comment in the article that as station car parks were full by 7.15am each day, motorists were FORCED to park illegally. Interesting that the article, even though it headlines short driving distances implies that the lack of parking FORCES drivers to park illegally thereby absolving them of any responsibility. To be consistent I would have expected the article to describe drivers as CHOOSING to park illegally because they can’t be bothered to try and make some alternative travel arrangements.

As the car park is full by 7.15am, the daily boardings at Bullcreek must far exceed the car park capacity of approximately 6 train carriages.  Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that car drivers represent the minority of train travellers and yet the government is spending $50 million adding 3000 additional carbays along this line.

A significant factor in many of these stations is that pedestrian and cycling access can be tortuously indirect and usually requires crossing an excessive number of signalised intersections where cars are given priority. This acts as a major discouragement

Here are some examples

Whitfords Station –
New bike cage in the middle of a round about (bike storage build around 12 months ago)
Access from the shared path is over Whitfords Ave/Mitchell Fway entrance – minimum three light changes
No-one lives to the west of the station – it is a cemetery (south of Whitfords Ave) or public open space (north of Whitfords Ave)
New car park installed under Whitfords Ave which could have also been used for access to the station instead of crossing Whitfords Ave, instead they build a 6m fence around the car park to prevent access to it (for security reasons)
Currambine Station
Bike lockers located in the middle of a round about – PTA website indicates that bike cage is proposed but not aware of it being built or where
Access from PSP for cyclists is no-go with ‘no cycling’ signs installed at all PSP entrances to the station, so you are supposed to hope off and walk to the station (around 200m)
There is shared path access from the East side, and ironically, you can ride from the shared path, under the Mitchell Freeway to the other side as there are no signs telling you not to (or at least this was the case 6 months ago)
Greenwood Station
Older of the Bike lockers located near the station, the newest is located in the roundabout
This is the station where the PSP was closed for several months whilst the car-park was built.  Following the completion of the car-park entrance, there is additional ‘shared path’ to the station which is far better the original located to the south. The PSP just south of the station is very poor and has several large cracks in the surface
The PSP is constantly covered in glass, generally located below the pedestrian footbridge
Access from Hepburn Ave is very poor.  There is only a shared path on the north side of Hepburn Ave (the station is on the South side) resulting in several trips over Hepburn Ave to get to the station.  On the North side of Hepburn Ave you have Hepburn Heights (relatively small area), compared to Duncraig on the South.  There is the PSP overpass bridge to the South of the station.

Interesting that so much effort has been made to encourage car parking but pedestrian and cycling access remains poor.

If you have other examples we would like to hear from you.

About Peter Bartlett