Perth city cycling access

You could be forgiven if you formed the opinion that access to the central city area was being actively discouraged by the various government authorities.

Take the Causeway – this narrow slab covered decaying path may have been acceptable in the late 1960’s but it is now totally inadequate for the current growing daily volume of pedestrians and cyclists.  I note that an increasing number of cyclists are now using the road when the path is particularly busy.  The most amusing about riding along the Causeway path is the loose slabs that you can use to play a sort of tune as you ride across.  There has been occasional talk about a new pedestrian/cyclist bridge, but nothing more.

Betty’s Jetty – the riverside path approximately between the Bell Tower and Convention Centre will be removed.  Cyclists will either have to ride around the new inlet or dismount and push their bikes over the inlet bridge.  The PCC is certain to follow the example of the bridges over the Claisebrook inlet and the Malcolm Street bridge to extend their ban on bridge cycling.

Whilst on the subject of the Malcolm Street Bridge – cycling across this bridge was banned by the PCC because of dangerous bridge surface and the potential for pedestrian/cyclists collisions.  Since the ban the MRD have resurfaced the bridge and conducted a video survey of bridge use.  The survey showed that as this is a major link between the central city area and the freeway bike path, the bridge was used by a large number of cyclists the majority of whom rode across.  Further there had been no reported collisons and certainly none witnessed during the survey period.  MRD have written to the PCC requesting the removal of the widely ignored cycling ban as there was no longer any apparent reason to retain it.  The removal of the ban  is within the scope of the Bike Plan already approved by Council, was supported by the PCC administration, funded within the current budget. Put before February’s Works Committee and, surprise, surprise the Lord Mayor moved a motion to defer for further investigation.

Once upon a time you could ride your bike from Subiaco along the railway to William Street without having to cross a single road at grade.  Then, to improve the city they built (or more correctly are still building) the Perth Arena.  This required rerouting of the PSP, originally just around the site, but progressively more sections were removed and instead of a crossing free ride the route now required an additional 5 road crossings, Market Street, George Street, Elder Street, Milligan Street extension and access road to the bus station.  Then you have to zig zag up the temporary bridge access to cross the railway.  How, with all the planning expertise, could they have made such a dog’s breakfast of this?  I’ve been able, when riding to work to short cut through the Arena underground car park and avoid most of the road crossings, although the climb out of the car park (which I note has substantial bike parking rails) is steep.  However riding in the other direction is not practical as I would have to ride against the traffic accessing the freeway, so I have been riding along Roe Street and crossing back to the PSP at Thomas Street.  This worked well for a few weeks then the PCC decided to rip up the railway side of Roe Street reducing the road width to be unsafe for cyclists, so it is back to circumnavigating the Arena for the time being.

To be a cyclist in Perth requires commitment.

About Peter Bartlett