Scarborough Beach Road Activity Corridor Project

Our Board Member Andrew Priest has made a submission on behalf of the BTA

The PDF is here, and

26-11-2012_BTA_Sub_Scarb Beach Road Activity_Corridor_Project

 

 

I also publish the contents as text below:

 

 

SUBMISSION: SCARBOROUGH BEACH ROAD ACTIVITY CORRIDOR PROJECT

 

The Bicycle Transport Alliance encourages people to use a bicycle instead of a car to go to work, school, shops and trains stations. We work towards creating a safer road environment as WA’s peak utility cycling advocates.

 

We would like to first thank you for this opportunity to comment on the Scarborough Beach Road Activity Corridor Framework. As our interest is from a transport perspective this submission focuses on the transport aspects of the Framework, particularly those relating to cycling infrastructure.

 

Overall we support the transport elements in the plan relating to cycling infrastructure however we have concerns about the extended time frame for improved cycling infrastructure and the gaps in planning for future infrastructure evident in the Framework; gaps that we believe need to be addressed in the final Framework.

 

It is disappointing to see these gaps in the cycling infrastructure given the Honourable John Day, Minister of Planning’s comments in the foreword to the plan.  The Minister states:

 

A key priority for Scarborough Beach Road is to plan for infrastructure that supports the community, with a focus on improved public transport, cycling and pedestrian facilities to help reduce a reliance on car transport. This will help sustain future growth along the corridor, in particular the Osborne Park and Herdsman employment centres.”

 

We argue that with the gaps in the Framework relating to cycling infrastructure, as it stands falls short of this goal and we encourage the Department and key stakeholders to reconsider the Framework with the Minister’s objective in mind.

 

For example we note that the Framework on page 28 states:

 

“In its current condition, Scarborough Beach Road suffers from traffic and public transport congestion, and poor pedestrian and cycle environments. There is a clear


nexus between an improved corridor (with priority public transport, improved intersections, cycle and pedestrian facilities) and the positive impact it will have on surrounding residents, businesses and land owners.

 

A key component to achieving the vision outlined in this Framework is for decision-makers and land owners to contribute to achieving the implementation of an ‘enhanced transport corridor’ and quality built form outcomes upon redevelopment of sites.

 

 

Scarborough Beach Road, whilst in its current form is a popular area to live, work and shop, has great potential to become a better connected, safe and comfortable place to visit.”

 

Yet there are aspects of the Framework that fail to recognise this very point.  The Framework at times reads as if there are multiple streams of thinking taking place as there are diverse directions suggested. It is suggested that the Framework is revisited to ensure it, as a whole document focuses on the Minister’s stated goal and it takes on-board the acknowledged existing issues.

 

We also suggest that the Framework fails to take a wider perspective recognising that the nature of Scarborough Beach Road and its centres of activities along with the iconic Scarborough Beach at the western end provides an opportunity to develop a “greenway cycle path” connecting the City to Scarborough with opportunities to connect the communities and to develop environmentally sustainable tourism opportunities.

 

With respect to the east-west public transport connection referred to on page 22 of the Framework:

 

“the plan highlights the need to create new east-west public transport connection within the inner and middle ring suburbs of Perth to increase connectivity in these areas
We support this statement, however we argue that it should not just focus on public transport but recognised the need for alternative transport to increase connectivity and reduce reliance on motor vehicles that contribute to inner-suburban traffic congestion.

 

With reference to this comment:

 

“There is, however, a limited amount of space to achieve such objectives. Dealing with an existing road running through existing development, the design process must accept that within a confined amount of space it may not always be possible to comfortably facilitate everything as you would in a new greenfields area of the city” (page 26).


We acknowledge that this is not a greenfield area of the city however this statement seems to suggest that the plan’s authors are reverting back to a “car driven” approach to the plan rather than one focused on a sustainable future, one that encompasses the Ministerial and Departmental objectives. We encourage a more visionary approach to this plan, a recognition we cannot continue to support the “car” as the dominant mode of transport. There is no future in that thinking.

 

Furthermore we note the following in the Framework on page 28:

 

“From the mid-20th century urban transport planning responded to growth in demand for travel by car. Design of roads had a particular focus that gave priority to fast and efficient movement of private vehicles.

 

It is now clear that this approach has resulted in a number of undesirable impacts in inner urban areas such as congestion; poor access for other (non-motorised) users; and segregated land uses that follow a design trend that reacts to cars (such as overbearing signage, poor access/egress and poor parking provision) resulting in a major loss of amenity.”

 

We encourage thinking and Framework development that encourages a more visionary thinking approach rather than continuing to support the status quo instead suggested on page 26.  It is clear there is some acknowledgement of the issues with the car as a dominant mode of transport; let us not repeat those mistakes of the past.

 

We agree with the statement on page 28 of the Framework:

 

“Traffic congestion, poorly designed buildings, and inadequate public transport, pedestrian and cycle facilities can all contribute to an environment that is undesirable and in many cases unacceptable in meeting the standards we expect in a modern and sustainable city.”

 

Turning to the transport vision and the activity areas, we wish to make the following comments.

 

Vision Transport Principles

 

With respect to the adopted transport principles

 

  1. 1.    Improve the health and fitness of the community by creating enjoyable and safe places for people to walk and cycle.

2. Reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases from transport.

3. Reduce car dependency and use by providing a high level of accessibility by public transport, walking and cycling.

4. Constrain vehicular traffic to levels that can be accommodated on streets designed for all modes of transport while retaining a human scale.

5. The level of car and bicycle parking provided reflects the needs of mixed-use transit-oriented development.

6. Provide a fine-grained network of streets and lanes adjacent to road.

7. Scarborough Beach Road be designed to be compatible with adjacent land uses along its length and to accommodate and support all modes of transport, with connectivity for vehicle traffic taking precedence over speed and capacity.

8. Give priority to public transport over private transport along Scarborough Beach Road.

9. Ensure safe and effective access to existing and future land uses.

 

We support the over-arching vision principles as articulated on page 44 of the Framework and we support the Framework’s recommendation that Scarborough Beach Road west of Odin Road be “enhanced over the longer term to improve safety and provide a more effective public transport, cycling and pedestrian environment” (page 47).

 

However we have concerns with the vision for on street parking as articulated on page 47 of the draft Framework.  On-street cycling lanes and on-street parking are often poorly designed causing cyclists to ride in the door zone or “killing zone” as it is often referred.  Such designs put cyclists at risk of being “doored” by a motorist opening their car door without ensuring that it is safe to do so.

 

Putting lives at risk should not be a vision under any circumstances and we call for a rethink of this aspect of the Framework.

 

North Perth and Mount Hawthorn

 

With reference to the key points (page 57) related to transport:

 

  • Road upgrades to include a median from Angove Street to Oxford Street, requiring further detailed design work.
  • Road upgrades to include on-street bicycle lanes from Federation Street to Main Street requiring further detailed design work.

 

We note the discussion of on-street bicycle lanes Federation Street to Main Street on page 32, where it states …

 

“On-street bicycle lanes have been constructed between Kalgoorlie and Federation Streets only, with none along the other sections within Mount Hawthorn and North Perth. The outcome is a disconnected bike lane that does little to encourage any use. Space constraints through the Mount Hawthorn centre limit the ability to continue through this area without affecting on-street parking or verge widths. Generally lower traffic volumes and vehicle speeds result in a safer environment for cyclists and the grid layout of parallel streets through Mount Hawthorn and North Perth present a wide range of alternative cycle routes away from the road to act as viable detours” (page 32).

 

A small correction should be made here. The on-street bicycle lanes extend through to Eucla Street, not Federation Street as indicated in the Framework.  Furthermore the extension through to Main Street from Eucla Street is only a short extension of the bicycle lanes and whilst important is rather limited in value if they are not implemented from Main Street west through Osborne Park.  Also any cycle lanes going through to Main Street should include green lane markings with cyclist head-start boxes and the stopping line for motorists set-back to minimise the risk to cyclists of left turning vehicles and to facilitate right turning into Main Street/Brady Street.

 

With respect to Mt Hawthorn, we acknowledge that the current road design does not facilitate the installation of cycling lanes, however, a forward thinking approach would see the removal of the on-street parking in the Mt Hawthorn shopping precinct encouraging instead more pedestrian and cycling traffic creating a more pleasant and encouraging environment, a win for the Mt Hawthorn retailers[1].

 

 

Glendalough, Osborne Park, Herdsman and Stirling

 

As this section of the road is characterised by high traffic volumes and speeds, the environment is dangerous and unfavourable for cyclists. Given that there is no dedicated cycle infrastructure along Scarborough Beach Road it is essentially inhibited as a viable mode of transport. There are also no parallel route alternatives that offer a safer environment unless using the Mitchell Freeway Principal Shared Path (PSP) which does not link with centres of residential or employment intensity (page 36)

 

  • Medium-term and long-term street designs include the provision for priority public transport to reflect the draft Public Transport for Perth in 2031 plan.
  • Excellent opportunities exist to provide human-scale mixed-use development along the road (page 63).
  • A long term significant upgrade to Scarborough Beach Road will include dedicated transit lanes, off-street cycle lanes, on-street parking (northern side, subject to further investigation) and generous pedestrian facilities to connect with the station.
  • Upgrade of the Brady/Main Street intersection will increase safety, legibility and built it to be ‘public transport ready’ for future east-west transit services.
  • Upon redevelopment of larger or amalgamated lots, access points on Scarborough Beach Road are encouraged to be rationalised or connect with existing side street/laneway connections running parallel or perpendicular to Scarborough Beach Road where possible.
  • A number of new road connections on the northern side of Scarborough Beach Road would facilitate a finer grid to allow for better connections in and between sites  [page 64].

 

We support overall the access and movement vision for Glendalough, however we not support the change in focus for cycling infrastructure from on-street cycling lanes in Mt Hawthorn (which we assume are for east bound cyclists and west bound cyclists) to off-street cycle lanes through Glendalough.

 

Based on what is proposed cyclists will be need to ride on the road on one section and then switch to paths and no doubt back again later on.  We also assume that these off-street cycle lanes will not be built on both the north and south sides of Scarborough Beach Road. If this assumption is correct then the “vision” is putting in place a dangerous situation that puts cyclists at risk if they choose to use the off-street cycling facilities as cyclists riding in one direction will need to cross a high volume traffic route to access the path.  This aspect of the vision is about putting people at risk, not making a safe environment.  For sure put in place off-street paths but also please ensure that there is continuity in the infrastructure and keep in place a continuous on-street cycle lanes for east –west and west-east cyclists.

 

A second serious concern with off-street cycle lanes in Osborne Park is that it creates a greater level of interaction with motorists entering and leaving businesses along Scarborough Beach Road which means that cyclists will need to interact with motorists repeatedly at driveways. A situation that is far more dangerous for cyclists as motorists are frequently not looking for cyclists on paths.

 

It is clear that further analysis of the vision for this area needs to be undertaken from a road safety perspective and we encourage the Department of Planning to review the research literature and to adopt a safe-cycling approach.

 

Stirling City Centre

 

We are of the view that the Framework should not impact on any project delivery for the Stirling Alliance. Cyclists have suffered long enough waiting for the principal shared path along the Mitchell Freeway to be improved and as indicated in the draft Western Australian Perth Bike Plan this will not be undertaken until the Stirling Alliance is undertaken.  As the Framework runs through the middle of the Alliance project area, there needs to be clear documentation and coordination as to how this will impact the Stirling Alliance.

 

Doubleview and Scarborough

 

No cycling facilities exist along this section of the road and natural topography further discourages users. Research undertaken by the City of Stirling indicates that cyclists prefer to use alternative routes, such as St Brigid’s Terrace when travelling towards the coast for these reasons. The closest local bike network route parallel to Scarborough Beach Road runs along Barnes Street and Sackville Terrace (more than 400 metres away from Scarborough Beach Road) (page 38)

 

Sackville Terrace, a local bike network suffers the same issues of topography as Scarborough Beach Road.

 

Other parts of the road, particularly through Glendalough, Osborne Park and Innaloo have a greater scope to change, and will need to do so in order to improve the transport and development functions into the future (page 26).

 

The Framework vision for this section makes no mention of cycling infrastructure. This is clearly inadequate in light of the over-arching goals of the Framework and we ask that this section of the Framework is re-worked to include at minimum on-street cycling lanes to ensure connectivity for cyclists.

Closing Comments

 

In closing we welcome the Minister’s opening comments and the over arching vision for Scarborough Beach Road however as we have outlined here we have some concerns with the proposed cycling infrastructure and/or lack of it.  We encourage a rethink of the vision taking into consideration three key elements:

 

(1)  Cycling infrastructure should be designed to encourage participation in cycling in line with the National Cycling Strategy 2011-2016;

(2)  Cycling infrastructure should be built to ensure connectivity and a safe riding environment from North Perth through to Scarborough; a safe riding environment for cyclists at all levels of confidence;

(3)  Recognition of the economic, environmental, and health benefits from cycling that providing a connected safe cycling environment can provide;

(4)  Recognition of the economic potential for a city to Scarborough Beach “greenway cycle path.”

 

We see the Framework as a step in the right direction, albeit one that needs fine-tuning and we recognise the Department of Planning’s efforts to date.

 

We are also more than willing to discuss this submission and a positive approach to the creation of a connected safe cycling environment with the Department.

 

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Priest

Board Member

Bicycle Transport Alliance of WA (Inc.)

 



[1] Good for Busine$$: The benefits of making streets more walking and cycling friendly is available for download at http://www.austroads.com.au/abc/images/pdf/hf_goodforbusinessfinal.pdf

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