Rail crossing danger: Queens Park Wharf Street

Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt, Opposition transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti and Cannington MLA Bill Johnston.
Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt, Opposition transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti and Cannington MLA Bill Johnston.

QUEENS Park’s Wharf Street railway crossing has been described as dangerous by the Labor Party during a campaign to sell its proposed Metronet plan.

The ambitious Metronet project was first unveiled before the 2013 state election.

It featured extensive new rail lines and extensions of existing lines throughout Perth, as well as improvement of dangerous street level crossings.

WA Labor representatives have toured the metropolitan area in the last three weeks to sell the project, which has been costed at $2.5 billion.

Speaking during peak hour traffic last Monday, flanked by Cannington MLA Bill Johnston and Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt, Opposition transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said the level crossing would be improved to ease congestion.

She said WA Labor’s long-term strategy to remove level crossings would fix some of the worst congested intersections in the city.

Mr Johnston said the congestion affected cyclists, commuters and students.

“Between 8am and 9am, the boom gates are down for a half hour in total, it’s complet-ely dysfunctional,” he said.

The cost of fixing level crossings varies, depending on the location and the work required redesigning the road layout.

Two weeks ago, Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the Opposition had “dusted off an old project” without any real commitment.

He said the Government was already constructing the Forrestfield-Airport Link next year, which includes a new train line that will connect Forrestfield to the city.

The $2 billion State Government-funded project will open up Perth’s eastern suburbs to the rail network and improve connections to Perth Airport, he said.

Mr Nalder said when a railway line is built, there also has to be trains, stations, carparks and cycling infrastructure.

“Any suggestion that the proposed Metronet’s priorities line could be built at a cost of $2.5 billion dollars was irresponsible,” he said.

In July, the RAC called on the Federal Government to build a rail line between Thornlie and Cockburn that would cost more than $300 million.

Premier Colin Barnett also said at the time it was a priority.

The next state election is expected to be called in early 2017.