Bridge may be ideal solution

Cockburn councillor Steve Portelli and Dave Groenenboom (Gateway Community Church) have some ideas for creating a great environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
Cockburn councillor Steve Portelli and Dave Groenenboom (Gateway Community Church) have some ideas for creating a great environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

With the road being widened by one lane each way, and with the central precinct undergoing developments on every side, Cockburn councillor Steve Portelli has proposed an pedestrian overpass.

City mayor Logan Howlett said the Road Safety and Travelsmart Reference Group, formed earlier this year, could examine Mr Portelli’s idea, adding the precinct required contributions from various parties to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety.

‘The pedestrian and cyclist connectivity between Cockburn Central, the Gateway City Shopping Centre, the Integrated Health and Community Centre and Youth Centre needs engagement and commitment from all stakeholders as Beeliar Drive is widened, lights are installed at Wentworth Avenue and traffic volumes increase,’ he said.

Cr Portelli, who first raised the idea at Cockburn’s Future Forum in April, said: ‘Because of the traffic it is obvious that it needs to be a dedicated pedestrian access like a bridge.

‘Great examples are in Perth with retail space lining the bridges. So instead of just being a path it becomes part of the journey with interests.

‘It is about joining the two activity hubs of Cockburn Central with the Gateway retail precinct and making it conducive to people walking and riding bikes.’

Cockburn pastor and keen cyclist Dave Groenenboom said he believed an underpass could be the way to go.

He said he had seen it work overseas.

‘If this underpass is for pedestrian access, I do think this needs to be both spacious and a thing of beauty,’ he said.

‘It needs to be a well-lit community friendly space. Make it a cultural icon, with restaurants and strip mall development. Why can’t we get creative?

‘The last thing we want is a community divided by a major arterial road.

‘If we’re serious about building a beautiful and unified city we need to think about development which will encourage social cohesion.’