Fremantle Mayor deflates push for bikes to use alternate route when commuter cycling path reaches port city

Cottesloe PSP campaigner Michael Thomas. Picture: Jon Bassett
Cottesloe PSP campaigner Michael Thomas. Picture: Jon Bassett

FREMANTLE Mayor Brad Pettitt has punctured any push for bikes to use anything other than a direct route when a commuter cycling path reaches his port city from Cottesloe potentially in three years.

“I’m happy for the order of construction, and the way the path is coming to Fremantle, but it should be understood it should absolutely connect up with central Fremantle,” Dr Pettitt said, answering any move to have the principal shared path (PSP) cross the Swan River upstream at Stirling Bridge.

Last week, the State Government brought forward construction of part of the PSP when it announced $18.7 million in funding to fill a gap along the Fremantle rail line from Cottesloe to Mosman Park in 2018-19.

The gap left by the previous government causes commuter and school cyclists to mix with cars and port trucks on dangerous Curtin Avenue and Port Beach Road from Cottesloe to North Fremantle in the electorate of former premier Colin Barnett.

Under the current Government, the PSP from its dead end at Grant Street. Cottesloe to Victoria Street Mosman Park would be built before mid-next year, and detailed designs for Victoria Street to Tydeman Road, North Fremantle started this month, with construction expected to start in 2019-20.

A feasibility study will now start to get the PSP over the Swan River into Fremantle in 2020-21, sparking some cycling lobbyists to suggest using spare funds from the High Street-Stirling Highway upgrade near Stirling Bridge, which may cost half of its allotted $113 million.

However, Dr Pettitt said the challenge was determining if the downstream Fremantle traffic bridge as upgraded or a new bridge alongside the adjacent rail crossing was built for a PSP.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said closing the Cottesloe gap was part of $134 million for cycling infrastructure in the next four years across Perth, and it would provide safety and an attractive tourist route.

She said the change in plans recognised the complaints about the PSP’s sudden stop in Cottesloe and cyclists having to use Curtin Avenue.

However, while PSP campaigners welcomed her announcement they said the greatest benefit would come when Perth, Cottesloe and Fremantle were completely linked.

“The real key is what’s called have ‘A to B-ism’ which makes the route even more attractive because you link main places, and having big gaps is still a big problem,” PSP campaigner Michael Thomas said.

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