Mayor smells a rat over congestion

Figures from Main Roads show traffic on Fitzgerald Street has increased from about 20,000 movements a day in 2001 to more than 22,000 last year.

Mr Carey said while these figures showed the road was not over capacity, it was becoming more congested.

‘One of the major complaints that I am now getting is traffic congestion and rat running, with people avoiding Fitzgerald Street and other major streets, and racing through local roads instead,’ he said.

‘It is something our traffic management group has been dealing with, but all we can do is help slow traffic down.

‘I am happy to support speed bumps and other traffic measures so at least we can help make our streets safe.

‘But we need more public transport, particularly light rail.’

Last year, the State Government announced that its election commitment to develop light rail down Fitzgerald Street would be delayed by three years to 2021.

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the State Government was still committed to the $432 million light rail project, with $15 million allocated to its planning.

She said the Government was confident that the bus network could adequately service potential increased demand for public transport along the route.

But Mr Carey said light rail was needed for the inner city now and into the future.

‘The reality of a growing population is that you need public transport to support it,’ he said.

‘We need that relief provided by a light rail system.’

Mr Carey said development and enhancement along Fitzgerald Street would also be delayed because of the uncertainty about light rail.

‘We still have a masterplan to develop the town centre but it is making it really difficult,’ he said. What do we do? Do we bite the bullet and go ahead with trees and public art, knowing it might be ripped up?’