No light rail for popular locale

Department of Transport Metro Area Express (MAX) project director Dave Thomas said Beaufort Street was a key long-term, north-south bus route.

He ruled out alterations to the State Government’s proposed stage one light rail route, which includes a northern line from the CBD to Mirrabooka along Fitzgerald Street and Alexander Drive.

‘This alignment enables connections to major activity centres, including City Square (Perth City Link project), Perth Arena, the future North Perth town centre, ECU, Mirrabooka, Mt Lawley and future Dianella town centre,’ he said.

While accepting the State Government’s preference for that alignment, Beaufort Street Network chairwoman Pam Herron said light rail along Beaufort Street would improve the area.

‘Perth is growing rapidly and traffic congestion is a problem along Beaufort Street,’ she said.

‘We need better public transport services and to make it easier for people to get around.

‘Local businesses are finding it tough. We need to help our local town centres meet a range of challenges.’

Ms Herron said trams running along the street from the early 1900s to 1958 helped promote the development of Highgate, Mt Lawley and Inglewood.

At a recent Committee for Perth event, City of Seattle urban designer Lyle Bicknell said areas where trams formerly ran were easiest to revert to accommodating light rail.

He said this was in part because the areas were already ‘walkable’, which was important for light rail users, who usually started and ended their journeys as pedestrians.

Website walkscore.com, which ranks how walkable a neighbourhood is based on the distance of amenities in suburbs, labels Highgate as the third most walkable suburb in Perth.

Mt Lawley and Inglewood both rank in the top 20 of walkable neighbourhoods in Perth, while along the State Government’s proposed route North Perth ranks 11, Coolbinia 25, Menora 26, Yokine 90, Dianella 101 and Mirrabooka 108.

Mr Thomas said pedestrian and cycling networks were an important factor in planning for MAX.

‘Light rail stops will be located every 500m to 1.5km along the alignment, ensuring that a walkable catchment for every stop is achieved,’ he said.

The State Government delayed the start of light rail development until after the next election.