Perth: Hundreds of cyclists sign petition to re-open path behind RAC Arena

Dan Loden (Mt Hawthorn), James Nelson (Wembley), Jordan Brock (Wembley). Hundreds of cyclists have signed a petition to reopen the path behind RAC Arena. Picture: Jessica Warriner.
Dan Loden (Mt Hawthorn), James Nelson (Wembley), Jordan Brock (Wembley). Hundreds of cyclists have signed a petition to reopen the path behind RAC Arena. Picture: Jessica Warriner.

HUNDREDS of frustrated cyclists are calling for the path behind RAC Arena to be reopened.

Nearly 700 people have added their name to an online petition and a number have shared their experiences with near-misses involving cars and pedestrians.

The path near Market Street was closed in 2017 for replacement work on glass panels at the Arena, with cyclists sent around to the Wellington Street footpath.

Wembley resident and Town of Cambridge councillor James Nelson, who cycles to work in the city, said it was “gobsmacking” that the path was still shut to the public.

“We spend so much time, energy and money trying to build the cycling network, to have this sitting here not being utilised is just crazy,” he said.

“I fired up a petition to raise awareness, because as a single cyclist you often get palmed off and handballed away.

“If you have a look through the comments on the petition, they’re not angry. They’re just dumbfounded.”

Mt Hawthorn local and City of Vincent councillor Dan Loden said while waiting with the other cyclists to speak to the Guardian Express, they had seen a number of riders “nearly get collected by cars”, with commuters cycling from across the local area.

“This [path] goes all the way through Subiaco, it ties all the way down the train line, so you’ve got anybody coming in from the western suburbs north, then Mt Hawthorn, Leederville and north from there as well,” Mr Loden said.

VenuesWest chief executive David Etherton said the organisation was currently seeking design advice from an external consultant to establish the best way to manage cyclist and pedestrian interaction around the Arena.

“We will consider the future of the accessway once the advice is finalised, stakeholders have been consulted and if we are able to implement an appropriate solution,” he said.

“It is important to note that while the accessway behind RAC Arena provided choice for both pedestrians and cyclists, it is not part of the official cycle network and is not classified as a Principal Shared Path (PSP).”

Mr Etherton said there were no ongoing concerns about glazing at the Arena given the replacement project had finished, and the accessway issue was a priority for site operator AEG Ogden and VenuesWest.

City of Perth Deputy Chair Commissioner Gaye McMath said the City did not have the authority to reopen the footpath, but if it opened would consider gazetting the path as a PSP.

“The City has received feedback [from locals] and has regularly advocated for the reopening of the path,” she said.

The Change petition stood at 691 signatures on Monday afternoon.