HUNDREDS of pedestrians and motorists taking risks near train lines and growing wait times at boom gates have prompted the Public Transport Authority (PTA) to push for the closure of the Moore Street level crossing in Perth.
Railcar drivers regularly report near-misses in the area near McIver Station, and over 530 incidents including near-misses and illegal train track crossings have been recorded since 2007.
PTA spokeswoman Laura Tomlinson said it was likely the number of dangerous incidents was even higher than the numbers reflected, with other incidents going unreported after not being directly observed by staff.
“In 2018 alone, 73 near misses with pedestrians, two near misses with vehicles, 12 illegal crossings by pedestrians and five illegal crossings by vehicles were reported,” she said.
The PTA wants both the road and pedestrian level crossings west of McIver Station to be permanently closed at an estimated cost of $3 million, with the eastern pedestrian level crossing into the station itself to remain open.
Naomi Frauenfelder from TrackSAFE Foundation, a national harm prevention charity established to reduce collisions, injuries and fatalities on the rail network, said the physical removal of level crossings greatly assisted the industry in saving lives.
“Any move to separate pedestrians and vehicles from crossing live railways is a good one,” she said.
“When a near hit, collision, incident or fatality occurs at a level crossing or anywhere on the rail network, this can lead to severe and lasting trauma for train drivers, track workers, station staff and the community.”
The Moore Street level crossing has been running since the late 1800s, with increasing activity on the lines bringing down the boom gates for longer – during peak periods, the gates are down for more than 30 minutes in the hour as trains carry passengers along the Armadale and Midland lines.
Ms Tomlinson said this would increase to 45 to 50 minutes in the hour during peak once the Forrestfield-Airport Link started operating in 2021.
The crossing is also completely closed down for an hour before and after Optus Stadium events.
“This means the crossing is closed for the majority of event days, and results in subsequent traffic managements to the taxpayer,” she said.
Work is set to take place in the second quarter of 2019 if endorsed by the City of Perth, and would see Pier and Moore streets become cul-de-sacs.
Public comment is being sought on the proposed closure: have your say here https://www.mysaytransport.wa.gov.au/moore-street.