City staff had declared the trial a success, recommending the closure of Macrae Road at Gairloch Street and an elbow treatment at the intersection of Gairloch Street and Munro Road be made permanent.
Since the diversions were installed, daily traffic on Macrae Road, a key route in the Perth Bicycle Network and popular rat-run for commuters keen to avoid Canning Highway, has plummeted by close to 60 per cent.
While those living on or near Macrae Road were mostly satisfied with the result, other Applecross residents have raised concerns that the rat-running issues have been transferred deeper into the suburb and that permanent diversions were an unnecessary impediment to traffic flow through the area.
While noting the advice of City staff, Applecross ward councillor Cameron Schuster moved a motion directing the City to enter into further discussions with Main Roads WA and nearby residents about alternate solutions, including investigating temporary timed road closure technologies.
The motion was passed 9-2, with councillors Patricia Phelan and Nicole Foxton voting against, after making the point that extensive community consultation had already occurred.
The decision has been deferred until August or September, when detailed cyclist crash data pre- and post-diversions will also be available.
In the interim, and in keeping with Cr Schuster’s motion, the closure on Macrae Road will remain in place but the elbow near Applecross Primary School will be removed.
Representing residents in favour of the diversions, Ross Stuart said he was relieved that the closure on Macrae Road was not being removed.
“The one comment I would make is that this has been going on for two-and-a-half years and it is disappointing that after all that consultation with residents, traffic experts and the City that a final decision couldn’t be reached,” he said. “The other curious thing that happened was Cr Schuster proposing a new solution that was carried but hasn’t gone through any of the analysis or rigour of the solution that was actually implemented.
“However, I think it will have wide community support as many residents were opposed to the elbows on Munro Road.”
Applecross Anti-Diversion Group leader John Corser welcomed the council’s decision and said it was important to more fully explore solutions that prevented commuters from exiting Canning Highway during the peak morning period.