Senior transport planner Emmerson Richardson disputed plans by Transport Minister Dean Nalder to dig tunnels under congested roads like Scarborough Beach Road.
Mr Richardson said the key to easing congestion was to make public transport and connectivity between frequently visited areas the focus.
“Scarborough Beach Road is carrying 25,000 vehicles a day but very little traffic actually travels the whole length of the road. More than half is travelling through bits of Scarborough Beach Road so cars are coming in an out of the road,” he said.
“A tunnel has a capacity of 60,000 or more per day so with a tunnel there are two things that can happen: it would either be totally underused with 10 or 12 thousand a day or even worse, another 40,000 vehicles would try and come into the tunnel that aren’t in the area and use it as a bypass.
“It would bypass the areas people actually want to go and cause more congestion. That traffic at the end of the tunnel would then pump into Scarborough Beach Road.”
Mr Nalder said the government was in the process of developing a transport plan for 3.5 million people and beyond.
“It will address many of the transport challenges we face with a growing population,” he said.
“This will inform policy options for the Government to consider as our population continues to grow.”
Mr Nalder said WA’s population had grown by more than half a million people in the past decade.
Mr Richardson said public transport was the way forward and criticised plans to tunnel under roads.
“Traffic on Scarborough Beach Road through to Osborne Park has declined; it is less that it was 10 years ago because public transport has more than doubled since 2000, young people in particular are finding it easier to travel on public transport,” Mr Richardson said.
“I have been a transport planner for many years; people come up with simplistic ideas to solve transport problems and they are nearly always wrong.
“Don’t build more roads – create more network connectivity between areas where people want to go.”
Mr Richardson said a road link between Westfield Innaloo Shopping Centre and the Osborne Park industrial area, an extension of Stevenson Avenue, would help to take traffic off Scarborough Beach Road.
“The land is all available and these projects have been planned, designed and it would cost a lot less that putting a tunnel in,” he said.