Call for pedestrian and cycling bridge across Lake Joondalup to link town with Wanneroo

Geoffrey Wheat and his dog Bunny. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Geoffrey Wheat and his dog Bunny. Picture: Martin Kennealey

A WANNEROO resident has called for a pedestrian and cycling bridge across Lake Joondalup.

Geoffrey Wheat set up the ‘Connect Wanneroo Joondalup via bridge’ Facebook page calling for a pedestrian and cycle bridge across the lake to connect both suburbs.

Mr Wheat said he had approached local and state governments about the idea, which he believed could ease congestion by encouraging people to walk or cycle.

“It’s peak period all the time going between Wanneroo and Joondalup and back,” he said.

“We need to get the traffic off the road, and we also need people to get healthier.”

Mr Wheat said the bridge would also make it easier for people who used mobility scooters to travel between the town centres.

“The lake really is a bit of a barrier between the two cities,” he said.

Mr Wheat said a pedestrian bridge similar to the one being built over the Swan River in East Perth could improve access and would be well used.

“It would be money well spent,” he said.

In a letter to Mr Wheat, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the Department of Parks and Wildlife was supportive of proposals that improved public access and the bridge proposal had been considered in the past.

“Lake Joondalup has important conservation values and any access proposals impacting the lake need to strike the right balance with protecting these,” he said.

“A bridge linking pedestrians and cyclists to the Joondalup town centre was considered during the preparation of the Yellagonga Regional Park management plan.

“The proposal was not considered appropriate at that time due to the potential for significant environmental impacts on this important wetland and associated bird habitat.

“Any pedestrian bridge over the lake would need to be designed and constructed to a very high specification to minimise potential environmental impacts and it is likely that such works would come at significant cost.”

Mr Dawson said the State Government was not currently in a position to fund the project, focused instead on delivering election commitments.

Bridges were proposed in transport plan

THE Transport Department’s Transport @ 3.5 million plan proposed green bridges across Lake Joondalup and Lake Goollelal.

A department spokeswoman said the bridges would provide more direct access to major centres by active transport, such as walking and cycling.

“Lake Joondalup and Lake Goollelal in the Yellagonga Regional Park separate Wanneroo residents from the Joondalup town centre and restrict access to the Mitchell Freeway cycleway and train stations,” she said.

“The proposed Lake Joondalup green bridge would link cyclists and pedestrians directly to the town centre, particularly for employment trips.

“High level alignment designs and an environmental constraints review of the Lake Joondalup green bridge were undertaken to assist with the strategic assessment for the Perth and Peel Regions.

“It is too early for detailed engineering and design work to begin on projects such as the Lake Joondalup green bridge which are planned for the longer term.

“Preferred alignments, land impacts and other details can only be determined after substantial further work is undertaken within the Transport Portfolio, in consultation with City of Wanneroo and the City of Joondalup.

“This work is not programmed within the next two years and would be subject to submissions for grant funding from the local government.”

An artist’s impression of a green bridge. Picture: Waterarchitect van Bueren

City of Wanneroo planning and sustainability director Mark Dickson said the City had not investigated the feasibility of building a bridge across the lake, but had made a submission on the draft transport plan in 2016.

Mr Dickson said the submission acknowledged the rationale of the proposal, but recommended it be removed from the draft plan.

“The City was concerned that the proposed green bridge would detract from more critical infrastructure projects such as the extension of the rail to Yanchep, the Mitchell Freeway extension and the proposed East Wanneroo Rail Link,” he said.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said that City welcomed the bridge proposals for both lakes as a means to improve east-west connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians and ease traffic congestion.

“This infrastructure will also help park-and-riders at train stations along the Joondalup line travelling to and from the Perth CBD for work each day,” he said.

“Green bridges will make it more attractive for local residents to get out of their cars and onto their bikes and help achieve the City’s goal of being a leading bike-friendly city.”

However, Mr Pickard said the green bridges proposal was not consistent with the conservation purpose of the area under the State Government’s draft Perth and Peel Green Growth Plan @ 3.5Million.

“The City, in its response to the State Government’s transport plan, recommended that there be better alignment of Transport @ 3.5Million and the Green Growth Plan,” he said.

Mr Pickard said the submission also called for further consultation with the co-managers of the Yellagonga Regional Park – the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

“The Yellagonga wetlands fresh water system is recognised regionally for its ecological importance and habitat value as home to a variety of species including long-necked turtles and internationally significant migratory bird species,” he said.

“Potential environmental impacts of building a green bridge must be considered.”

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New bus routes to help reduce congestion

A DEPARTMENT of Transport spokeswoman said services to reduce congestion included 33 regular Transperth bus services in the City of Joondalup and 28 in the City of Wanneroo.

She said other infrastructure and initiatives that eased congestion included train services on the Joondalup Line to Butler, the Youth Move program in Wanneroo in 2015 and grants provided for local governments to build shared paths.

In 2016-17, the department awarded Wanneroo $83,000 to build a path on Ocean Reef Road and $12,000 to design a path on Connolly Drive.

It has contributed $35,000 and been working with Joondalup to design a Whitfords Avenue shared path, with another $120,000 committed to build the path in 2017-18.

“In November last year DoT contributed $1.45 million towards an upgrade to the Robertson Road Cycleway in Kingsley within the City of Joondalup,” the spokeswoman said.

“The cycleway is an integral component to link residents with the Greenwood Station and connects to local schools, parks and streets.”

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said the ‘pump and jump’ bike trail in Kingsley connected to the 2.5km path linking Yellagonga with the Mitchell Freeway shared path and

Wanneroo planning and sustainability director Mark Dickson said the City liaised with Main Roads WA to address congestion issues by improving the capacity of major road infrastructure and the timing of traffic control signals at major intersections surrounding the lake.

“The State Government has committed to providing grade separated junctions at the Wanneroo Road/Joondalup Drive intersection and Wanneroo Road/Ocean Reef Road intersection which should reduce congestion,” he said.

“The City is a strong advocate of improving the priority, frequency, reliability and quality of public transport connections.”

Mr Dickson said the City also maintained and progressively expanded active transport links to make Yellagonga Regional Park attractive for recreational use and as a viable alternative to cars.

Aerial view of the cycleway in Kingsley.

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