ELIZABETH QUAY: Cityvision plan shows it’s not too late to avoid traffic chaos.

The CityVision-sponsored Citizens’ Enquiry into Elizabeth Quay headed by the Hon Robert Nicholson AO, Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton AO and retired Associate Professor of Architecture David Standen AM, found that the current scheme was flawed.

The report by twelve invited experts and a summary is available

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED – You can read the updated version here

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Fig 1: Elizabeth Quay: CityVision Alternative Concept Feb 2013

The report shows – and the government’s traffic study confirms –  the vital importance to the City of Riverside Drive and the necessity of its retention as a continuous route, to avoid  unimaginable traffic congestion and other problems that would result from its closure.

CityVision has long championed development of Perth’s waterfront, to create a more enjoyable and accessible foreshore, but without disrupting traffic flow, while maintaining and adding to the future public domain. To show that this can be done, CityVision has prepared an alternative plan.

The CityVision plan (attached) delivers the government’s objectives, but with a fine bridge carrying Riverside Drive across the inlet, allowing free movement for pedestrians beneath. The bridge would be an attraction in itself, like the many superb bridges around the world.

“Our plan allows better views to the river from the city, and  a large area of The Esplanade is retained, as a public recreation and gathering space, for example for  Anzac Day.

There is less overshadowing, far better access to the foreshore, greater public enjoyment and sites for future cultural buildings such as a Perth Opera, a Museum of Indian Ocean History, a Modern Art museum or an  Indigenous Culture centre. This would bring Perth to a new level, reflecting its new-found success and ‘self image’ much more desirably than the current – basically commercial – project.

A plan like this is more exciting, more attractive, and more accessible and at the same time is more functional than the current plan. We urge the government to undertake a reshaping of the existing scheme; capitalising on the work already completed it can provide Perth with something great to aspire to.
CityVision chairman Ken Adam.

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CityVision Scheme

  • Riverside Drive traffic flows are retained; disruption is minimised
  • Unhindered pedestrian access occurs below the bridge to the river
  • Uninterrupted pedestrian/cycle routes continue along the river foreshore
  • Riverside Drive remains as Perth’s emblematic waterfront parkway route
  • A substantial part of The Esplanade is retained
  • This scheme allows great scope for a future dynamic riverside cultural precinct
  • River views from the city, across the Esplanade remain more open
  • Public spaces remain generally sunny;

Government Scheme

  • Riverside Drive is cut – general traffic congestion follows throughout inner Perth
  • Pedestrians cross six traffic lanes to reach the waterfront
  • Pedestrian and cycle routes are re-routed and discontinuous
  • Diversion of Riverside Drive into the CBD alters the road’s character and function
  • The Esplanade and its heritage disappear
  • Little space is evident for cultural institutions; no civic advantage of the riverfront is taken
  • Views from the city are blocked by bulky buildings
  • Public spaces are in shadow most of the year


Fig 4:  Bridge allows bikeways, pedestrians, ferries beneath; Esplanade remains; Cultural Precinct develops. Less overshadowing and wind.
Fig 5; General layout of CityVision Plan

Further notes: Major points emerging from the government’s Vietch Lister traffic study.

Our plan is aimed at avoiding many of these problems by incorporating a bridge for Riverside Drive.

It is understandable that the government is loathe to alter the scheme, but CityVision’s plan shows how this can be done without great detriment to the government’s overall aims.

Underestimated Impacts: The study was commissioned well after the plan was adopted and was based on out-of-date information; it thus understates current and future congestion; despite this, it shows the impact of Elizabeth Quay will be much greater than the government admits to. For example:

  •  “There will be severe queue-back problems on Mounts Bay Road and the Esplanade … intersections will be adversely affected.” “Traffic is likely to crawl along all approaches”.
  • Traffic will spread widely – e.g. to Manning and Mill Point Roads, Walcott and Charles Streets to avoid CBD congestion; and along Burswood back streets and Thomas Street among others.
  •  “Travel time impacts for bypass routes are likely to be … 6-10 minutes in peaks.”
  • “Vehicle kms. travelled each weekday will increase by about 17,800 km. …and 1600hrs”.
  • “Increased capacity for the Graham Farmer tunnel is needed now,” irrespective of this project.

The citizens’ enquiry’s experts explain that:

  • The economic costs of increased congestion are delay, driver stress, vehicle costs, crash risk and pollution; the Elizabeth Quay project will result in annual congestion costs in the millions .
  • “Continuing growth in demand cannot realistically be diverted onto public transport or met by the limited increased capacity of the Graham Farmer Freeway.”  – which is necessary in any case now.

CITYVISION 40 MOUNT ST PERTH 6000 Contact Ken Adam 0411 555 549 kenadam@iinet.net.au

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