Submission: MRS Waterfront Amendment

Perth Waterfront Project – MRS Amendment 1203/41 –

Submission – Public Hearing  28 July 2011

 

Introduction

  1. `Ken Adam and Ralph Stanton represent CityVision in this hearing.
  2. Please refer to pages 1 and 2 of CityVision’s submission for a summary of our overall perspective  and our support for  the general principles  of the proposed Waterfront development

The Fundamental Issue is the Future of Riverside Drive

  1. The central issue here is the proper and necessary role, function and form of Riverside Drive now and in the future.
  2. (CityVision’s submission raises other concerns with the proposed development which are not directly affected by this amendment.)

Two development  options but only one made public

  1. We note that two options were considered – one retaining Riverside Drive – but only one was exposed to public scrutiny. No comparison between the two was made (or made public) to assess the relative merits of each.
  2. The untested option is that promoted by CityVision and favoured publicly by the Premier (see our submission).This option retained Riverside Drive as a continuous route  with an elegant road bridge, and provided for free pedestrian access beneath connecting city and foreshore.

Transport, Access and Riverside Drive

  1. The following comments relate to Section 5 – transport and Access – of the Amendment report and deal with each paragraph in turn.

“One of the more significant structural changes embodied in the Perth Waterfront Masterplanis the redefined role and function of Riverside Drive. It is somewhat axiomatic that any attempt to successfully reconnect the city and river must address the real or perceived

barrier that Riverside Drive represents.”

  1. 8. We agree with these statements. However, the proposed development does not deal with ”the barrier” – it merely shifts it around the inlet. The alternative proposal deals with it very effectively via pedestrian underpasses beneath its road bridge.

“The masterplan addresses this issue by prioritising public and pedestrian access over

private vehicle access, and positing that the primary function of Riverside Drive is city

access rather than bypass. This is consistent with the rationale for construction of the

Graham Farmer Freeway, which saw traffic volumes on Riverside Drive reduce from around

70-80 000 vehicles per day to around 25 000 vehicles per day, and removal of the William

Street flyover.”

  1. We agree that public and pedestrian/bike access to the foreshore should be promoted.  But this should not and need not be at the expense of a continuous Riverside Drive which performs other irreplaceable functions – as city bypass, as city access route and as a recreational/tourist parkway.
  2. The Graham Farmer Freeway is essentially an east-west city bypass; its widening will take up a proportion of Riverside Drive traffic, but it does not provide direct city-centre access. As Perth doubles in size, both routes will be essential for the proper functioning of the city.

“The masterplan is also based on the premise that for the waterfront to function as an

extension of the city, then all roads must be designed as normal city streets rather than

feeders to a freeway system. The section of Riverside Drive between Barrack and William

Streets is therefore proposed be removed, and two-way traffic reintroduced into Barrack

Street, the Esplanade, Mounts Bay Road and William Street.”

  1. We agree with the extension of the city street-grid. However, we note that:                                   i)  virtually all Freeway feeder roads stem from “normal city streets”  and  in any case                                                           ii) it is not proposed to delete the Mounts Bay Road/ Riverside Drive  Freeway connection.                                   Thus the claim is disingenuous.
  2. Reference to the reintroduction of two-way traffic is irrelevant.

“In addition, the masterplan places equal or greater emphasis on alternative forms of

transport by consolidating bus, rail and commuter ferry services, and improving the comfort

and legibility of pedestrian and cycle networks.”

  1. We in no way disagree with this, but it is irrelevant to the need for Riverside Drive to remain a through-route. Our alternative plan does, however, provide better “the comfort and legibility of pedestrian and cycle networks.”

“Transport Research Centre, has confirmed that the masterplan places a greater emphasis on green transport modes (walking, cycling and public transport) to maximise accessibility to and within the project area; and although it is anticipated that there will be some increased levels of congestion, the traffic modelling clearly shows that the impacts are manageable if a sustainable multi-modal approach is taken.”

  1. Can this be serious? Where is this modeling, and on what assumptions is it based?   For example, is it realistic in terms of future public transport use or wildly optimistic?                          A true assessment of the effects of cutting Riverside Drive would show clearly that:

i)                    Pedestrian access to the foreshore will be actually worse (or at best no better) ;

ii)                   Serious congestion and increased traffic volumes in inner-city streets will result immediately and will become unbearable over time;

iii)                 Further serious congestion will occur for example with long peak-hour  tailbacks at freeway on-and off-ramps and at tunnel entrances;

iv)                 The essential and characteristic recreational/tourism parkway role will disappear.

  1. The alternative plan has none of these shortcomings. Proper traffic management can accommodate relatively high volumes of traffic at appropriate city-centre speeds.
  2. It is beyond credibility to suggest that traffic modeling could show acceptable amenity and performance outcomes in the face of a planned doubling of Perth’s population. The traffic modeling has not been made public, and the claims made for it cannot be accepted.

“The proposed Public Purposes Special Use reservation will affect portions of the NarrowsInterchange ‘Primary Regional Road’ reservation and Riverside Drive ‘Other Regional Road’

reservation. This is necessary to facilitate the further planning and design of the Perth

Waterfront road layout, and ensure that it is integrated with the existing network”.

  1. This adds nothing to the issue as to whether the proposed development is acceptable or not.

Conclusions

  1. The continuity of Riverside Drive in its current multi-functional role is both essential to the proper functioning of the city and to the best/most desirable and accessible waterfront development.
  2. Cutting Riverside Drive will create the problems set out in these notes. It is difficult to understand, given the options available, why this choice has been made, when the alternative plan would elegantly avoid these issues.
  3. The excision of a key section of Riverside Drive is is not only unnecessary but is also a clearly damaging outcome for this otherwise very positive step for the development of the city. Riverside Drive can be retained as an integral part of the new development by means of an elegant low-profile bridge (replacing the stylistically forced island and pedestrian/bicycle bridge of the current plan) as CityVision and others have shown.
  4. If the masterplan proceeds in its present form, this aspect of it will cause irreversible harm to the city; it will become a matter of deep regret – and shame – in the future as real problems emerge, and it is seen to be seriously deficient.
  5. We urge the WAPC not to be a party to this aspect of the amendment, but instead be wise enough to study the proposal objectively, with a clear eye to the longer term. The proposal in its current form should be rejected,  and in particular,

 

We strongly recommend that the

_ 2.278 hectares of Primary Regional Roads reservation; and

_ 2.866 hectares of Other Regional Roads reservation

 

be excised from the current amendment and be retained as presently shown in the Metropolitan Region Scheme.

 

CityVision                            July 2011

 

 

 

 

 

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