The article in the weekend West Australian newspaper that many more people are using their bicycles to go to work is a positive one as it shows the message is getting across. It’s always been a surprise to me that people in colder climate countries hop on their bike more than we do in Australia, so it seems to be turning around a bit.
The negative aspect of it is that people appear to be going to work by bike because of public transport not coping with the demand, and car traffic becoming a nightmare because of traffic jams from the CBD to Joondalup and Rockingham.
The get on your bikes message is good as long as it remains realistic and considers the rapidly ageing population, where many older people might not feel safe or comfortable riding bikes for longer distances, or at all, so it is also essential to improve public transport, especially on weekends when it is often hard to get connections to the suburbs.
Fremantle Council has been pushing the bike agenda, and trying to reduce the use of cars, for years, but the approach is inconsistent. I was aghast to see an artist impression of a tram down the Cappuccino Strip as part of the Transformational Moves presentation by the Mayor. That is not at all what the Freo Visioning 2029 workshops called for. They wanted a traffic-free pedestrian zone there, not trams!
Lightrail in Fremantle will remain a pipe dream for decades to come because neither the Labor nor the Liberal party has indicated they would support and fund lightrain in and around Fremantle. The population figures simply don’t add up and it is more realistic that lightrial in the northern suburbs could happen in the next 10 years.
It would be interesting to see if the combined forces of Cockburn, Melville and Fremantle could come up with an integrated lightrail approach and try to get private funding, but unfortunately most of the time local councils don’t work well together and prefer grand standing news grabs to promote their own cities.
Decentralisation of work destinations and commercial-satelite CBD-activity hubs would help reduce the mad peak hour rush to and from Perth twice a day. That requires out of the box thinking by the government and private sector.