Freo's View

FREMANTLE LIGHTRAIL NOT A PIPE DREAM

Posted in city of fremantle, lightrail, transport, Uncategorized by freoview on June 25, 2017

 

How nice to hear local councils in the Fremantle area working together for a change, instead of viewing each other as competition.

They could not agree on local government reform, council amalgamations and the Roe 8 highway, but now the South West Group of Cockburn, Fremantle, Melville, Kwinana, East Fremantle and Rockingham are planning ahead together for light rail, according to a report in today’s Sunday Times.

A Fremantle to Murdoch lightrail corridor is a high priority according to the report, but also a loop with Rockingham and the coast.

There is no doubt in my opinion that lightrail from Fremantle to Rockingham would be used extensively by locals and tourists alike and connect the two cities.

The South West Group report also considers lightrail from Fremantle to Canning Bridge and linking Cockburn and Fremantle.

Long-term planning by local councils for lightrail and traffic corridors is essential to pin point where new residential and commercial development should be encouraged so that planing schemes can be introduced to accommodate that.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt told the Sunday Times that local councils had a role to play in planning transit systems as they would need to rezone areas for transport hubs.

Lightrail has been on Fremantle’s wish list for a long time but low residential figures make it difficult to build a sound business case for it. However the development boom in Fremantle and Cockburn and along to coast to Rockingham is starting to make lightrail a very good option for the not too distant future, and we need to plan for that now.

Roel Loopers

 

IT IS A GOOD CORPORATE MOVE TO FREMANTLE

Posted in business, fremantle, perth, west australian by freoview on November 11, 2015

Articles in the West Australian today made me contemplate to what extend corporate responsibility should go. The argument-and hope-that private investors could finance lightrail in Perth because it would be good for their workers and hence the bottom line is an interesting one and has some merit. Staff that needs to travel less to and from work will be happier and healthier and would probably be a more productive workforce so that should be good for the employers. I read though that there is little demand for office space in the suburbs and that indicates to me that employers don’t get it or don’t care about the big picture.

Decentralisation of the workforce away from the Perth CBD and the creation of so-called satellite cities should be a priority for our State Government and large employers because traffic congestion is affecting the productivity and bottom line of businesses.

Fremantle is desperate for economic recovery and revitalisation but it has been near impossible to get commitment from the State and larger corporations to move staff to Freo. Sirona Capital is hamstrung with the Kings Square development because no one wants to commit to moving to Fremantle, and even substantial residential and hotel development alone will not be enough to make Fremantle the state’s second city again. We need more office workers in Fremantle and more medium to large retailers to make the port city vibrant again.

There are huge development plans for the Coogee coast just south of Fremantle and somehow our retailers need to be able to tap into that potential and that requires better public transport along that southern corridor, ideally in the form of lightrail. It should also encourage businesses to open offices in Freo, close to where the workforce lives, but that has not been forthcoming and I wonder why that is.

Is it more prestigious for companies to have offices in big towers in Perth than four floors in a Fremantle low to medium rise, and is the corporate image more important than looking after one’s employees and the general community?

The urban sprawl in Perth cannot be allowed to continue because long commuting to work  is bad for personal health, bad for traffic and bad for the environment, and it costs money so it is bad for the bottom line. It is time for big businesses to make a move to the satellites of the metro area and for quite a few of them to make the move to Fremantle, so their workers can enjoy the unique lifestyle of our city. Procrastinating in the Perth CBD and complaining about congestion and public transport is not helpful or being part of the solution. Change is required! Make the move to Freo!!

Roel Loopers

FREO TO TAKE OVER STATE PUBLIC TRANSPORT ROLE

Posted in city of fremantle, lightrail, roel loopers by freoview on August 30, 2015

Fremantle Council never stops surprising me, so the news report on Channel Nine this Sunday with Councillor Rachel Pemberton, who quite clearly is on the election campaign, announcing the City of Fremantle might implement a percentage for lightrail on parking fees as early as next year, was yet another indication of a lack of reality.

I love lightrail but there is something rather green-as in naive-about the idea. One also has to question why a junior Councillor would announce such a huge project on national televison when it has not even yet been to any of the Council committees. I suppose it is a case for Pemberton of just  getting her face in the media, no matter the lack of substance, and people in City Ward might actually vote for her at the October 17 local government elections.

I quite like Rachel and she is a pretty good performer in Council chamber, but she has not explained why people parking in Fremantle, and  hence Freo ratepayers, would want to fund lightrail to Cockburn and Fiona Stanley Hospital.

I suggested on Mayor Brad Pettitt’s blog a few weeks ago that if he believed there is so much support for lightrail he might want to start crowd funding, as least that would mean those Fremantle ratepayers who want to pay for it can elect to do so, and it might attract funding from far and wide and not only tiny Freo.

Lightrail and all public transport is a numbers game and the Fremantle area needs far more residents before any state government or private operator would invest in it. For Freo that is at least 15 to 20 years away still.

Public transport infrastructure is a state government responsibility and for a small council like Fremantle to want to do it on its own is naive to the extreme, even more so when there never appears to be enough money for basic maintenance of COF properties and important parks like the Esplanade.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.

PROPERTY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA WANTS KWINANA PORT

Posted in fremantle, western australia by freoview on August 14, 2015

A report by the Property Council of Australia calls for the Western Australian government to build the outer harbour in Cockburn Sound and other infrastructure projects to keep the economy going while the mining industry is facing difficulties.

The report written by URBIS also suggests the building of the MAX lightrail, expansion of the industrial areas at the Henderson marine complex, Kwinana and Rockingham.

The reports states that at a cost of $ 4,5 billon the proposed projects could create $ 27 billion of economic benefit and some 32,500 jobs. It is suggested this could be financed through the sale of assets such as Western Power.

The Property Council said there is a lack of long-term planning and the state needs to consider what is next after Elizabeth Quay, the Burswood stadium and Perth Freight Link.

Roel Loopers

HOW REALISTIC IS LIGHTRAIL FOR FREMANTLE?

Posted in fremantle, lightrail by freoview on August 10, 2015

An interesting article in the Financial Review about the success of lightrail on the Gold Coast makes one wonder why it is not more widely supported, although Canberra and Sydney are now also planning lightrail.

The argument that Rapid Bus Transport is much cheaper than lightrail is often irrelevant when it has to go through older suburbs where roads are not wide enough to add additional RBT lanes.

The new lightrail on the Gold Coat has been a massive success with over 6 million passengers in the first year of operation, or 18,200 per day,

It is interesting to note that the Abbott government has refused to finance a planned extension that would benefit the 2018 Commonwealth Games because the Liberal government is a strong supporter of financing road building.

The Fin Review writes the Gold Coast example shows that if you build transport infrastructure developers will build near it, which is supported by Steve Harrison, the Queensland president of the Urban Development Institute of Australia who said that lightrail stimulates development.

On that note it is interesting to hear that high-density development at Burswood is not considered a good idea by the Department of Transport because of traffic and parking problems along the transit corridor there, as reported in the West Australian today.

Lightrail is all about numbers with some 600,000 people living at the Gold Coast, so for us in Fremantle to get anyone invest in that form of infrastructure we need to boost the number of people living, working and visiting here. That requires good development that offers apartments and office accommodation that is not too expensive, and most of that should be in proximity of the route lightrail would take around the southern suburbs, which will require local councils collaborating and planning together for a lightrail future.

Public transport is very costly for state governments and it does not help that Perth is so spread out.

One way of testing the waters and to see if the public really supports lightail as much as social media would like us to believe is to start a crowd funding campaign and se how much money can be raised.

Roel Loopers

COOGEE LIGHTRAIL ESSENTIAL TO SUCCESS

Posted in cockburn, development, fremantle, public transport, TRAFFIC by freoview on April 29, 2015

Short-sighted piecemeal planning seems to be very much what Western Australia is all about, both at state and local levels. The planned Coogee Coast development south of Fremantle’s South Beach, that includes the heritage significant former South Fremantle Power Station, is another example of non-integrated planning.

While Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt say that the influx of some 12,000 residents would make lightrail the perfect form of public transport, Lands Minister Tony Redman stated that a bus priority corridor along Hampton Road and through the new development would be adequate. Who is he kidding?!

We constantly hear from State Government experts that higher density living along transport corridors is the way forward for fast-growing Perth, but a bus service that would accommodate 10,000 commuters during rush hour each day is just a ridiculous and outdated proposition. It would require some 200 busses to drive from Coogee to the Fremantle train station between 6.30-8.30 am to shift that many people. 200 busses in 120 minutes along Hampton Road? YES Minister.

Why can’t the cost for lightrail be included in the massive development, so that the developers who are going to make millions from it actually pay for most of the transport infrastructure required. Imagine that same light rail also looping past Fiona Stanley Hospital, and the Murdoch and Curtin universities and we might start seeing the light on how to deal with traffic congestions and the associated air pollution.

Roel Loopers

BIKES INSTEAD OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Posted in bikes, fremantle, TRAFFIC, western australia by freoview on March 15, 2015

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 MayorThat 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.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on BIKES INSTEAD OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT

PUBLIC TRANSPORT DECLINE DEMANDS INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS

Posted in city of fremantle, public transport, western australia by freoview on January 21, 2015

The figures reported on-line WA Today on the decline in the use of trains shows that an integrated approach is needed to attract more people to public transport and to attack the huge traffic challenges of the Perth metropolitan region. There is little gain in small local councils like Fremantle stubbornly wanting to minimise motorvehicle traffic and for the State Government to have the Direction 2031 for higher denisty living near public transport corridors and railway stations, when the community is reluctant to use what is provided. The declining public transport figures create even less incentive for the federal and state governments to start paying for public transport infrastructure like lightrail and rapid bus routes, no matter how often the City of Fremantle bleats about it.

According to WAToday there were nearly 740,000 less trips in the five-months period from June to November last year, when compared to the previous years. That is huge!

It matters little if the reasons are overcrowding, safety, comfort, paid parking, not enough parking near stations, or more expensive tickets. Fact is that in the fasted-growing population state fewer people are now using public transport. That is not a trend we want to see continue!

Roel Loopers

SIMPLE MATHS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR A MAYOR

Posted in cars, fremantle, TRAFFIC by freoview on January 17, 2015

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt must have a good PR agent with two articles published about his anti-car obsession in the weekend West Australian. Not sure why two as the articles duplicate one another and rehash stuff, but anyway.

The good Fremantle Doctor has done “simple maths’ on car parking in Perth and claims we will need 3.9 million new car bays in Perth by 2040, and at a cost of $ 30,000 per bay this would add up to spending $ 117 billion over the next 25 years on car bays.

It’s no surprise that his good mate Professor Peter Newman from CUSP supports these findings and says that Brad Pettitt’s claims are quite conservative, because Dr Pettitt states three car bays per car will be needed, but Peter Newman says five bays per car should be the calculation. I think they mean, one bay at home, one at work, one at the pub, one at the supermarket and one at the footy oval. What needs to be added of course is another bay per car at the yacht club, one at the theatre, one at the movies, one at the concert hall, one at the school (add more bays per kid), one at the airport, one at the markets, one at the beach, one at each friend’s place, etc. Both Newman’s and Pettit’s estimations can be considered outrageously conservative, as I believe at least 15 car bays are needed per car.

I have no argument with Brad Pettitt that our state and federal governments should spend a whole heap more money on light rail and other forms of public transport, instead of building roads, but his simplistic arguments don’t do it for me. Like all statistics they can be interpreted to one’s philosophies. For example two lines painted on a road make a carbay and if that costs $ 30,000 someone gets ripped off. Residential and office car bays are often also only painted lines on bitumen, so if developers calculate $ 30,000 per bay for that they might need to go back to school and learn some simple maths.

Pettitt claims that “by building density around stations, people need 50 per cent less cars, often not needing one at all” but the statistics don’t support that. In Subiaco for example less than 8 per cent of people living within a ten-minute-walk from the train station commute to work by train, according to a recent report in the Post newspaper.

When Brad Pettitt stood for Mayor against Matthew Hanssen at the last election, I pointed out that Hanssen made simplistic and ill-informed claims. It appears now that Brad Pettitt got infected with Hanssenism and is trying to convince the simpletons of the world that cars are evil. Having blinkered views is not a great asset for someone who hopes to become the Mayor of the greater City of Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

NO REAL LABOR VISION FOR OUR CITIES

Posted in anthony albanese, federal governmet, fremantle, local government by freoview on January 6, 2015

The West Australian today published an opinion piece by Anthony Albanese, the federal shadow minister for cities, infrastructure and transport on the future of our cities, but it leaves more questions than it provides answers.

I can’t believe Albanese got sucked in by the sustainability propaganda crap that was reported last year that US academic John Renne refused a job in Perth because he and his family could not afford to live near a transport hub on a $ 170,000-a-year salary. That is just rich boy crying poor stuff.

Urban growth and traffic congestions are a serious concern for the Perth metro area and Albanese is correct that the Federal and State governments should be spending less on roads and more on public transport. Lightrail connecting the north of Perth, and Fremantle, Rockingham, with the universities and hospitals would be a great investment and a much better one than building a truck toll road to get containers to Fremantle port.

Decentralisation is all the go in my humble opinion. Decentralise workplaces so people do not have to commute for hours each day and, as Albanese suggests, decentralise CBDs and create second and third ones in our capital city. No doubt Fremantle should be the second Perth CBD but it gets no support from the Barnett government. To be fair though, previous Labor governments have not exactly been more generous to Freo and invested little in the port city either, but for new infrastructure at Fremantle Ports.

High-density living near busy roads and rail lines create their own problems with noise and air pollution, and mental health and social issues, so one needs to be careful where and how one creates high-density residential apartments.

I am getting pretty cynical about what constitutes so-called affordable housing, when one has to pay nearly $ 200 a week in Fremantle to just get a room in a share house. Is ‘affordable’ for a small apartment $ 400+ a week and how many low-income earners would be able to pay for that?

What Australia needs are real visionaries who are not trying to promote their own agenda. There are as many narrow-minded anti-change people as there are one-eyed sustainability ‘experts’ and we should be careful not to get sucked in by those whose only ‘vision’ is highrise near train stations.

Albanese’s article is disappointing because it lacks substance and vision and it does not state what the Labor party would do for Western Australia should they win the next federal and state elections.

Roel Loopers

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