08/10/2013 - 15:39

Council in dark on light rail route

08/10/2013 - 15:39

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The City of Perth says Premier Colin Barnett is yet to meet with the council to discuss light rail route options, with key stakeholders in the CBD split on the best option for the proposed project.

Council in dark on light rail route
An artist's impression of a light rail line in the Hay Street Mall.

The City of Perth says Premier Colin Barnett is yet to meet with the council to discuss options for a possible light rail route in the CBD, with key stakeholders split on the best choice for the proposed project.

The Property Council of WA has thrown its support behind the rail cars travelling down the Hay Street and Murray Street pedestrian malls, one of three shortlisted options for the CBD section of the proposed MAX light rail network.

The MAX couplet option would entail separate tracks running down each of the Hay Street and Murray Street malls, before joining up on the eastern side of Hay Street.

Under a second option for the CBD section, both tracks would run down the Hay Street Mall, while tracks would run down St Georges Terrace and Adelaide Terrace under a third model.

The Property Council claims the majority of its members would prefer to see the light rail travel down the pedestrian malls.   

"Retailers in the malls will benefit from the couplet option - with two proposed stops in the middle of the Hay and Murray Street malls, passengers will be dropped at the front door of retailers," Property Council WA executive director Joe Lenzo said.

"Light rail in St Georges Terrace is not supported because it will create more congestion as rail cars compete for limited space with buses and private cars."

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, however, claimed St Georges Terrace offered the most potential for light rail, saying it would complement the Elizabeth Quay foreshore development.

She said the city had been assured by the premier they would meet to discuss the light rail route options, but no discussions had taken place to date.

“The terrace is the only option that can comfortably fit light rail, and has the least impact on our city amenity and pedestrian friendly spaces,” Ms Scaffidi told Business News.

“Light rail routes along St Georges Terrace would provide a mass transit option that will reduce the number of buses currently on the terrace.”

She said possible station locations at Parliament House, the Perth Concert Hall, the Hyatt Hotel, Council House, Allendale Square and Brookfield Place would have the potential to enhance each precinct.

“Any option that does not utilise St Georges Terrace has a number of negatives which we believe are not in the best interest of the local community, businesses and visitors,” Ms Scaffidi said.

She also rebutted the Property Council’s claims, saying its members were not a true representation of Hay and Murray Street mall retailers.

“Mall retailers have been very supportive of the City of Perth’s position, with many not wanting light rail to run through the malls,” Ms Scaffidi said.

Around 86 per cent of respondents to the City of Perth’s campaign against light rail in the pedestrian malls supported the city’s stance.

The future of the light rail project appears uncertain with the state government facing a raft of budget pressures.

The government had promised to deliver the projects by 2018 but this was pushed back to 2019 in the state budget.

More recently, Mr Barnett told reporters the light rail project and a proposed airport rail link could be pushed back a further two years in light of the state losing its prized AAA credit rating. 

A joint venture between Parsons Brinckerhoff and AECOM has partnered with the Department of Transport to develop a business case for the proposal.

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