Anyone regularly travelling north on the Kwinana Freeway is aware that it’s a nightmare from 6.00am through to 6.00pm, with a brief respite from 11.30am through to 2.30pm. Rowley Road to Armadale Road is dreadful, but the next leg from Armadale Road to the Roe Highway is shocking and anywhere from the Mt Henry Bridge to Mill Point Road is chaos.
Most people feel the addition of an extra lane will alleviate the problems, however the lesson for all, is that the south-bound third lane extension from Armadale Road has created a constant bottle neck and source of accidents from the Gibb Road exit.
Sitting in a semi day after day, watching car after car with one person filling every possible safe gap, drivers texting, applying make-up and the seemingly inevitable hourly accidents, the answers to the problem are blindingly obvious.
Firstly, there are too many entrances to the Freeway, there is absolutely no excuse or need for anyone to enter the freeway north of Canning Highway, or from Mill Point Road and the Russel / Gibbs Road and Berrigan Drive entries destroy the viability of the northbound freeway. Removing these four entries should be a priority.
Secondly, it’s time for multi-story carparks at train stations. Agreed they’re not pretty, but then we’re starting to see apartment blocks along our freeways looking startlingly like Soviet era housing. There simply is not enough parking to encourage people to park and ride, the disaster that is Canning Bridge Station stands out as a major folly and where is the missing link – the South Perth station?
Secondly, we need to face the reality that regular, constant public transport is needed now, not in 30 years time. The answer is blindingly obvious – rip up the third lanes of freeways within 15kms of the CBD and put in double tram tracks. Trams should also run from Fremantle up the Stirling Highway, along Scarborough Beach Road, Alexander Road, Beaufort Street, Albany Highway and of course, Guildford Road – there are plans to widen Guildford Road for more cars! Surely a far better option would be trams running through to say Collier Road then across to Galleria Shopping Centre?
Thirdly (and I never thought I would say this), it’s time to introduce tolls on our freeways. Admittedly it wouldn’t be fair to introduce this without adequate public transport, but somehow we have to be weaned off our addiction to cars, it is already unsustainable.
Contrary to popular opinion, I wouldn’t tax heavy vehicle traffic, only private or company cars, Monday to Friday from 6.00am through to 6.00pm. The toll would be heavier during peak hours and weekends would be toll free for private cars. The revenue collected would go directly to repaying tram infrastructure debt.
West Australian Labor governments have form in establishing public transport, although in recent times, they have tended to build rail stations miles from the actual town centres – Rockingham and Mandurah are classic examples – hopefully they have the political will and foresight to build the desperately needed infrastructure now.
Greg Ross – Car Lover!