Traffic in South Perth

Media Response 14 May 2019
South Perth Activity Centre Plan

Enquiry from Property and Urban Planning editor, the West Australian 

The background is that six towers are seeking development approval in the City of South Perth. Between them, they have about 2,000 designated car bays, and all are within 500m of the freeway entry/exit. The peninsula has a single lane entry into the city, and a single lane south. At present, local residents are waiting up to five light changes to get onto the freeway in peak hour. Getting off the double lane exit is almost as difficult. They fear the proposed development will make traffic come to a standstill. I’m told there was a burst water pipe on the Narrows five years ago which bought the whole city’s traffic to a virtual standstill. They say there will be similar flow-on effects if this area chokes the flow of traffic on the Narrows. They say traffic is bumper-to-bumper across the 4.5km to the Canning Bridge – which is the next closest entry point to the city. 

Please attribute the following responses to City of South Perth Deputy Mayor, Glenn Cridland. 

Does the deputy mayor have any plans to ease the current congestion, or to improve traffic flow in the area to allow for future development? 

The City has recently prepared a draft South Perth Activity Centre Plan (ACP) and proposed Town Planning Scheme Amendment No. 61 (Amendment No. 61) to manage the expected growth within the area stretching from the tip of the South Perth Peninsula to Richardson Park and the Perth Zoo, known as the South Perth activity centre. These documents set out the strategic vision and statutory planning requirements for the area. 

The City engaged expert transport planning consultants to prepare a report to inform the draft ACP. This report is based on a large amount of technical modelling and analysis of the existing and future transport network that has been undertaken by the City over a number of years. The report concludes that, overall, the street network in the ACP area performs well under the recommended growth scenarios for the area and its configuration supports existing and future development as well as use by all transport modes. However, traffic forecasts show that the majority of road links in the area will be operating over capacity in peak times by 2031 unless a greater proportion of trips are made by non-car transport modes. There is therefore a strong focus in the draft ACP on reducing car use in the area and increasing the use of public transport, cycling and walking.

As someone who travels through this area at both morning and evening peak hour almost every day the deputy mayor is well aware of current traffic flows and delays at the South Perth peninsula freeway entry and exit. The increase in density planned by the State Government for South Perth activity centre is likely to increase car travel and impact on traffic flows at least in the short to medium term. 

In regards to movement and access, the draft ACP aims to enhance the environment for residents and visitors and allow convenient, efficient and safe accessibility within the ACP area for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and private vehicles. It provides objectives and recommendations to help inform more detailed planning for the movement network as the area grows and develops. It sets out objectives for movement and access specifically related to the local road network, public transport and pedestrian and cyclist movement. These objectives will all help to facilitate improvements to the road network, and also help shift the focus from private cars to other modes of transport. Being realistic, it will take time and incentives (such as better public transport by the State Government) for people to change their preferred daily method of transport from cars to other methods. 

All stakeholders will have the chance to comment and provide feedback on the draft ACP and proposed Amendment No. 61 from Tuesday 14 May to Monday 22 June 2019. Following the public comment period, the City will further review the draft ACP and proposed Amendment No. 61 in response to stakeholder feedback before they are presented to Council for final endorsement and submitted to the WAPC for approval. 

There have been suggestions that the State Government should widen the entry/exits. What does the council think of that? 

The Council would support measures that the State views as appropriate to manage traffic flow onto the regional road network. At some stage a South Terrace freeway entry/exit may also need to be considered by the State Government. 

There have also been calls for the State Government to put in a train station at South Perth, to support the tourist precinct which includes Perth Zoo. What does the council think of that? 

Whilst the area is already well connected and reasonably well serviced by public transport, the City is strongly advocating for a train station to be planned for as the next phase of Metronet. A new station in the heart of South Perth would provide our local community, visitors and tourists with an additional mode of fast and efficient public transport within walking distance of a range of popular tourist destinations including Perth Zoo, Mends Street precinct and South Perth Foreshore. Studies of projected patronage show that a station in this location would be well patronised compared to other existing stations.

The Western Australian Planning Commission has identified South Perth Peninsula as an activity centre - a key area for urban infill, population and employment growth and in areas identified for infill, investment in key public transport infrastructure is essential. Currently, the closest train station at Canning Bridge is 4 kilometres by road from South Perth Peninsula, more than a 50 minute walk. 

The City has long advocated for this station to be built. It was first proposed as part of the Perth to Mandurah Rail development in 2002. At a cost of $3 million, the Kwinana Freeway was realigned to leave provision for the South Perth train station platform to be constructed at a future date to accommodate the train. The identification of a future station at Richardson Street in South Perth subsequently informed planning for the area as a transit-oriented centre. 

Any other ideas to deal with the congestion, such as a cat service? Does the public just have to deal with the fact that cars are overused and they should use alternative transport. 

As previously highlighted studies undertaken by experts have illustrated that the road network currently performs reasonably well, although congested at peak hours, and with the support of alternative modes of transport it will continue to do so as the activity and population in the area grows. 

The City will also continue to advocate for continual improvements to public transport within the area including a South Perth train station, improved ferry services and potentially inclusion of South Perth in a wider Cat Service. 

Since 2016, the City has partnered with the RAC and State Government to trial Australia’s first fully driverless and electric shuttle bus in South Perth. In the future innovative technology such as this form of public transport has the potential to help alleviate traffic congestion by reducing the number of vehicles on the road, and at the same time having a positive impact on the environment. 

Can you please confirm that the six developments currently on the council’s website are still under active development consideration? See this website here:

1 Mends Street is the only Development Application being actively considered at the moment, with a decision expected in June. 

76-78 Mill Point Road is also a current Development Application but the Development Assessment Panel has granted a deferral until July 2020. 

The others are applications for review in the State Administrative Tribunal, these are: 

  • 74 Mill Point Road 
  • 50-52 Melville Parade
  • 1-3 Lyall Street and 31 Melville Parade 
  • 86-90 Mill Point Road 
  • 31 Labouchere Road and 24 Lyall Street. 

Does the council think that it should put a cap on height limit? 

The City’s draft South Perth Activity Centre Plan and proposed Town Planning Scheme Amendment No. 61 provide limits for both height and plot ratio, which work together in a sophisticated way to control the size of buildings. Other requirements, including setbacks and floorplate area limits also combine to define a clear area within which the building can be built.

The City’s previous planned height cap had been extensively consulted on with, and overwhelmingly accepted by, local residents and was included in Amendment No. 46 to the City's Town Planning Scheme. However these height limits were rejected by the WA Planning Commission and then Minister for Planning. 

Can you please tell me how many car bays are included in the 76-78 Mill Point Rd and 50-52 Melville Pde proposals? It is not on your website. 

50-52 Melville Parade: According to the City’s last Responsible Authority Report (June 2018), the proposal last considered by the Metro Central JDAP had 214 car bays. That DA was refused. An appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal has since been lodged, which may lead to a revised proposal being reconsidered at a later time. 

76-78 Mill Point Road: According to the applicant’s parking table for their Revision A plans (April 2016), the proposal has 329 car bays. 

Is there anything else the deputy mayor would like to add? 

Both the City and Council have invested considerable time and resources into developing the Amendment No. 46 (which was not accepted in the form approved by Council) and now the draft South Perth Activity Centre Plan and proposed Amendment No. 61 for this unique and special area of the City. Preparing a strategic plan for future development is a significant responsibility and one we as elected members do not take lightly. The Council and City officers have worked hard in endeavouring to ensure the draft plan balances the needs and expectations of our current residents with the City’s need to plan for the future growth and development that the State Government has planned for this area while also ensuring we preserve the character and amenity of this area to the extent that is possible. 

There are also concerns from residents that underground carpark are lowering the water table and killing the trees. Is this a risk with further development? 

The recent death of London Plane trees in Labouchere Road during construction works caused significant concern amongst residents and the Council. The City and Council wish to avoid any further loss of the iconic trees in this area and which are such a large part of its character and amenity.

The draft South Perth Activity Centre Plan provides requirements to ensure that relevant environmental issues are appropriately considered and managed by each individual development. Hopefully that will reduce the likelihood of further tree deaths. With respect to underground parking where a development proposes a basement a dewatering management plan must be submitted with the development application. This plan will need to detail the dewatering process and how any issues will be managed, as well as address contingencies to be put in place to manage issues that may arise after the dewatering process. 

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