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Thursday, 11 December 2014

'Planning' As A Substitute For Action?

Thirty years ago, Liz Ampt published a paper entitled "Planning as a substitute for action". This was a critique of bicycle programs in Australia but the epithet could well be applied to public transport in Perth today.

While the STC strongly supports long-term planning for public transport, it is critical that this planning is actually implemented.

We currently have plans for two major rail projects (MAX and the Airport Link) neither of which seems likely, in the current economic climate, to be funded, as well as a number of smaller rail extensions - and the contentious Ellenbrook rail link.

Rather than calling back-of-the-envelope doodles 'plans' and using them to distract attention from other transport issues (such as Tier 3 rail line closures, the misbegotten 'congestion tax' and ministerial conflicts of interest), let's get on with enhancing the system we have (more trains and more buses).

Does anyone have any idea where the latest heavy rail line might be intended for, given Reece Waldock's reported statements that "the underground line would not compete with the MAX project, because it would go along another route and extend far further to the north" and that "the promised rail line to Ellenbrook would not compete with it either because it was further to the east and north"?

The only possible location appears to be west of Mirrabooka - or it hits Whiteman Park - and far enough west to say it doesn't compete with MAX means it has to be close to Wanneroo Road - and thus competes with existing Northern Suburbs Rail.

Still, while we're on the subject of 'flying kites', if the Airport Rail Link is to be built (and the STC is on record as questioning the justification for it - http://sustainabletransportcoalitionofwa.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/lack-of-transparency-in-transport.html), why not extend it through to Morley as well as linking it into the Perth-Midland line and encourage redevelopment of the Ashfield light industrial area with a focus on a very high level of rail accessibility.
West Australian, 11th December 2014
Written and Posted by Ian Ker, Convenor, STCWA

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