A REDESIGN of Riverside Road, including the removal of 30 mature trees, has ruffled some feathers along the Swan River in East Fremantle.
East Fremantle council is poised to replace the existing chicanes on the strip between Stirling Bridge and the Leeuwin Barracks with “angled slow points” and pedestrian crossings designed to keep cars to 30kmh.
It’s also planning to drop the speed limit to 40kmh, and widen bike lanes and pedestrian refuges as part of a $1.4 million project which part-funded by Main Roads.
Council CEO Gary Tuffin told the Herald the new design would improve pedestrian and traffic safety and reclaim about 2000sqm of foreshore land on the river side of the road. It will also use recycled plastic bags and toner cartridges, as well as glass, on the road surface.
But resident Leonie Anderson says removing the slow points and a speed hump will only make it a worse rat run than it is.
She’s also suspicious of the council’s removal of the trees, saying it hasn’t yet developed a plan to replace them and suspects locals might end up with a bunch of saplings instead.
Ms Anderson says the council’s consultation has been virtually impossible for residents to follow, with plans being scaled down and documents disappearing from its website. She says there were no responses to the council’s consultation because no one knew what was happening until signs started going up about a week ago.
Ms Anderson says the council is missing a great opportunity to tizz up the whole area, pointing to the crumbling Niergarup Track and Bicentennial Falls. She believes the precinct could be a jewel for the town, but it didn’t seem to have the money to even maintain it.
Mr Tuffin said the trees had to go as they were damaging the road, and following a request from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions would be replaced on a 3:1 ration. He says the council is working on a style guide for the whole town which would be used to guide landscaping along Riverside Road.
Mr Tuffin says some aspects of the original plan, such as creating parking bays near the sewer pump station, had been delayed because there wasn’t enough money at the moment, but they could be reinstated when the opportunity arose.
He says preliminary designs were posted on the council’s website in November, which were then used to develop plans which went out for public tender, while there was also an article in the council’s E-newsletter and letter to affected residents and businesses.
by STEVE GRANT