Speeds curbed

FREMANTLE would decelerate further under a proposal adopted by the council last week to reduce speed limits west of Parry Street to 30kmh.

A report to this week’s council meeting found the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak provided the city with “opportunities to advance council’s objectives for a low-speed environment”.

The council had been working on an e-scooter trial with the Department of Transport and Road Safety Commission, and mayor Brad Pettitt has previously floated 10kmh zones to discourage cars, but it hasn’t been able to pull it off the trial so far and fell back on putting the brakes on cars.

Dr Pettitt has also been revisiting plans to close the Cappuccino Strip on weekends and busy periods and says Covid provides a compelling motivation.

“It’s still a mixed bag and I don’t think you will ever get a consensus, but because of the Covid restrictions, you can’t fit as many people on the sidewalk,” he said.

Dr Pettitt said cafes and restaurants could put more seating on the streets to make up for reduced table numbers.

“The real challenge is that most of the businesses on the strip like the idea, but there a lot of vacancies on the strip and the real pushback was coming from the businesses that are a little back from the strip, who thought that if you concentrated all the life there it wouldn’t help them.”

But Dr Pettitt doesn’t believe that would be that case and expects the lift in crowds would flow beyond the strip.

The council will now apply to Main Roads to reduce the speed limits.

by JUSTIN STAHL and STEVE GRANT

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