Transport solution must be part of Power Station deal

Light rail to Cockburn would allow more people easy accesst to work and play in Fremantle – without their cars.

ADIN LANG is a Fremantle councillor. He says the sale and redevelopment of the South Fremantle Power Station is a rare opportunity for a transport revolution along the coast.

THE welcome news that we finally have some movement at the South Fremantle Power Station presents a very rare opportunity to talk about an important transport revolution for Fremantle and surrounds. 

Cockburn Coast Development of the power station precinct, within the already bustling Cockburn Coast, is going to transform the stretch of land from South Fremantle down to Port Coogee forever. It’s anticipated that 12,000 additional people will be living in this corridor which will no doubt put added pressure on the already congested Fremantle local roads.  With Cockburn and Hampton Roads already congested, it’s vital the state government forms an integrated transport strategy for the region – beyond the current strategy of cars only.  

Connectivity 

Residents of both Cockburn Coast and Fremantle should have the option of moving between these hubs so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of living, working and recreating along this great stretch of coast. 

I’m encouraged the right development of the power station would entice me as a central Fremantle resident to hop on the light/heavy rail (whatever is built) to visit the new precinct on my doorstep. Equally, I’m encouraged by the prospect of 12,000 people having the ability to easily access Fremantle CBD for work, leisure or shopping – further increasing foot traffic to help sustain our businesses. 

Making the trip between the power station precinct and Fremantle easier will make the whole region more appealing for people to live and visit. This is a win-win for everyone. 

A place to work – 7 day economy 

Fremantle is becoming a true satellite city to Perth, with more office workers than ever before and more forecasted into the future as commercial development continues. If these office workers don’t live in Fremantle, surely they would choose somewhere to live close by and easily accessible – somewhere like the Cockburn Coast.

The 7-day economy in Fremantle is about increasing foot traffic Monday to Thursday (our quietest days) and this is being achieved through increasing premium office space offerings. We want to see an increase in foot traffic via these workers, but we don’t want to see an equal increase in vehicle traffic. 

Risk and rat-runs

If you think traffic on Hampton Road is bad now, it will only get worse. Imagine a future for Fremantle with an extra 12,000 people using Hampton Road each day to either access Fremantle or simply drive north of the river – Fremantle could in essence be surrounded by a constant ring of traffic that deters others in the metro area visiting Fremantle.

Only last week I was visiting a resident on Solomon Street to see firsthand how the increased traffic on Hampton Road is already causing vehicles to rat-run through our suburban streets. The risk of increased traffic impacting Fremantle is real.

The car alternative 

Let’s be clear, people will continue to use their cars to access Fremantle or drive through Fremantle. Having a genuine transport option besides a car, reduces congestion and frees up car bays in Fremantle for people who genuinely need to drive. 

Mixed transport options to and from Fremantle will increase foot traffic in our town and help sustain our businesses. 

Solutions

The existing rail corridor that passes right outside the power station seems like a logical transport corridor for both heavy or light rail. Hampton Road has also been flagged as an option for light rail. 

Finding the best solution obviously considers complex scenarios around freight, the future port, the potential of the Indian Pacific coming to Fremantle and everything else in between. Therefore deserves a dedicated strategic business case. 

Whatever the final solution is, the state government need to bring strategic transport planning to the forefront of the power station deal to enhance the future saleability of the precinct and to ensure Fremantle can continue to grow.

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