Residents fear path a ‘death trap’

PEARSE STREET residents in North Fremantle are unhappy with Main Roads over a proposed cycle path running directly behind their backyards. 

The expansion of principal shared paths along the Fremantle Railway line has been a goal of the WA Bicycle Network Plan to create a safe and continuous path from Perth to Fremantle. 

The project is currently in its fourth stage which will see a path directly from the North Fremantle’s train station across the Swan River as part of Fremantle’s new traffic bridge. 

But while Pearse Street resident Glenn Evans said the community was “supportive of the PSP network”, it had concerns Main Roads was going against its own rules and putting path users at risk along the stretch behind their homes.

MRWA’s guidelines says shared paths should always be visible from a road or public open space with only a 100m exception allowed when that’s not possible. 

“There is a 280m section that has no entry and exit points and isn’t overlooked by anything,” Mr Evans said. 

Neighbour David Weber agrees: “It would be something of a death trap.”

Mr Weber also fears that being out of the way, the PSP will attract riffraff close to residents’ backyards. 

“This will also create a ghetto environment where litter, including bottles and ‘nangs’ (empty nitrous oxide containers) will proliferate. Who will keep it clean,” Mr Weber said.

Residents want the path moved to the other side of the railway line so it can be integrated into residential redevelopment proposed for the emptying industrial area behind the houses. 

In response MRWA’s spokesperson said the alternative suggestions from residents had been reviewed and “considered in detail”. 

“The alignment on the eastern side of the tracks utilising the existing rail corridor is the most feasible,” the spokesperson said. 

MRWA didn’t address the Herald’s question on whether a path had been considered on the immediate western side of the railway line as residents had requested. 

On Tuesday MRWA held a meeting for Pearse and Jackson Street residents to discuss their concerns. 

Mr Evans said the meeting felt “collaborative” and residents were openly able to present their opinions, although they only got to speak with designers from the bridge alliance and not directly to MRWA staff that could change the alignment. 

“Got the sense that they were hearing what we were saying but the decision had already been made about the alignment of the PSP,” Mr Evans said.

by SASKIA CUMMING

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