At a recent debate we were asked to discuss a ‘big idea’ for Fremantle. I broached the topic of long term strategic transport investment in Fremantle — not a big idea in itself, rather the idea of working with government over the next decade to close out these very real and very close transport solutions for Fremantle. Here’s what I had to say during the debate;
Over the past four years we’ve been busy building the downtown Fremantle population. We want more people living and working downtown in Fremantle to support our economy and make a more vibrant city, and at the same time we’ve got 20,000 people moving to the Cockburn coast. All this is great for retail and supporting local businesses. However, we’ve got a few issues: Hampton Road is at capacity, our back streets are being used as rat runs, car bays across Fremantle filling up — we need a solution.
I am proposing the decade of public transport for Fremantle.
What is this?
Firstly, we need to look at options for either heavy or light rail south of Fremantle, through the Cockburn coast to connect to Cockburn. We want all the people living in the Southern corridor able to get in and out of Fremantle. If Fremantle Port is moving to Kwinana — what will happen to the existing freight line? Planning needs to start now.
Secondly, east of Fremantle we need a light rail, which has been backed up by Infrastructure Australia, to be completed between Murdoch University and Fremantle. We need to connect Murdoch university to Fremantle. A transport solution along South Street also opens the opportunity for urban infill and new community nodes in places like Beaconsfield and Hilton — important for increasing our population in Fremantle.
Thirdly, we’re going to finish the connection from Perth to Fremantle PSP. We know that Main Roads at the moment have got a plan to stop that path at the new bridge. We need to make sure Main Roads finish that path all the way through to Fremantle train station. I personally worked very hard with Councillors from Nedlands, Cottesloe and Claremont lobbying the state government to create that path, and I’m very proud we’ve got this far, but that final part needs to be finished.
Finally — we need to bring back the cat bus to Fremantle and get the state government to pay its fair share, like they do elsewhere. We need revised routes connecting the station to the rest of our city, and we need more buses on the beat to ensure that every train arriving into Fremantle is met with a CAT bus (like it once was) that conveys visitors and residents to and from home, work and pleasure.
Together, these four integrated transport solutions are going to help move people in and out of our city and must be completed in the next decade. Integrated transport will underpin our retail, relieve congestion on our streets and make it easy for people living here to get in and out of Fremantle.
We will create an even more vibrant city, and make Fremantle a fun, easy destination for people across Perth.