Boulevard for bikes gets the nod

THERE were street campaigns for it, letters against it, and even a bit of petty theft aimed at stopping it. Now, after lengthy consultation it looks like the bike boulevard will be installed in Mt Hawthorn’s Shakespeare Street.

A WA transport department baby, bike boulevards are low-speed neighbourhood streets “where the car is a guest and bikes have priority,” engineered through landscaping, slow points and bike priority areas at intersections.

Based on Dutch models the department says “these streets are quieter and healthier than busy, car-filled streets and are welcoming to children, families, pedestrians and those new to cycling,” and they’re put in areas to connect places like schools, shops and trains. This east-west path will link Mt Hawthorn with Leederville, Lake Monger and the shared path that runs along Mitchell Freeway.

A little over 60 per cent of the street was for it, and at Christmas locals staged a campaign to show their love for the plan by hanging pro-boulevard decorations in their street trees. Many were then stolen by an anti-boulevard grinch who said they were illegal because they were on the verge.

• How a bike boulevard might look—with bikes and pedestrians coming first. Image supplied | Department of Transport 

• How a bike boulevard might look—with bikes and pedestrians coming first. Image supplied | Department of Transport

After two rounds of consultation the department wants to go ahead and Vincent council staff have recommended councillors support it (provided the department agrees to pay for it all).

Mayor John Carey wants to delay the final decision until the council can notify all residents, but councillors seemed thoroughly underwhelmed by the stripped down final result, which basically boils down to a 30kph limit and some road treatments.

“How watered down is this from the original proposal?” Mr Carey lamented as the final plan hit the projector at this week’s council briefing.

Given they still get a much-sought after lowered speed and an upgrade at state government expense, it’s unlikely anyone at the council will stand in its way.

Cr Josh Topelberg wanted to ensure a sign went up declaring it was a state government initiative in case anyone had questions as to who was responsible.

Pegged for between Green and Ellesmere Streets, work on the boulevard should start around June.

In other nearby bicycly news, Vincent councillors are due to sign off on the next stage of the city’s big bike lane project, with more lanes going down Bulwer Street between Smith and Lord at a cost of $160,000. It’s been on the cards for a while but the money to pay for it was “inadvertently omitted from inclusion in the budget review”, so it needed a final rubber stamp to go ahead while the engineering teams are on site and raring to go.

by DAVID BELL

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