U-turn on Leak and Alma?

AN unpopular traffic diversion trial that divided a North Perth neighbourhood has been called in for review early.

In February Vincent council installed a concrete barrier to diagonally block off Leak Street and Alma Road for a six-month trial. 

It was intended as a traffic calming measure that was only supported by a slim number of nearby residents, and a far larger majority wanted it gone (“Diversion disaster,” Voice, March 11, 2023).

The barrier’s made getting around that patch of North Perth so circuitous that some residents don’t even go to the North Perth Plaza shops anymore, instead just opting to get out of the tangled maze and drive up a straight road to Dog Swamp shopping centre.

Cars have been seen whizzing down laneways instead, or driving on the footpath to get through the diversion.

So far 470 have signed an online petition calling for the barrier’s removal, along with a 96-signature written petition.


Lead petitioner Leon Firios told the April council meeting: 

“There is some urgency to get the diversion resolved sooner, rather than later… there are safety issues at the site itself, and there are issues in the surrounding streets including around a primary school. 

“So standing here today, the risk of something going wrong is reasonably foreseeable and the longer the delay in sorting out the diversion, the more acute that risk becomes.”

The council was split 6-3 last August when it voted go ahead with the trial, estimated to cost $35,000 – $60,000. 

But last week they were unanimous in voting to call for an early review of the trial.

A motion from Cr Susan Gontaszewski requested the council staff present an early report on the trial at the next meeting to look at traffic data and consider addressing resident concerns about safety issues stemming from the diversion. 

Council staff had been against the diagonal diversion in the first place, recommending against it due to the likelihood that it’d just send traffic into smaller surrounding streets. 

A preliminary report says traffic data confirms nearby roads and laneways “have been negatively impacted upon”, and smaller roads are getting heavy vehicles that previously used Alma. 

The report will be back at the May meeting for councillors to decide whether to end the trial three months early. 

A lot of residents criticised the permanent-seeming nature of the trial barrier, being a whole concrete kerbing setup instead of something more temporary like planter boxes or water-filled barriers. It’ll probably cost about $15,000 to pull it all up.


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