Time to see the density light(s)

AFTER reading our opinion piece by Jan Ravet on “The hidden cost” of infill development (Voice, April 15, 2023), reader Bruce Taylor pens this counterpoint he titles “The hidden cost of low density”. He points to a 2020 study in the Journal of Urban Design by lead author Julian Bolleter about Perth’s “missing” medium-density housing stock, which is argued to bring more services and public amenities to suburbs. 

AS a long-term resident on Walcott Street I hope the Adair and Walcott Street development gets approved. This area needs it.

If we want more walkable and active/safe streets we need more developments like this to increase foot traffic and bring more eyes on the street. 

This will benefit the whole community.

I agree with Jan about the issues pedestrians and other users have with vehicles along Walcott and other streets; I see this also on my morning walks with the dog (maybe Jan and I have said hi to each other on our walks!). 

The reasons we have these issues, though, is because the area is mainly low density and there’s nothing nearby, so why would you bother walking when you can drive and get there quicker! 

The street will service whatever the dominant use is and at the moment it’s vehicles, not pedestrians. It can be changed. 

Although, the businesses that are nearby, like Zambellis, Cariola and Full Moon Thai are staples of our community. 

The more places like this and other types of businesses, the more people will walk and the more demand to improve the walkability and public transport of our area will occur.

My household sold our second car a few years ago (after a few neighbours encouraged us to) and we have saved thousands of dollars over the years; this is a huge cost saving benefit that living in this area allows. 

Yes, sometimes the kids have competing after-school activities that can’t be accessed by the bus, but a $15 taxi is cheaper than buying a second car for $30,000 and paying for insurance, registration and petrol every year. 

People will be willing to go down to one car if there is access to core services and public transport nearby.

Core services and public transport won’t come if there isn’t density. 

It’s chicken and egg. Developments like this will help.

I’m not asking for giant 14-storey apartments, just medium density apartments like the proposed development.

Another benefit of increasing the density is the sense of community that it can bring. 

As I said before, when you make it viable, this will encourage the creation local businesses. This is a huge social benefit.

Think of North Perth Bowls Club; what a great community, everyone there knows each other because they all live in the surrounding streets. 

Communities like this bring many mental health benefits. If this development could bring 

in a cafe, a small bar, or a corner deli shop with half of the sense of community that the bowls club has created, I would ecstatic. 

I ask that people think about the bigger picture when looking at developments like this, think of the overall benefits it could bring to our community. 

Fitzgerald Street wasn’t always a 40kmh zone, the increase in density and local businesses made it a 40kmh zone.

Maybe this development will get us the pedestrian traffic lights on Walcott Street we’ve all be asking for.

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