THE WA government announced a record breaking $129 million funding injection for cycling infrastructure this week.
The investment will allow both existing and new cycling infrastructure to be integrated smoothly within their Metronet public transport plan.
The four year funding distribution will enable at least 95km of paths to be added to the existing network in addition to contributing to a number of community cycling initiatives.
$55m will be allocated towards filling the missing links in the current Principal Shared Path (PSP) network across Perth with $29m in grants to also be given to local governments.
The project will prioritise funding for paths within a 15km radius of the Perth CBD and will integrate the state government’s strategy to integrate and create a network of activity centres in and around Perth.
Locally, both the Midland line PSP and the Success Hill station to the Railway Parade cul-de-sac’s missing link will benefit from the funding allocations.
PSP’s will also be included in all new major road projects with the North Link scheme, Roe Highway, Kalamunda Rd interchange upgrades and the Reid Highway duplication all in line for a slice of the available funds.
Avid bike rider Mark Tabone, the 47 year old owner and manager of Midland Cycles is rapt about the WA government’s commitment.
“It won’t necessarily increase our sales but I have no doubt it will increase the popularity of bike riding as the ease of access will make it that much better for families.
“They won’t have to worry about the safety of little Johnny which may have held them back or restricted their involvement in the past.
“Unfortunately I think there will always be an issue with sharing of the road between cyclists and drivers and there is fault on both sides but these new bike trails should really encourage more people to become involved in what is a healthy and fun recreational pursuit.”
Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegen also praised the government for their action to increase cycling infrastructure.
“Promoting cycling is an important way for all cities to reduce carbon pollution from transport, in line with commitments to the Paris climate goals.
“Cycling is on the increase in Perth, but the lack of dedicated and safe cycling paths remains a major barrier to more people enjoying the benefits of this healthy and sustainable transport choice.’’
WestCycle, the peak body for cycling in WA and Bicycling Western Australia gave their strong support to the government’s commitment towards improving and developing new cycling infrastructure.
Both organisations were pleased with Labor’s continued focus on cycling as a mode of transport and as a solution to Perth’s congestion challenges.
By Andrew Carter