Saturday, 25 August 2012

Perth Stadium

The master plan for Perth’s new sport stadium was released this week (7.7 Mb PDF). This new venue, with a seating capacity of 60,000, will become the largest in Western Australia. Currently Subiaco Oval holds that title and has seating for around 43,000.

It is debatable whether we actually need to spend $700+ million on another venue for watching sport. I could make an argument that the money would be better spent on infrastructure that would make it easier to get around our city on bicycles and as pedestrians. More doing: less watching.

There are many that would also argue that going to a game is doing and that there is something special about seeing a sporting contest with a massive crowd.

Once it is built, there will still be 140 larger stadiums around the world with more capacity. In that context, the proposal seems more modest and perhaps it can be justified considering Perth has a population of $1.8 million. If watching sport is not your thing, it will seem like a waste of money. If you are a regular at live games you will probably be thinking, just build it and hurry up.

One of the most interesting aspects of the stadium plan is a new pedestrian bridge crossing the river from East Perth to the stadium area. We have known about this for a while, it was shown on an earlier draft proposal back in March, but no details were given. When I first saw it I thought, what a great idea, it would connect the shared bicycle-pedestrian paths on both sides of the river. People could ride to the games! I started to imagine families travelling together and lots of undercover bicycle parking around the stadium. After all, it would be a brand new facility and it could be easily incorporated into the design.

However I was worried that the bridge would be designed for pedestrians-only and now that I have seen the plan it appears that bicycles are not being considered. 

The document has only two insignificant references to bicycles. There are two drawings that group cycling with recreational pursuits but nothing in relation to transport.

The Principal Shared Path that runs beside the Graham Farmer Freeway is not even shown on their map.

Transport to the stadium will be an important issue. The Burswood peninsula has is a very limited road network and movement is restricted by the barriers of river, rail line and freeway. The Perth Stadium website says that transport plans will be “based on a target of 70 per cent public transport use”. There is also a strong focus on pedestrian movements and the master plan even considers that people may walk for up to thirty minutes to reach the stadium. Moving 60,000 people in a short period is obviously a challenge and I think it is admirable that public transport and walking are being examined, but what about bicycles?

When will the Government of Western Australia’s Department of Planning start to recognise that bicycles are a transport option? Maybe they could have a chat with the people in the Department of Transport who produced the WA Bicycle Network Plan. Both of the departments are in the same building, these people probably see each other in the lift, but they are obviously not talking.

Perhaps they could look out the window and see how many people are getting around on bicycles. We have had a 7% increase this year and I can see the trend continuing. It is also an Australian Federal Government policy so there is no reason to not get the message.

Clearly, we need to have a bridge that can handle pedestrians and bicycles. Maybe it would have two levels or a central division to avoid conflict.

Now, thinking about parking. If the stadium holds 60,000 and 70% of people are using public transport, then the next biggest group will be the people who drive to East Perth and walk across the new bridge. Being realistic, maybe there would only be about 5% of people making the journey to the stadium by bicycle. 

That means we need bicycle parking for 3,000 please.

Oh, I nearly forgot. 


We need a bicycle-pedestrian bridge on the other side as well. This will connect Maylands to Burswood and East Perth. 


  1. Glad to see you writing about this. A lot of bike advocates overlook the importance of getting bike paths included in these kinds of developments, but if these things are done right they can stimulate bicycle transport in all directions of the actual park.

  2. It should be noted that the Plan fails to mention two other transport options: taxis and cars. I favour bicycles too but, in the current environment, many of the 23 325 people who are planned to walk from East Perth will have driven there. Yet no provision is made on either side of the Swan River for car parking. I suspect that is the real intention of the sporting oval south of the stadium are really for.

    No provision has been made for a cab rank or drop off point near the stadium. As a former cab driver, I know people will be demanding the driver gets them close!

    Finally, the caption picture of Windan Bridge on page 9 of the plan talks about pedestrian use of the dual use lane on Windan Bridge. It implies that on game days, cycle access to the Windan Briadge will be stopped.

    Michael Boswell

  3. Any person, from any part of the reconnected City should be able to walk, cycle, wheelchair, or pram - to the Eastern side of the River.

    Exclusive access to Nelson Crescent gives preferences to the waterfront C.B.D, yet seems to be a longer distance to the Landlocked Northbridge half of the City.

    More direct - Pedestrian Access via Nile Street would provide a shorter walk to the Cultural Centre, New Museum, and an opportunity for a Sculpture Walk to make the route more interesting, and seem shorter,

    than the wait to share part time busses with all the other spectators..

    The potential health benefits to the wider commuting community - of a ergonomically connected bridge 24/7 365 days of the year will far exceed the benefits
    of providing a Pedestrian Bridge to Part Time Busses would ever achieve alone..