It’s election time in the City of Perth. What will it mean for cycling?
In this special guest post, Perth Bike Hub asks each of the candidates to share their vision for bicycle transport in the City of Perth.
With 31 candidates in the 2020 election race, we’ll do three separate blog posts:
Read on for what the lord mayoral candidates said. Plus Perth Bike Hub offers a short summary of each candidates’ responses.
1. What is your vision for the role of bicycles and other micro-mobility modes (such as electric scooters) in the City of Perth’s transport system?
2. Around two-thirds of Australians say they would like to ride a bicycle, especially for short trips, but only if it feels safe. Would you like to see more Perth residents on bicycles and if so, what specific actions will you take to improve bicycle transport in the City of Perth should you be elected?
3. The state government recently announced funding to build key bicycle routes along Bennett, Moore, Wittenoom and Nile Streets. If elected will you support construction of these routes?
LORD MAYORAL CANDIDATES
1. There is no doubt we need to make our City safer, and more friendly, for bicycles and other modes of micro-mobility. This is for the members of our Perth community who love cycling, and also because the benefits of urban cycling are far-reaching - including business, economic, transport and public health benefits (physical and mental).
Talking to a building owner last week, he noted that his tenants are no longer asking for more car bays, but for better end of trip facilities. This is great news.
We need to look at the long term plan for our City transport system and also what we can do right now. For example, during Coronavirus lockdown Paris set up 650 kilometres of pop-up bike lanes in the city. This is something the City of Perth could do on weekends now - to draw families into the City when our streets are typically quiet.
2. I would look to increase the City's cycling infrastructure - building on the City's current Cycle Plan Implementation Program 2016 – 2021. The City needs to collaborate with Main Roads WA, the Department of Transport, land owners and businesses to make our City safer, and more friendly, for bicycles and other modes of micro-mobility.
3. Yes. Central to my plan for Perth is a city of neighbourhoods - and the importance of community. I believe a great city is a liveable and enjoyable place, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure plays a significant role - providing opportunities for interaction and a sense of community, which does not happen when people are travelling in cars.
Sandy Anghie puts a strong focus on neighbourhoods, community and liveability, and seems to understand that bike-friendly cities benefit everyone, not just those who cycle.
She demonstrates an awareness of global responses to improving liveability through cycling and suggests ways Perth could learn from other cities.
She appears to understand the important role of infrastructure in getting people onto bikes, and shows knowledge of other stakeholders involved in the negotiation and planning process.
She supports the proposed East Perth bicycle routes.
1. My vision for Perth is to create a City with soul. We need to breathe new life to our streets with a coherent cycle route and promote Perth as a trans-modal City by encouraging electric scooters and e-bike sharing solutions, as well as allowing scooters to park on the footpath for free in key shopping hubs.
2. I would love to see more Perth residents on bicycles - it creates vibrancy and will make our City greener. I'll improve bicycle transport by funding a coherent, community-informed cycle route with no dead-ends and developing a walking plan for the City.
3. Yes, absolutely. These cycle routes will feed into my coherent cycle route throughout the City, with no dead-ends.
Di Bain speaks positively about the benefits to the city of having a multi-modal transport system, including bicycles. Her reference to ‘no dead-ends’ hints at a more holistic network focus, rather than isolated lanes. However little detail is provided and her reference to a ‘coherent cycle route’ does not sound like a large scale cycling network plan for the whole city.
It’s unclear if her desire for footpath scooter parking refers to conventional petrol-powered scooters (mopeds) and motorbikes. If so, this is worrisome as the experience of Melbourne shows.
She supports the proposed East Perth bicycle routes.
1. As a city resident, recreational cyclist and avid walker, I have certainly noticed an increase in the use of bicycles and scooters in and around the CBD. Post-COVID, I believe we will have a real opportunity to harness and increase these modes of transport.
In the short term, you’ll notice myself and other candidates supporting free parking options. This is because businesses who are desperate to attract customers are crying out for it. However, in the longer term, my vision is for a city far less reliant on cars.
I want a better connected city, where cyclists and pedestrians can travel safely and electric bike and scooter use can be encouraged through share, hire, or rebate schemes. This is definitely the way of the future and forget the Lord Mayoral car - if elected, I want to buy an electric scooter for the short journey from my home to Council House.
2. Yes, as outlined above, I would definitely love to see more Perth residents on bicycles. People will only do this if they feel safe and well connected. Some recent announcements including a cycle bridge across the river are a great start (the Causeway is a shambles).
If elected, I would oversee a network of more cycle lanes and paths and better lighting. I also believe more can be done to separate cyclists and pedestrians, by either widening paths or adding extra lanes. An example is the often congested stretch along the river between Elizabeth Quay and UWA.
Mark Gibson is positive about the potential to further grow the use of bicycles and e-scooters in Perth and seems to understand that a less car-dominated city fosters greater liveability. However his short-term strategy of providing free parking could make it more challenging to achieve his stated long term objective of a less car-dependent city.
He commits to backing a network of bike lanes and appears to have an awareness of the problems associated with busy dual use paths, offering some solutions to remedy this. He supports the proposed East Perth bicycle routes.
Mark Gibson’s plans for a Lord Mayoral electric scooter are admirable, but we can’t help but think it won’t be long before he realises how few safe spaces exist in the City of Perth to ride his new wheels.
1. When I moved back to Perth in 2010 I was working on a Bike Share social enterprise for Fremantle, there were a number of challenges involved and it was too early for Perth however I believe we are now entering a new phase in the cities growth and better bicycle and transport infrastructure will be key to delivering a smart and vibrant city.
Focusing on a 15-minute city is part of my strategy where all the amenities people need to live, work and play are within a 15-minute radius from their home by walking or bike. Better and safer cycling and micro-mobility infrastructure will be important to ensure this is achieved as this has both health and environment benefits but also the economic benefits of residents, workers and tourists using local cafe's, shops and other amenities.
I have seen first hand the potential mess that electric scooters create when implemented poorly overseas and this is something I would want to avoid in Perth without wider consultation and extensive planning. Perth should be one of the best cycling cities in the world with our year-round good weather and relatively flat landscape, this is our opportunity and it is one I don't want us to miss.
2. We saw during COVID-19 that cycling to work became a preference and we have a huge untapped opportunity for short trips around the city. Separated cycle lanes and highways are the best way to make the city safer to cycle around and this has been shown in cities around the world where the use of bikes increases dramatically. The Perth Greater CBD transport plan was released in August and outlines a number of initiatives that I will support over the next 10 years to upgrade not just cycling and transport infrastructure across the city but also address issues around safety and security including lighting and design elements of spaces. As Lord Mayor, I will advocate bringing forward some of these projects as part of COVID-19 stimulus which will create jobs and make for a smart and vibrant city.
Brodie McCulloch frames Perth's potential for cycling as an opportunity and appears to understand the importance of dedicated bike infrastructure and how walking and cycling relate to neighbourhood amenity, city liveability and economic success.
He recognises implementation problems associated with (presumably, dockless shared) e-scooters and wants to learn from that and do better for Perth. He also shows an awareness of international experience of how to grow bicycle transport.
He supports the Department of Transport’s Perth Greater CBD transport plan and intends to fast-track some projects but is vague on specific actions for cycling or otherwise. He supports the proposed East Perth bicycle routes.
1. Voters and interested parties are going to get sick of hearing me say this. am 100 percent an Our Vision person. We need all stakeholders to align with Vision.
We do need more racks to put our bikes in. I am a bike rider and live in the city. I walk to work but my Ideal week includes three rides around the river a week. I really do not like winter because of the lack of sunlight hours and wet. My office is just off the North Cycle exit(Aberdeen st) So having a coffee out front watching the chorus of bikes go by I get a pretty good idea of the cycle traffic we have into the city and it is growing.
We need more cycle lanes. I do know the City does have as part of its Strategic Community Plan a dedicated City Cycle plan and that gives you an indication of the really positive cycle initives to come. Electric Scooters… this time last year I was in LA and pretty much used an electric scooter the whole time I was there(week) I will be getting one that is for sure. Electric Scooters and other forms of transport are not going away we have to make sure we can provide aesthetics parking arrangements for them so as not to have eyesores to our street scapes. They look cool scooting around don’t they. Totally add to the a urban lifestyle look.
2. I totally understand that sentiment, when I first got married I used to live in Yokine and tried riding to work in the city. After a week and a couple of near misses I decided it was not worth it. The reality is in the CBD we have more scope than in the suburbia because the traffic speeds are lower and we can ride our bikes at safe speeds with the traffic. Some section of say Wanneroo Road are very narrow and a Bus or 4wd passing by at 60km plus does test the white knuckles.
In answering your question I would love to see more bikes on our City Roads and I think the roads within the city are in great condition. (The Kings park ones can shake the back teeth though)
3. Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt. I can’t wait to use them. The more KM’s of track we can have for cylcists off the roads are better for all levels of cyclers user experience
While Bruce Reynolds offers some positive words about bicycles and electric scooters, his statement "I think the roads within the city are in great condition" is very unsettling. It suggests a commitment to the status quo and a lack of understanding of the need for safer streets.
While he displays some awareness of the role of traffic speeds in impacting cycling’s appeal, he believes the current speeds on city streets make them suitable for mixing cars and bikes. Most Australians do not share this view.
He says he supports an increase in cycling but offers no specific action as to how he will make that happen, other than backing the proposed East Perth bicycle routes.
He says Perth needs more bike parking and more bike lanes and recognises that micromobility will remain an issue into the future.
1. My vision for cycling is on my website timschwass.com.au
2. I would absolutely like to see more cyclists and will do everything I possibly can to encourage cycling.
3. I will do more than just support the proposals. If mayor I will be facilitating and driving the issue. Without delaying the works there will be genuine consultation with everyone to make sure it is done properly. Bike Hub would not just be consulted but be involved in forming the proposals for the council to consider.
As you may be aware the Perth Parking Levy can be spent on infrastructure for cycling. Workshops on how best to do that will be held to get the benefit of everyone’s input. Perth will become the cycling capital of Australia if I am mayor.
Tim Schwass offers positive words about bicycle transport and is one of the few candidates to have a stated cycling platform. Despite this, his proposals lack detail and his understanding of cycling’s potential for the city seems limited (for example on his website he refers to “separated cycleways for the serious cyclists”).
He is supportive of the state government’s recent active transport announcements and shows an awareness of some government cycling plans and that the parking levy can fund cycle infrastructure.
He supports the proposed East Perth bicycle routes.
1. It would be great to see more people travelling to and from work in the CBD using bicycles, reducing road congestion.
2. A safer, friendlier city for everyone is my absolute priority. I will continue to push for 200 additional police for the city centre to address anti-social behaviour and ensure all road users are safe.
3. Yes, I support the State Government’s WA Bicycle Network Plan.
Basil Zempilas voices superficial support for cycling but shows little understanding of the issues and offers no meaningful action that would enable Perth residents to ride more.
He speaks of bike riding only as something for commuting city workers.
He does not adequately answer two of the three questions: His comments about police do not address the question and, although he backs the state government’s WA Bicycle Network Plan, he does not say whether or not he will support the proposed East Perth cycle routes.
CANDIDATES NOMINATING IN BOTH CATEGORIES
There are seven people who have nominated for the position of Lord Mayor. Three candidates have also nominated for a councillor position if their bid for Lord Mayor is not successful: Sandy Anghie, Di Bain and Bruce Reynolds.