Proposal to widen of West Coast Highway

16 September 2021

The City of Stirling Council has recommended conditional support for proposed Amendment No.1 to DevelopmentWA’s Scarborough Redevelopment Scheme that would allow Main Roads to widen West Coast Highway to provide for a future solution to traffic congestion in the area.

The item came to Council after DevelopmentWA initiated a scheme amendment to reserve land along West Coast Highway from Kay Street to Pearl Parade (almost 2km), which would allow for a concept prepared by Main Roads to sink the highway in a three-lane trench in future or alternative grade separation solution.

The amendment report refers to a Combined Agency Transport and Access Group (CATAG), which was established in 2018 after the $100 million Scarborough redevelopment to ‘investigate transport and access constraints and opportunities and develop an agreed framework for implementing transport and access enhancements and assessing future development proposals in a coordinated manner’.

The CATAG includes representatives from State Government agencies including Main Roads, DevelopmentWA, Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, Department of Transport and the Public Transport Authority as well as the City of Stirling.

Prior to the matter being raised at Council, the concept of sinking the highway in an open trench had not been made public or assessed by the CATAG or the community for endorsement, therefore the Council resolution aims to clarify the City’s expectations around the process and engagement with the community.

The City has not agreed to the MRWA trench option as it has concerns of the impact of the concept on the quality of the urban environment. However, the City has reaffirmed its desire to work collaboratively with State Government to identify an appropriate transport and access solution for Scarborough. Council last night voted to conditionally support Amendment No.1, provided that a range of conditions are met.

The Council resolution asserted the importance of protecting the land to allow for future transport and access solutions, but its support is conditional on several actions being completed before public advertising of the Amendment, including:

  • A meeting of the Combined Agency Transport and Access Group (CATAG) is held to consider and endorse:
    • the options investigated and agreed recommendations of the Transport and Access Study
    • a draft engagement and communications strategy
    • a brief for an urban design study to inform built form, connectivity, activation and amenity outcomes appropriate for Scarborough
  • Preparation of plans to undertake the urban design study for West Coast Highway in consultation with the City, to ensure the width of the road is suitable to accommodate:
    • a high-quality pedestrian and cyclist environment
    • street tree planting within both verges
    • opportunities for street level activation.
  • Undertake community engagement on the above items
  • Preparation of a report on the above and a recommendation on the preferred solution(s) to be presented to Council and the CATAG for endorsement.

Mayor Mark Irwin said Council noted the strategic importance of the intent to alleviate congestion issues, but had identified that all key stakeholders and the community needed to be fully and transparently engaged on future plans for the area.

“In-principle, Council supports the consideration of measures to address traffic congestion while enhancing pedestrian and cycle friendly access in the Scarborough precinct and we think this a solution can be achieved with these conditional measures,” he said.

“Ceding the land to widen the reserve is not about taking the land back from landowners, it is about having a setback that facilitates better at-grade access for pedestrians and cyclists, which is one of the key objectives of the Scarborough Masterplan.

“Ultimately any plans to widen the road need to demonstrate a high-quality, place-based outcome appropriate to the role and character of Scarborough as a premium beachside destination.”

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