Despite what appears to have been strong public opposition to a coastal dune boardwalk between Scarborough Beach and Trigg Beach the City of Stirling is going ahead with the proposal. The proposal includes the option to re-designate the Recreational Shared Path (RSP) between Scarborough Beach and Trigg Beach a bicycle path (under the Road Traffic Code 2000 a bicycle path means that pedestrians are effectively denied the use of the path – Regulation 204).
The City of Stirling council at its October 30, 2012 Council Meeting endorsed the Boardwalk for public consultation based on the following principles:
- A. That option C is the preferred route as indicated on the Concept Plan.
- B. The proposal is a hybrid route comprising elevated boardwalk with at grade paths intersecting with existing accesses.
- C. Elevated boardwalk elements are to be an aluminium structure to minimise the construction and longer term environmental footprint.
- D. The aluminium boardwalk elements are to
- be anodised using colours that complement the natural environment.
- E. Viewing platforms are to be provided at the indicative locations shown on the concept plan.
- F. Consideration is given to a ‘landmark’ viewing structure at the principal summit location.
and that the provision of a detailed design brief be deferred until the outcome of the public consultation and a further report will be provided to Council. It should be noted that the Boardwalk is going ahead so the interest here is the implication to cyclists.
The points of note are (includes more reasons put forward by the Council for an alternative route or Boardwalk):
- The proposed Boardwalk is for pedestrian’s only. No cyclists;
- The existing DUP (shared path) is only 3.0m wide and runs along the very busy and fast West Coast Highway. At all other locations within Stirling an alternative on road route is, or will be made, available and the Shared Path has been upgraded to a 4.0m standard;
- The original Perth Bicycle Network, and the recently released draft WA Bike Network Plan, both feature the coastal cycling route (from Fremantle to Yanchep) as a significant Recreational Shared Path which, if it is to function safely, will need an alternative to a shared (or dedicated pedestrian) path for the many fast cyclists that are drawn to this route.
- The provision of a boardwalk will enable the existing path to be re-designated as a 3.0m wide Bicycle Path (exclusive of all pedestrian access)
- Without the conflict of pedestrians, this path will become ‘fit for purpose’ for all cyclists with the possible exception of inexperienced and vulnerable children.
- It would probably be inappropriate to prohibit all cycling on the boardwalk, as the Road Traffic Code explicitly permits cycling on footpaths for children and the City’s Local Laws already apply a 10 km/hr speed limit in these areas (as already signed at Trigg SLSC and Scarborough Beach path).
City of Stirling’s Preferred Option for the Coastal Dune Boardwalk
The City of Stirling’s preferred option is route “C” on the concept map (see above). That is the Boardwalk for the exclusive use of pedestrians (I suspect within the constraints of the Road Traffic Code 2000) and the existing Recreational Shared Path (RSP) that runs alongside the West Coast Highway between Scarborough Beach and Trigg Beach be reserved for the exclusive use of cyclists.
I suspect that the exclusive use will not actually exist in practice at least at either end of this section as the local residents will continue to use the Recreational Shared Path to reach Scarborough and Trigg beaches and the new coastal dune boardwalk.
Public Comment on the Council Decision
In an interesting move the City of Stirling is seeking public comment on what it has decided to do. Normally one would expect the Council to seek public comment on options as to what it could do, not what it has decided to do. It seems that the Council is seeking public feedback more on the design brief than on whether we have a Boardwalk or not.
To that end cyclists may wish to give support to the proposed design brief which means that the current Recreational Shared Path between Scarborough Beach and Trigg Beach will become a bike path and not a shared path, i.e., for the exclusive use of cyclists.
If you are interested, the City of Stirling is accepting comments via email at email@example.com or via fax at 9345 8822 or via post at 25 Cedric Street, Stirling, WA 6021 up to Monday April 22, 2013.
As always, if we don’t input into discussions such as these we really cannot then complain about the cycling infrastructure we end up so please take a moment to drop the City of Stirling an email with your views. Please show the Council we are serious about a need for cycling infrastructure.