$90m to spin our wheels

The State Government has committed $90 million towards multiple projects that aim to improve cycling infrastructure throughout the state.

Some of the funding will be allocated to the construction of a pedestrian and cycle bridge west of the causeway, providing a safe passage for cyclists and pedestrians into the city, bypassing the busy intersection at the causeway.

A total of $50 million has been allocated for the construction of the bridge and a further $7 million to improve the infrastructure around the CBD.

Preliminary designs for the new Swan river bridge
The new cycle and pedestrian bridge will provide a safe passage in and out of the city Image supplied by WestCycle.

The funding comes as the State Government seeks to continue Western Australia’s recovery from the global pandemic. A further $20 million has been allocated to fund the development and extension of mountain bike trails in the Perth, Great Southern and South West regions.

The investment in cycling infrastructure has a come at a much needed time, as there has been a significant uptake of cycling in Perth. Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said unprecedented investment in the area was necessary to accommodate the surge of cycling.

“In recent months, we have seen Western Australians take to our bike paths in record numbers. Cycling trips rose 45 per cent across metropolitan Perth in the June quarter. To put that in perspective, that means almost 80,000 more people per week were riding their bikes in June this year compared to the same time last year,” she said.

The State Government’s investment has been well received by WestCycle’s general manager Phillip Taylor who understands the benefits cycling can offer the public.

“We know that cycling infrastructure provides a great return on investment and the economy benefits $1.43 for every kilometre that is ridden. We look forward to the government further investing in the priorities identified in the Perth Greater CBD Transport Plan, as well as recreational facilities, such as mountain bike trails, identified in the Western Australian Mountain Bike Strategy that will also play an important role in Western Australia’s economic recovery,” he said.

The effect is being recognised locally, with the rest of the funding contributing to help finish ongoing projects.

MyRide Cannington manager and avid all-round cyclist Lawrence Considine said there must be ongoing investment for infrastructure to support the influx of new cyclists.

MyRide Manager Lawrence Considine
MyRide Manager Lawrence Considine has never seen the bike industry this busy. Photo: Tom McCracken.

“The bike industry has never been busier with a lot of stores unable to meet demand. There is always a need to create safe spaces for cyclists and, even more so, to help this current influx of new riders,” he said.

The plans for the Swan River bridge are yet be finalised, and await further consultation, while the construction of smaller urban projects and the mountain biking trails are set to begin later this year

Categories: General