1. What does the project involve?
The project will involve constructing a regional standard 3.0 metre wide asphalt shared path by using one of the traffic lanes on Rockingham Road, and modifying the road to have one traffic lane in each direction, separated by a median island. Opportunities to plant trees to improve the appearance of the road will be investigated as part of the detailed project design.
The 3-metre wide median island will be a combination of asphalt with traffic islands where necessary. It will create opportunities to:
· Install refuge islands at locations along the road to provide much safer and more frequent opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road to/from shops, schools, bus stops, etc;
· Provide an area for vehicles turning right into side streets and driveways to safely wait for an opportunity to turn whilst minimising delays to continuing vehicles;
· Slowly pass buses or waste trucks that are briefly stopping by the side of road, when it is safe to do so; and
· Possibly install some trees in the centre of the road to improve the street appearance.
The asphalt shared path will be separated from the road by a 1-metre wide safety buffer that can be used to place bins on waste collection day. The diagram below shows a cross section for the modified road layout.
Ongoing design for this project will address issues such as whether embayments are needed at bus stops where buses stop for longer periods of time, and how the path can be treated at intersections to give greater priority to path users. In addition, opportunities for bicycle parking and public art will be considered.
2. Why is this project being done?
Improving pedestrian and cyclist facilities on Rockingham Road will help address community complaints about the lack of safe or convenient ways to cross the road. The construction of a shared path along the north/east side of Rockingham Road was identified in the City’s 2010 Bike Plan. The City has been working to overcome constraints along the road such as power poles and the narrow width of the road reserve.
3. Why is the City reducing the number of traffic lanes on Rockingham Road?
Having this section of Rockingham Road with one traffic lane in each direction is consistent with the existing layout of that road through Spearwood, south of Spearwood Avenue, and Munster and the planned layout between Phoenix Road and Spearwood Avenue in front of the Phoenix Shopping Centre.
This approach is often called a road-diet. It is applied to multi-lane roads when it is desired to use the space for other uses or travel modes, typically where the number of traffic lanes available exceeds what is needed for the volume of traffic the road is carrying.
4. Will reducing Rockingham Road to a single traffic lane in either direction create traffic congestion?
The City is confident that the road will still operate at an acceptable level with a single traffic lane in either direction because the daily volume of traffic on this section of Rockingham Road (12,500-13,500 vehicles per day) is less than a number of other single lane roads in the region including:
· Rockingham Road, south of Spearwood Avenue 16,000 vehicles per day;
· Cockburn Road, south of Rockingham Road 18,000 vehicles per day;
· South Street, White Gum Valley 20,000 vehicles per day;
· Farrington Road, east of North Lake Road 21,000 vehicles per day.
5. Will bus embayments be provided for buses?
Embayments that buses can pull into so that continuing traffic can pass will be provided at busier stops where buses stop for longer periods when setting down or collecting passengers. They will not be provided at minor bus stops that have low levels of use, where delays to through traffic would be minor and infrequent.
6. How will the new shared path affect my driveway crossover?
The City will modify the driveway crossovers to properties as needed during the construction period to ensure that vehicle access is maintained. The asphalt shared path will be one continuous path with crossovers stopped either side of the path. This will reinforce that vehicles entering or leaving properties are required to give-way to path users, as per the Road Traffic Code 2000.
7. What benefits will the project provide?
The project will improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists travelling along or crossing Rockingham Road. This is particularly important considering that there were 4 crashes involving pedestrians in this section of road in the last 5 years, and one of those crashes resulted in a fatality.
Road safety will be improved because vehicle speeds are likely to reduce slightly once traffic is in a single lane. The occasional presence of a bus stopping in the traffic lane to pick-up or set-down passengers, or one of the City’s Waste trucks emptying bins, will also briefly slow or stop traffic that will create gaps that pedestrians can take advantage of to cross the road or help motorists turn in/out of side streets.
A high quality shared path along Rockingham Road will also improve connectivity for the community by walking and cycling to destinations such as:
· South Beach and Fremantle, via Hollis Park
· Manning Park
· Wally Hagan Basketball Centre, Dixon Park Reserve and Brunswick Stables Historic Precinct
· Hamilton Hill Shopping Plaza, Phoenix Shopping Centre and other local shops in the vicinity of Rockingham Road
· Local schools including Fremantle Christian College, Kerry Street Community School, Phoenix Primary School, Port School and Southwell Primary School.
8. Does the community support this project?
The City consulted the community about this proposal in October 2017 to gauge the level of community support. The results were used to support a funding application for a design grant for a bike path. The majority of submissions received, including from local cycling and community groups, supported the proposal for the path.
9. When will the work start?
The first stage of the project, from Cockburn Road to Carrington Street, will start by mid-year. The project will be staged, subject to available funding.