Cappuccino Strip: remove the buses or the cars?
The October council meeting passed a resolution to ask Transperth to divert its buses away from South Tce/Market St and via Parry St/Beach St as a trial over summer. I voted against this for the following reasons:
1. It would mean the loss of the bus stop at the corner of Market St and High St for northbound passengers, and require southbound passengers who catch the bus at the markets to walk to the hospital. This is a pretty big inconvenience for passengers using these stops, especially people with reduced mobility.
2. This is a significant diversion for buses connecting passengers to the station, especially at peak hour. We should be trying to direct traffic in ways that prioritises public transport, not private motor cars.
3. Removing buses will not reduce congestion or pollution along the strip as more cars will simply be drawn into the vacuum.
4. While some café owners may think the removal of the buses would create a more pleasant outdoor dining experience I suspect it may have a negative impact on their trade. There is nowhere for private cars to park along the strip, so drawing more of them to drive past won't bring any more customers, whereas the buses bring people to their door.
A legitimate complaint about the buses is the speed some of the do along the strip which is quite intimidating for bike riders. However I've always believed that the answer to this is to drop the speed limit to 30km/h and eventually phase out private motor traffic between High St and Essex or Parry Streets; making it a street for public transport, taxis, delivery vans and bikes only. This would make the street more pedestrian friendly and prioritise public transport.
In any case it's only a proposal for a trial and Transperth may knock the idea on the head. Either way it opens the debate on how to improve this part of town.