Perth too wide to cope

Urban sprawl of Perth is causing headaches for environmental advocates and PT planners

Perth is now the second longest city in the world presenting significant public transport access issues, according to a new report by Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The report recommends the Western Australian Government implement a long-term integrated transport plan that reduces traffic congestion, improves air quality and encourages increased uptake of public transport.

At 123 kilometres, Perth is now second only to Sochi, Russia in terms of the distance within the city boundary from north to south, according to EPA’s analysis.

EPA chairman Paul Vogel has delivered the report to WA environment minister Albert Jacob, and says the city can grow without compromising public transport amenities if proactive strategies are put in place.

"With most of the population living in the Perth-Peel region  – in one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots – we must ask ourselves how we want our city to develop and what quality of life we want for our population," Vogel says.

"We have to do better in the future if we are to manage the impacts of an extra 1.5 million people.

"Using existing cleared land and smart infill will deliver a city that is more liveable and sustainable."

The organisation also wants development be targeted to achieve a more compact city, to accommodate the 3.5 million people it is projected to have by 2050.

EPA considered the likely environmental impacts of future urban, industrial and rural residential development on the public transport network and other essential infrastructure as part the report.

Vogel says the environmental cost of continuing the urban sprawl was incalculable and strategic land use planning was needed for population growth to occur, without compromising the environment and communities having reasonably good access to amenities.

The organisation made 36 recommendations on everything from air quality to human health and access to close, regular and reliable public transport.

EPA’s will deliver its final strategic advice in 2016, as it aims to influence the WA Government, as part of its current strategic assessment of the Perth and Peel regions.

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