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What could Metronet mean for Perth? 29/04/2017

One of the major platforms of the new State Government in the lead up to the March 2017 election was the proposed Metronet rail vision which lays out a plan to provide improved connectivity in suburban areas, particularly east-west linkages.

One of the major platforms of the new State Government in the lead up to the March 2017 election was the proposed Metronet rail vision which lays out a plan to provide improved connectivity in suburban areas, particularly east-west linkages.

Stage one of the Metronet plan will reportedly cost an estimated $2.5 billion to complete and will include completion of the Forrestfield Airport Line, the Morley–Ellenbrook Line, a Yanchep rail line extension, Thornlie–Mandurah connection and a Byford extension.

The government has also earmarked potential light rail links in inner suburbs, along with improved bus and train connectivity and cycling infrastructure.

While the future of Metronet remains uncertain until federal funding can be secured, if the project does go ahead, it is likely to have a significant impact on growth and development in Perth.

A fast and efficient heavy rail service that is complemented by light rail is a sustainable approach to transport infrastructure that could boost Perth’s liveability and vibrancy.

Access to efficient public transport such as rail also has the potential to improve housing affordability due to decreased commute and general travel costs as well as providing the opportunity to deliver a mix of housing types at higher densities around the new train stations.

Train stations provide an opportunity to develop mixed use activity centres that include residential housing, as well as retail opportunities and small business along with the provision of essential services and amenities for the local community.

The viability of activity and employment centres is reliant on ensuring people are well-connected between their homes, jobs and other amenities and services.

While the benefits of an improved rail system in Perth are relatively obvious, it will be important to get the planning and funding models right from the outset to provide the required certainty to industry, businesses and residents about the future of certain areas.

It is critical future residential development complements the rail systems and developers can plan with certainty regarding densities and services that will be required and the types of housing that will be appropriate in certain locations.

Integrating transport and urban planning is critical so that government and private industry can work together to ensure that where people live and the infrastructure for how they move around are rolled out in a complementary way.

Transparency and certainty will be two of the key ingredients to the successful roll-out of Metronet.

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