Trams among plans to improve parking in city centre

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
A trackless tram, which follows white magnetic strips painted on the road in a test in China, could provide a transport solution for Bunbury.
Camera IconA trackless tram, which follows white magnetic strips painted on the road in a test in China, could provide a transport solution for Bunbury. Credit: Supplied / South Western Times

Trackless trams and electric scooters are being floated as possible transport solutions in the CBD as Bunbury City Council looks into future parking needs.

Six months on from sweeping changes to the city’s parking, including reinstating free parking, the council will next week receive an update on its parking strategy.

The update is centred around a CBD Action Plan, which is being prepared to help with future parking demand and management.

After stakeholder workshops by council staff, investigating alternative transport options such as trackless trams was identified as beneficial to the city.

Mayor Gary Brennan told the South Western Times the trams and e-scooters were a possible solution in the long-term planning.

“Having seen the trams, particularly in other parts of Australia and elsewhere in the world, they are a very efficient form of transport particularly in high population, high density areas including central business areas of major cities,” Mr Brennan said.

“I’m always into long-term planning so we need to be putting in place things today that we believe will be required in 40 or 50 years time.”

The idea is just one in a number of options expected to be presented to the council next week.

In the report, Blair Street near Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre is described as a “hostile pedestrian environment” with downgrading the road to single lanes again being floated.

For now, the council will be recommended to consider additional on-street parking bays along Blair Street and Casuarina Drive as part of steps towards “calming” the area.

Mr Brennan said work along Blair Street had been planned for some years and it was important to get the connectivity between the CBD and Koombana Bay right.

“It makes sense to have people connection between the central area and the foreshore, particularly with Koombana Bay and Casuarina,” he said.

“There’s been significant investment in Koombana and that will continue into Casuarina ... so we’ve got to be clever and come up with infrastructure which actually encourages more pedestrian access between those two bays and our central area.

“I think overall, eventually Blair Street will probably come down to just a two-lane system and we’ll have very safe movement of pedestrians across Blair Street and perhaps Casuarina Drive.”

The report also outlines parking occupancy data, which shows occupancy between 60 and 70 per cent for on-street and off-street bays in the CBD.

Council staff suggest the data indicates there is capacity within the existing carpark network to accommodate some growth before new infrastructure is needed.

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