Case for Perth light rail

Melbourne’s trams are praised for creating city life.

A light-rail transport system would make Perth a more livable city, according to Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.

Speaking at a Committee for Perth lunch yesterday on what Perth could learn from Melbourne, Mr Doyle said an inner-city light rail network – or an equivalent highly efficient shuttle service – was “unbeatable” in creating a vibrant, livable city.

“Melbourne would not be Melbourne without its trams,” Mr Doyle said. “We are lucky because we have 250km of tram network.

“I don’t think we would be as livable without that tram network because transport, moving people and connectivity is vital for livability.

“Livability is about lots of different things but you can’t afford to miss one of these key elements.”

Perth’s tram system was dug up by 1958 and the Barnett Government’s plan for the MAX light-rail system from the northern suburbs to the city has been deferred by four years and will not be finished until late 2022.

Mr Barnett, who also spoke at the lunch, confirmed MAX was still on the Government’s agenda.

Urban designer William Hames said light rail was critical to the dynamics of a city, with more than 100 cities throughout the US – the home of the car – building light- rail networks.

“Light rail is about bringing people into a city but what it also does is facilitate the development of a range of housing options,” he said.

“And one of the things that Perth lacks is housing choice. There are either apartments or living in the burbs and not a lot in between.”

Melbourne has been named the most livable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global livability index for the past four years.

Perth was ranked ninth last year.

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