Call to reverse some proposed Alkimos station changes

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Wanneroo councillors are calling for some original components of the Alkimos station such as the building’s valance and principle shared path to be reinstated. Graphic illustration: Metronet

SOME proposed changes to the Alkimos station put forward by the Public Transport Authority are not supported by Wanneroo councillors and they want the axed principle shared path and a façade valance mesh screen reinstated.

Last month the council considered a development application put forward by Urbis for the Public Transport Authority (PTA) on land owned by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) and DevelopmentWA.

The city said it was generally supportive of the modified design of the Alkimos station but not providing a principle shared path and linking the stations and activity centres with the overall cycle and transport network, could potentially compromise the state and city’s objective of achieving a sustainable transport network.

The officer’s report said principle shared paths (PSP) were intended as a network of safe, connected convenient paths used for long distance trips, but were also suitable for less experienced riders and short trips as well as pedestrians.

“The PSP along the freeway cannot be considered to be a replacement for the rail extension PSP as that PSP ends at Romeo Rd and the Alkimos station integrates with the future urban areas surrounding it,’’ the report said.

The city had previously recommended to the WAPC, which is the decision maker on planning control areas, that the PSP network should allow for a continuous north-south movement through the station building which would be separate from the pedestrians within the station.

“This was recommended to avoid cyclist and pedestrian conflicts within the station building where cyclists sought to pass through the station and continue down the PSP network.

“The proposed phase 2 design does not resolve this problem with the removal of the PSP, rather, the issue remains, except the cyclists will not enjoy a dedicated path up to the station anymore.

“It is considered that the conflict between pedestrian and cyclist is worsened by the new design.’’

The city has recommended the inclusion of the PSP within the design of this application and have recommended the prioritisation of pedestrian movement in the station forecourt in order to mitigate the potential conflict with commuter cyclists travelling north-south on the regional path network in its comments to the WAPC.

The officer’s report said the station design was largely unchanged in its form but for the expectation of more pedestrian entrances on its eastern façade and the notable removal of the previously approved mesh valance – a 1.5m deep metal structure supported by exposed steel framing.

“The applicant has stated that the removal of the valance provides a simplified, lighter and less busy structure that will not attract and hold dirt and dust or encourage insects to habitat within the framing,’’ the officer’s report said.

“The applicants have also stated that the intent of the valance was to act as a canvas for future public art however on assessment of the public art submissions it was deemed that the artwork would be more suitably placed in other locations.’’

The city asked its design review panel – responsible for providing the city with a range of expert advice on urban design, architecture, landscape design and sustainability aspects of proposals – to review the development application.

“In its most recent review, the DRP has objected to the removal of the mesh valance stating that the removal of the valance on the station building is notable as a major degradation of the station architecture.’’

The DRP said the valance:

  • Presented as a highly visible canvas for local identity and sense of place and was developing in its representation of some significant aspects of the cultural landscape in Alkimos and to help distinguish this station from others planned along the line;
  • Provided enhanced climate protection for pedestrians and helped to reduce summer heat load on the building’s wall surface and interior spaces;
  • Reduced building bulk, through articulation and play of shadows on the facades, and humanised the building scale by being lowered and relative to the height of a pedestrian;
  • Aided pedestrian legibility by the raised undulations indicating each of the four entries into the building; and
  • Integrated the highly visible location for public artwork with the overall station design.

The city said it agreed with the DRP’s comments.

“From a place perspective, the interpretive elements of the previous station design showed a strong connection to local landscape character.

“The exterior design demonstrated a clear derivation from the significant parabolic dune surrounding the Alkimos city centre and the exterior and interior dunal themes were consistent and strong.

“The removal of the mesh valance is not supported and a recommendation to require the retention of the mesh valance has been included in administration comments to the commission.’’

At their October ordinary council meeting councillors also voted for inclusion of east-west pedestrian paths from carpark 2 to the north-south shared path and improvements to the forecourt area by increasing the amount of soft landscape and canopy coverage, considering public infrastructure and considering improving the landscape plan to prioritise pedestrian movement.

  • An earlier version of this story referred to “Some proposed changes to the Alkimos station put forward by the WAPC”, which was incorrect as the development application was made by Urbis for the Public Transport Authority (PTA).

Between them the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) and DevelopmentWA own the land involved but did not make the development application to the City of Wanneroo.