Room for parking and orchids at South Street
The Public Transport Authority will work with other Government agencies and the Commonwealth to expand the Murdoch Park 'n Ride facility, while still protecting the the site's endangered spider orchids.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the proposed bus rail transit station at Murdoch would become one of the busiest on the metropolitan rail network.
Ms MacTiernan said the New MetroRail project was preparing alternative plans for expanding car parking in a way sympathetic to maintaining a habitat for the rare flora.
"Parking is already at a premium at the existing bus Park 'n Ride, which is also a key stop on the popular circle bus route," she said.
"There are 900 car park spaces there, almost as many at the very busy Warwick transit station on the Northern Suburbs Railway.
"The facility was expanded by about 25 per cent three years ago and late last year we created a further 40 bays in the southern part of the car park. We plan to create 20 more in the northern section.
"We advise people who are unable to consistently secure a legal parking bay at Murdoch Park 'n Ride to consider catching one of Transperth's suburban buses - either right into the city or to the Murdoch or Booragoon interchanges."
An estimated 1,500 parking spaces will be required when rail services start in December 2006 with up to 16 trains an hour running each way during peak periods.
"The transport reserve land is the South-East quadrant at the intersection of the Kwinana Freeway and South Street and has been long earmarked for increasing Park 'n Ride spaces," the Minister said.
"This major transport intersection was first identified in 1963, while the road reserve was twice expanded in metropolitan regional scheme amendments during the 1970s to accommodate parking and access roads.
"There is no alternative but to expand the parking area to the eastern side of the Kwinana Freeway, immediately opposite the existing Park 'n Ride.
"Also, it will be necessary to build the approach to the bus overpass to the station over the northern part of that land, which contains a number of the declared rare flora species commonly known as the grand spider orchid.
"We will present an option that will effectively excise 0.8ha of spider orchid habitat from the transport reserve, giving us the opportunity to save the overwhelming majority of the identified plants.
"This option, though, will reduce the number of new car parking bays and bring the access road much closer to local residents.
"We must find a balance because increasing patronage of public transport will provide for generations the enormous environmental benefits that are well in excess of the immediate short-term imposts on the local area.
"This is not a battle between the railway and rare flora - this is about best use of transport reserve land to deliver both local and wider reaching environmental benefits."
Ms MacTiernan said the new car parking plans would be discussed with nearby residents and needed to be ratified by State and Federal environmental agencies.
For more information on the New MetroRail project, please visit www.newmetrorail.wa.gov.au