How To Create A Much Better Laneway

This is Drew Walker.

Drew owns a shop.

The shop is Captain Walker's Bicycles.

I first met Drew when he had an incubator space at a special house called the Fibonacci Centre.

On Blinco Street in Fremantle, The Fibonacci Centre is a piece of land with a building on it.

Bought by Robby Lang, who has recently won an award for the thickest Scottish accent outside of Muirkirk and is a metal-form producer by trade, it grew to be his house, a double storey cafe, multi-room incubator and many other things buildings should be, which is to say: unique.

Visiting Robby one day to introduce myself and talk about his involvement in the local economy I confessed to Drew, who had an incubator space there - a cage, really, as the partitions between businesses were cyclone fencing making them seem (in hindsight) like kennels - that I only had a few coins, but if he could take my vehicle - a bike - and pump up the tyres and give it some oil whilst I talked with Robby that I'd be most ingratiated to him.

After Robby, I came downstairs to see this remarkable man breathing life into my bike and I instantly thought, as all good men do: this guy should be in town.

But why?

Good businesses foster community development. This is due to the use - in this case bicycle sales and repairs - but it is also due to the retailer who performs that use in the manner that attracts community participation.

As it happens, Drew now runs a sexy little bike shop in town selling new-vintage bikes in a stunning, triangular shaped shop in a forgotten laneway.

And this is the story of Paddy Troy Lane.

It's so important that the walkability of our community is increased.

  • This makes us more competitive - because more track is accessed by more people thus, effectively, keeping them away from other districts.
  • It's better for our community - because people access more places, resources and people.
  • It's good for our economy - because inferior places become superior and can support more independent businesses.

And one way walkability is increased it to put excellent retailers in places that are ... a bit on the nose.

These places are cheap. Bonus.

And so when Drew told me he was taking a shop behind Cash Converters, next to Wear2, fronting Paddy Troy Lane, I instantly leaped.

This would be great for the community because Paddy Troy Lane would become a bit more walkable, and our pedestrian network extended.

But first: a problem.

You see, his shop is within a property that's part of a strata titled complex.

And it's called Fremantle Malls.

Fremantle Malls has 45 separate titles, meaning it's like a shopping centre where all the shops are individually owned.

It also has about 200 metres of frontage across a main street, two arcades, a side street, and Paddy Troy Mall.

On the strata plan there is a formal address for the serving of notices and so on, and in this case it's '27-45 William Street'.

What happens next is that shop owners address their shop as "Lot 30, 27-45 William Street", or whatever, because this is the how it's quoted in their lease.

But to name your shop 'Part Lot 41, 27-45 William Street', as Drew could have, would be ridiculous.

'Paddy Troy Mall' is cool. And Drew was about to make it cooler.

And we called his shop 1 Paddy Troy Mall.

Within six months, 'Paddy Troy Mall' has become a place in the consciousness of the community.

And that's good.

For our community, for our economy, for walkability and for our children.

Thank you Drew. You're the best.

(And thank you Robby Lang too.)

Above: Drew Walker of Captain Walker's Bicycles (1 Paddy Troy Mall) at The Monk Brewery, South Terrace, Fremantle, Australia, reviewing Perth's pedestrian statistics.


Read A Statement From Drew

Head Up To The Blinco Street Cafe At The Fibonacci Centre, 19 Blinco Street, Fremantle, Australia

Meet Drew's Neighbour - Jay Wilde At Wear2

A Further Article On Paddy Troy Mall

Have A Look At A Laneway In Hanoi