PARKING shortages, traffic flow and better public transport figure prominently among suggestions to rejuvenate Warrnambool’s CBD.
Median strip parking on Raglan Parade, a multi-level parking building and even a Liebig Street mall have been raised again by residents who put their views for Warrnambool City Council’s recently adopted city centre structure plan.
Shifting the bus exchange to either Liebig or Gilles streets and allocating park-and-ride depots on the city outskirts were also put forward.
More traffic lights, free wi-fi areas and even skateboard hubs were on the list along with safer cycling lanes.
Businessman Trevor Hawker described the proposals for CBD revitalisation as “the most progressive and practical I have witnessed in 30 years”.
He put forward a passionate plea for Raglan Parade median strips between Fairy and Liebig streets to be altered to create about 160 parking strips.
The concept has been raised several times previously in council elections, but has failed to win VicRoads or city council approval.
Mr Hawker said additional parking on-street and off-street was vital for the CBD to survive and prosper.
“This matter has been urgent for several years and is now crippling progress and the very survival of the northern precinct of the CBD,” he said.
However, the city development advisory committee submitted concerns about pedestrian safety with the median strip proposal.
“Multi-storey car parking may be more appropriate with construction in locations that may be hidden,” the committee said.
Warrnambool Bus and Motor Co, which operates the urban bus network, also urged fresh consideration of parking and traffic.
“Car parking in the CBD is something of a sacred cow in Warrnambool and this is not unusual for regional cities where there are few options to the car,” company director Sam Lucas said.
He warned the road network would soon be unable to handle traffic volume from expanding residential areas feeding onto Mortlake and Caramut roads.
Stephen Lucas, who is chairman of the regional accessibility committee, also suggested park-and-ride venues would reduce CBD traffic congestion and parking problems.
He suggested the showgrounds and racecourse as bases for commuters to catch buses.
Murdoch University undergraduate student Sam Sproal suggested a new bus interchange in Liebig Street between Timor Street and Smith Avenue closer to the rail station and civic, education and entertainment precinct.
Solicitor James Tait suggested Gilles Street for a new bus exchange and said centre of blocks or multi-level should be considered for parking.
Mr Tait also suggested traffic lights at the intersections of Liebig-Koroit, Liebig-Lava and Kepler-Koroit streets, closing Liebig Street at Raglan Parade, reconsideration of an earlier plan for a covered mall in the centre of Liebig Street, a three-storey residential development in Grace Avenue and a high-class hotel at either the railway precinct, the bowling alley site, or at a Gilles Street bus terminal.
Department of Transport regional co-ordinator Jozef Vass said provision must be made for expansion of the Koroit Street bus exchange.