Lava Street crossing OK

COUNCILLORS have endorsed a plan to establish a mid-block pedestrian crossing in Lava Street, Warrnambool, pending committee approval.

Under existing plans, a substantial crossing would be constructed outside the central Coles Supermarket in a similar set-up to mid-block crossings in Liebig and Koroit streets.

Preliminary estimates put the project cost at roughly $240,000. The installation of a crossing with traffic lights would result in the loss of seven on-street car parks. The final project design has been referred to the city’s renewal advisory committee.

Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said he has long been an advocate of mid-block crossings, pointing to the success of the pedestrian installation located outside the Archie Graham centre in Timor Street.

“The proposal is to have traffic lights, like what is seen along Liebig Street outside the Savoy Café and along Koroit Street outside the Target complex,” the mayor said.

“There’s plenty of foot traffic outside the supermarket and it’s only grown since it was redeveloped a few years ago.”

Cr Peter Hulin said the council had rushed to adopt a design and felt some European-style inspiration would be welcome.

“You only have to look at how countries like Germany have dealt with pedestrianisation to see that we’re pretty closed-minded when it comes to that sort of thing,” Cr Hulin said. “In this instance, we’ve put the cart before the horse in that we’re just going with a run-of-the-mill idea without looking at all the options, like shared roadways.”

Traffic counts have been undertaken outside the supermarket. This month’s council agenda stated the data collected strongly supported the need for improved pedestrian facilities.

The crossing would mean Lava Street between Liebig and Kepler streets would be altered from four lanes of traffic to two, with the potential for bicycle lanes in the future. The agenda also includes a proposal of mitigating the loss of parks by altering the parallel bays outside George Taylor’s store into 45-degree angle parking.

alex.sinnott@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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