IDEAS to revitalise Warrnambool’s main street are flowing after The Standard opened a reader survey on the city council’s makeover plan.
Almost every aspect of Liebig Street was raised in responses to the online questionnaire, including parking, shop fronts, footpath condition, shop variety, street art, rent control and foliage.
Suggestions for the proposed facelift have argued both sides on some issues.
Respondents wanted less driving lanes, more roundabout lanes, no driving lanes, more parking, cheaper parking, underground parking, more al fresco dining and less footpath clutter.
Warrnambool City Council has outlined the city centre renewal as a number-one priority and wants to hear directly from the community.
Residents and visitors can pitch their ideas at the shopfront office of the former ANZ Bank on Liebig Street from May 12 to 30.
Four-hour discussion workshops will take place on May 20 at the Uniting Church hall from 9.30am and 5.30pm, while the following day a mock-up blueprint will be displayed at the same venue for public feedback.
To take The Standard’s online survey visit http://ow.ly/wyYFc.
YOUR SAY — A SELECTION OF READER RESPONSES
What works (and shouldn’t change)?
* The shopping strip in the middle is lovely and similar shops, which is great.
* There is nothing that should not be considered for change.
* Tidy displays of goods — which don’t block the pathway.
* Entrances which are kept clean/tidy/freshly painted.
* Good food restaurants ... but they are at the bottom end of Liebig Street.
* There is generally a good range of shops.
* Trees, controlled non-blocking footpath dining.
* Well-maintained and presented shop facades, roundabout gardens.
* Roundabouts are effective traffic distributors and council does a good job of making these beautiful through planting of flowers.
* Angle parking is easy to use.
* Mid-street pedestrian crossings of some kind are important to enhance pedestrian safety.
What doesn’t work?
* The four lanes down Liebig Street!
* Big chain “bargain” stores, lack of unique independent stores, paid parking.
* Dirty footpaths, derelict shopfronts and unpainted facades, rubbish, bikes and anything else that unreasonably blocks pedestrian traffic, vandalised seating, empty shops that present a feeling of gloom.
* Single-lane roundabouts in CBD.
* Heritage listings are keeping it in the stone age. Old building which once stood next to the cinema which burnt down was the only one worth keeping beside our churches.
* Parking, weather, the quality of the shops (as all the good ones have gone out of town, e.g. Gateway/Homemaker).
* The restaurant strip at south end should be improved — there are some lovely places but there are some very dodgy places that require a facelift or relocating. There is an opportunity to create a vibrant and classy area — especially with gallery and theatre nearby but it is let down by some of the venues.
* Bottlenecking of roundabouts makes traffic bank up during holiday and summer periods.
* Too many trees which reduces car parks.
* Property owners charging way too much for rent.
* Cars travelling through Liebig Street. It should be a pedestrian mall.
* Cracked bitumen from trees which should never have been given the OK for planting — totally the wrong type.
* The inconsistency of awning design along shopfronts.
* The street isn’t safe for cyclists, due to high traffic volumes and the frequency of cars entering and reversing out of angle parking. This is a shame, as the street is of a suitable camber for cycling and could be a viable corridor.
* There is an absence of rest spaces in the northern end of the street — spaces that invite visitors to stay/eat/rest. The benches at present simply look straight at shopfronts.
* Al fresco dining tables at the street edge unable to be used when raining.
* Clothing racks in the middle of the street.
* Poor public transport information.
* Wet tree leaves in winter are a slipping hazard!
* Horrible street sculpture at corner of Koroit and Liebig Street.
* Lack of police presence to ward off young hooligans swearing across the streets and spitting on the ground when people are trying to eat food.
What are your suggestions?
* There should be harmony within the three sections of the street — it should be cleaned up and the tenants/landlords should be enforced to keep buildings in good condition. There are some beautiful old buildings which are requiring some improvements.
* Encourage more shop diversity ... boutiques etc.
* Reduction of traffic to one lane each direction, with a centre green strip planted with plane trees, as per Lygon Street’s design. This will allow a dedicated bike lane to be introduced along both sides of Liebig Street.
* The old and tatty facades above the shops could be renovated or cleaned up.
* There should be incentives for landlords to beautify the streetscape (e.g. awning designs, shopfronts).
* Removal of roundabout flower beds that become overgrown and block the view of oncoming cars in most roundabouts in the CBD.
* Look at the layout in 1990 when it used to work. Remove parking meters.
* Get the clock working.
* Paving footpaths with bamstone as per Melbourne, instead of hot mix which isn’t attractive.
* Make a continuous verandah along the street so we don’t get wet in winter.
* Outdoor eating for cafes and better utilisation of the laneways so cafes can use them as outdoor dining as well.
* Some five-minute parking so you can run in and grab takeaway.