A SLOW traffic plan has been flagged by Warrnambool City Council for the city’s CBD with a proposed reduction in the main street speed limit to 30 kilometres an hour.
Smaller lanes at roundabouts, improved pedestrian crossings and upgraded footpaths have all been suggested in a major review of Liebig Street and how the retail precinct functions.
Further pedestrianisation could also be accommodated through four lanes of traffic being reduced to two, allowing for the main street’s footpath to be expanded from 420 centimetres to 570 centimetres.
Extra space may also be achieved by reconfiguring car parking spaces from the traditional 45 degree angle to 30 degrees.
The proposals have been outlined in the council’s operations report, detailing what concepts may be used in the overhaul of the main shopping precinct between Koroit Street and Raglan Parade.
Other suggestions in the report include:
* a “better quality” footpath with a bluestone pavement in some areas;
* the phasing out of controversial plane trees;
* a secondary level of vegetation, perhaps in planter containers;
* seating made with “warm and inviting” materials;
* median strip public art to brighten the street’s appearance; and
* retractable bollards to section off parts of the street for celebrations.
Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said a range of ideas had been canvassed in the comprehensive study as Liebig Street grapples with nationwide changes to the retail sector.
Cr Neoh said while cafés and restaurants provided a strong “book-end” to Liebig Street between Koroit and Timor streets, the face of retail was changing along the northern blocks.
“What we are seeing in Liebig Street is not unlike the challenges faced by many other regional cities including Ballarat and Bendigo,” he said.
“Internet sales have changed the way many people shop but service-based retail, such as hairdressers, health care, beauty and so on are making inroads.
“Those type of businesses have the potential to grow strongly in Liebig Street.”
City council renewal manager Tanya Egan said there had been a strong response from the community, with many participants offering their views on how to spruce up Liebig Street.
She said while all suggestions raised were still in the concept phase, progress was being made on the city renewal plan with state authorities to assess the blueprint soon.
“The way people have participated and offered their ideas has been fantastic,” Ms Egan said.
“We’ve had several workshops with 120 people attending and people have shared their ideas and looked at the concept plans.
“All of the concepts included in (the city growth operations report) are just ideas at this stage but some will become a reality once we start work.”
Ms Egan said suggestions will turn into concrete plans later in the year once the Victorian Design Review Panel undertakes a thorough investigation of the tentative blueprint.
CBD revitalisation discussions began six years ago with various broad concepts which were summarised in an official structure plan adopted by the council in 2012.
Workshops were held by the city council in May along with a special centre opening at the same time in the old ANZ Bank building.