GIVING the green light to heavy vehicles along Banyan Street will exacerbate traffic problems along the busy Warrnambool thoroughfare, city councillor Peter Hulin claims.
Councillors voted last week five votes to two in support of an amendment to the Warrnambool planning scheme which designated Banyan Street as a major link between Mortlake Road and Raglan Parade.
Cr Hulin said heavy-duty vehicles should be strongly discouraged from using the route and directed to alternative streets due to the Banyan-Cramer street intersection.
He said the intersection, which also includes Darling and Skene streets, had been unsafe for decades and safeguards needed to be enforced.
“Everyone in Warrnambool knows it’s a dangerous intersection — so why allow more and more trucks to clog it up?” Cr Hulin said.
“To think as a council we’d be actively encouraging heavy vehicles is just an accident waiting to happen.”
Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh agreed the street in question should be in line for funding and said the best way of achieving that goal was designating it as a major thoroughfare.
“Vehicles of all shapes and sizes will use that street regardless of what designation it is,” Cr Neoh said.
“What it does give us an opportunity to do is to make sure that in the future, Banyan Street would be in line for an upgrade. If the council classifies Banyan Street as a street of high traffic volume, which it is, then VicRoads and other stakeholders acknowledge the importance of Banyan Street.”
Cr Hulin said the designation still posed grave safety implications.
He said trucks heading south from Mortlake Road to Raglan Parade had to contend with an exceptionally steep hill along Banyan Street whereas an alternative route, such as along Jamieson Street, was more desirable.
“If heavy vehicles take the next turn at the Mortlake Road roundabout, head along Jamieson Street then Spence to the Kentucky Fried corner at Kepler Street, you pretty much avoid the hill altogether,” he said.
The planning scheme rewrite project was supported by councillors five votes to two at last week’s council meeting. In the past year, the city council reviewed the scheme to ensure it was “streamlined, contemporary and reflected industry best practice”.
Banyan Street is a VicRoads designated route but the planning scheme includes all streets, roads and avenues within Warrnambool City boundaries whether or not they are municipal or state-controlled.