No zebra crossings on a city roundabout under reconstruction is "staggering", according to a former Warrnambool councillor, who says he would be disappointed if the CBD ones were also scrapped.
Peter Hulin described any change to the traffic flow in the city which would give vehicles priority at roundabouts as a backward step.
"We would be an absolute laughing stock to people if that's what we're doing," he said.
"If you change it back to the way it was you may as well bring back the horse and cart."
There was major backlash to the zebra crossings at CBD roundabouts when they were first unveiled prompting the council's move last week to review the issue.
Roundabouts "chaos" was also thrust back into the spotlight in February when motorist Gavan Nevill raised labelled it the worst decision of council at a public meeting in February.
He said he was pleased that the review was being undertaken.
Council staff will be stationed at roundabouts for six two-hour sessions to get feedback from pedestrians.
Councillor Ben Blain said the previous council had promised to review the decision after two years, and that was now happening.
"Warrnambool is a regional centre and we service a huge area of the south-west, and the way most people get into the CBD is through cars," he said.
"The way the CBD is set up at the moment with the pedestrian- priority crossings totally disrupts traffic flow, makes the CBD harder to access which hurts everyone up the CBD."
Cr Blain said his view was that pedestrian crossings were needed, but their location at the roundabouts was not the right spot because it inhibited traffic flow too much.
"We need to be making our CBD as accessible as possible, especially when the CBD is competing against all the other centres in Warrnambool."
But Mr Hulin said it was a "no brainer" to make the Banyan Street roundabout near the cutting pedestrian-friendly.
"At every opportunity that we have, we should be installing safety procedures which are zebra crossings into our infrastructure," Mr Hulin said.
"When you think we've spent $20 million creating this safe city in the CBD, that a block away they think they can just go back to a 1950s style of roundabout is just extremely disappointing."
A $370,000 upgrade to the Banyan Street intersection got under way this month, and works will include installing raised humps and pedestrian refuge at an enlarged roundabout in a bid to slow traffic and make it safer.
Mr Hulin's position on the CBD pedestrians has the support of Victoria Walks, a walking health promotion charity that was established with funding from VicHealth 12 years ago.
Executive officer Ben Rossiter, who used to live in the area and has spoken to council in the past about the infrastructure, said the CBD's roundabouts were fantastic.
"They are putting people first. They're a good example that we'd like to see other regional cities around Australia follow," he said.
Mr Rossiter said councils were increasingly putting pedestrian crossings on roundabouts in busy pedestrian areas and CBDs.
"That's a move around the country. Warrnambool is not unique in that. The changes that Warrnambool has done, particularly on Liebig Street, is impressive," he said.
He said they offer greater safety for elderly, people with disabilities and young families.
"My understanding is a lot of people are beginning to like them and changing the way they move around the city which is good," Mr Rossiter said.
- South-west Victoria desperate for medical students, specialists as region faces shortage
- South West Healthcare back to pre-pandemic levels
- New laws to give cyclists more room on the road now in force
- Tourism Research Australia reveals post-pandemic tourism returning
- Warrnambool artist Jimmi Buscombe undertakes third WRAD mural
"It's a much more vibrant and pleasant place to be around and I think that sets Warrnambool up for the future really well."
Mr Hulin said installing the pedestrian crossings made Warrnambool leaders in regional Victoria, and other places were now following the city's lead.
"In the past it was nothing short of dangerous, and don't forget an elderly lady was killed in Liebig Street going across the street," he said.
Mr Hulin said the council should continue with its "safe city plan" of installing pedestrian zebra crossings at the roundabouts.
He said the recently installed Timor/Kelp streets roundabout should have also included a zebra crossing.
The council said the Banyan Street roundabout was identified as a "gateway intersection" in the 2012 City Centre Revitalisation Structure Plan, but did not specify that it should have priority pedestrian crossings although it does state pedestrian crossings at this intersection should be improved.
Mr Hulin said it would make it a lot easier for motorists in the city if they knew that all roundabouts were treated the same.
He said the present two-lane "car-centric system" at roundabouts was put in during the 1980s when the population was half what it was today, around 18,000 people. "As cities grow and as things change, you change with it," Mr Hulin said.
In relation to banked up traffic, Mr Hulin said the initial intention was to have zebra crossings where the three sets of traffic lights are in the CBD - something that would have improved the flow of traffic.
While the structure plan identified mid-block pedestrian priority crossings, the council said a decision was made to signalise them based on pedestrian demand, traffic speed and volume.
He said motorists were driving through the CBD instead of taking the "ring road" which includes Henna, Merri and Banyan streets.
He also said infrastructure decisions - such as parking and 40km/h speed limits - had compromised what was intended to become a "ring road" to bypass the CBD.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.