Warrnambool's controversial roundabout pedestrian crossings are here to stay with a review cementing their future in the CBD.
City councillors voted 5-2 in favour of keeping the pedestrian-priority crossings at Monday's council meeting.
Cr Angie Paspaliaris, who campaigned against them and started a petition that attracted about 6000 signatures in 2018, said she hadn't changed her mind on them.
She said she did not agree with the pedestrian crossings from the moment they were introduced. "Now fours year later, having given them a chance, I still don't agree," she said.
Cr Paspaliaris said the city centre renewal could have been addressed differently. "I don't like seeing cars piled up in a roundabout congested and being unsafe," she said.
She said the move had increased pedestrian danger and placed "way too much responsibility" on drivers.
Both Cr Paspaliaris and Cr Ben Blain touted their preference for mid-block crossings.
Cr Blain said only 30 per cent of people felt safe using the crossings, and 69 per cent actually got scared because they were delaying traffic.
"Bathurst are installing pedestrian refuges at mid-block in their CBD, they're pulling out the crossings they've put at the exits and entrances of roundabouts. They're being removed after years of community agitation," he said.
Cr Blain said it would take less than a day to remove the pedestrian-priority roundabouts by just removing signage and the white lines.
"The balance between cars and pedestrians isn't right at the moment. The pendulum has swung a little bit far the wrong way," he said.
The balance between cars and pedestrians isn't right at the moment.- Cr Ben Blain
But Cr Max Taylor said the Liebig Street renewal had achieved the outcome the council had set out to - making it pedestrian friendly.
"Drivers' habits in the city centre have changed," he said.
He said the introduction of one-hour free parking in Ozone, Crammond and Dickson, and Parkers car park had become "so popular".
However, he called on users to be more vigilant when using crossings after he was almost hit by a car last week.
"So you don't take for granted that the cars will stop. Still look to the right, wait for the cars to stop before proceeding across the roundabout crossing," he said.
Cr Taylor also took aim at a previous suggestion to turn Liebig Street into a mall.
"I've always been totally against a mall. On the day they trialled, you could have fired a shotgun up Liebig Street and not hit anyone," he said.
"The closing off of Liebig Street was a disaster."
He said the disappearance of hoons from Liebig Street was also a great outcome of the CBD renewal.
Mayor Vicki Jellie said she wanted the CBD to flourish.
"The CBD as it is at the moment you can hardly rent a shop in the CBD for a new business," she said.
Cr Debbie Arnott said the city centre roundabout crossings had been a "rather controversial subject" for a while.
She said the council had surveyed the community to review their effectiveness and found they were changing the way drivers behaved with many choosing a different route.
"We don't want people using Liebig Street as a thoroughfare," Cr Arnott said.
"I really enjoy our city CBD. I think it is a great centre to walk around."
Cr Richard Ziegeler said the pedestrian crossings had achieved what the CBD should have been for a long time - pedestrian-friendly.
"Cars at roundabouts, intersections should take second priority," he said.
He said they had made people avoid Liebig and Koroit streets, which meant there was now less congestion.
"Certainly there were some teething problems with people getting frustrated with the waits at the intersections...but it is a much safer and much more pedestrian-friendly town," Cr Ziegeler said.
The off-street free parking initiative had become a huge success, he said, and suggested the council consider introducing it to other car parks.
"The whole exercise has been a great success and I applaud the work of the council officers in achieving it," he said.
Cr Otha Akoch said the elderly and people with disabilities should be able to walk around without fear so he supported the current arrangement.
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