VicRoads is pushing ahead with ideas to unclog one of Ballarat’s most notorious traffic bottlenecks on Mair Street by widening traffic flow.
The state government authority is consideringa number of community-driven options to upgrade CBD streets including making the stretch of Mair Street between Lydiard and Peel Streets continuousdouble lanes in each direction.
Six Sturt Street intersections are also being reviewed for possible closure toreduce the number of crashesbetweenDawson andPleasant Streets.
“Obviously we have a legacy and Sturt Streetis a classic example of an established boulevard and as the city of Ballarat continues to grow, how do we want to maintain that structure and still allow people to move?” Integrated Transport and Land Use team leader Sam Brown said.
“That’s something that the City of Ballarat and VicRoads is grappling with.”
Intersections along Sturt Street account for 10 of the 20 crash hot spots in Western Victoria.
“The main driver for that whole stretch is safety and forVicRoads the crash history across the stretch is not good enough,” Mr Brown said.
“The actual implementation of the road closure if that was the solution to a particular intersection, would have to be broadcast to the community in the first instance.”
The review will also look at replacing the Grenville Street roundabout with traffic lights to ease congestion on Mair Street and improve station access, Mr Brown said.
“The pedestrian access to Mair Street came through as the major issue for Mair Street followed by traffic flow and parking …the traffic signals would seek to control that.”
VicRoads will deliver its plan for upgrades to Ballarat CBD for community feedback by early 2017.
The key opportunities identified and investigated by the Citizen Advisory Group were to:
BUSY: Mair Street has become one of Ballarat’s most congested roads.
Review the number and type of road crossings on Sturt Street, between Pleasant and Dawson streets (reducing the likelihood and severity of crashes will address 10 of the top 20 crash hotspots in Western Victoria),Make Mair Street two lanes in each direction west of Lydiard Street and replace the roundabout at Grenville Street with traffic lights to ease congestion;Plant trees along Mair Street to make it a more attractive, tree-lined boulevard;Install dedicated infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians to improve their safety; andSynchronise traffic signals for smoother traffic flow and easier crossing for pedestrians.Community priorities have moved beyondfrom parking to being able to get in and around the CBD easily, VicRoads’ Sam Brown said.
A community advisory group formed earlier this year identified easing congestion along Mair Street and a review of crash hot spots on Sturt Street as key to improving traffic flow in the CBD.
One suggestion –to create double lanes in each directionwest of Lydiard Street –could reduce the number of car parks if parking changed from angled to parallel.
Any lost carparks lost by such a change could be offset by off street parking, Mr Brown said.
“With the community it came through very strongly that the ease of movement,particularly for pedestrians, cyclists and road traffic,is becoming more important.
“Movement is coming through as a priority over parking and I think that balance between movement on particularly more of our structured streets might be offset by finding parking off street or other parts of the CBD.”
Whites Florist’sAlkira Smith said a dropin the number of parks alongMair Street would make their move from Sturt Street redundant.
“We moved to Mair Street because we didn’t have parking and if that happened it would cripple us quite a bit.
“It would just make it redundant, we put in so much hard work and it would all go out the window.
“Our business has easily tripled – every day we have people come in saying it’s so easy to park and have a look.”
Mary and Peg Home Essentials owner Lisa Stothers said customers often only stopped into the Mair Street shopif they could find a park nearby.
“Mainly the comment I get from customers is about parking (they say)I’ve been meaning to come in and finally I could get a park.”
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