Park­ing lost and gained

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Yvette Brand

Eight car park­ing spa­ces will be lost once cur­rent streetscape works in Smith St are com­pleted, but Baw Baw Shire mayor Joe Gauci said new car park­ing spa­ces would be cre­ated as works progress in other cen­tral busi­ness district ar­eas.

The Smith St works be­tween Al­bert and Palmert­son Sts are cur­rently un­der­way and in­clude two pedes­trian cross­ings with raised pave­ments to slow traf­fic and flash­ing lights.

Land­scaped cen­tral me­dian gar­den beds also have been es­tab­lished along the sec­tion of road.

Com­mu­nity as­sets di­rec­tor Phil Can­til­lon said the orig­i­nal plans for Smith St re­sulted in a loss of six car park­ing spa­ces to al­low for the pro­vi­sion of four ac­ces­si­ble park­ing spa­ces and the up­graded pedes­trian cross­ing to the con­tem­po­rary de­sign stan­dards.

How­ever, he said fol­low­ing com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion, the de­sign plans were mod­i­fied to pro­vide one ad­di­tional ac­ces­si­ble park­ing bay (from four to five).

“In ad­di­tion, the gen­eral car park­ing spa­ces were made wider than the ex­ist­ing spa­ces for im­proved en­try and egress. These changes have in­creased the loss of car spa­ces along Smith St from six to eight,” he said.

Mr Can­til­lon said coun­cil of­fi­cers also re­cently com­pleted an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est process for a multi-level car park­ing fa­cil­ity within the War­ragul town cen­tre, which will be con­sid­ered in due course.

Cr Gauci said councillors and of­fi­cers had worked closely with the project ref­er­ence group to con­sult about the streetscape works.

“One of the things that came up in dis­cus­sions was the car parks were too tight.

“So we changed the an­gle and slightly in­creased the width but by the time you do that all the way along, you do lose spa­ces.

“In the whole CBD con­struc­tion works over the next two to three years, we will lose some and gain some. We are con­sult­ing in each area as it goes out to ten­der,” he said.

Cr Gauci said the Ma­son-Al­bert St round­about works were an ex­am­ple of chang­ing the project in re­sponse to con­cerns.

He said res­i­dents raised con­cerns about the close prox­im­ity of the round­about to their front gate.

As a re­sult, he said the lo­ca­tion had changed slightly and a car park­ing space would be lost.

Cr Gauci said the three cen­tral ward councillors in­clud­ing him­self, Danny Goss and Mikaela Power all in­di­cated they had re­ceived no neg­a­tive feed­back.

He said he had spo­ken to many traders in the ar­eas and they had been pos­i­tive about the works.

“I’ve been to all those shops when we did the con­sul­ta­tion. But I think they are wait­ing to see the fi­nal prod­uct.

“The cen­tre me­dian strip will be planted out so it looks a bit bland at the mo­ment,” he said.

Cr Gauci said they were wait­ing for SP Aus­net con­nec­tion for the new raised pave­ment pedes­trian cross­ings.

He said the works in Smith St were all about pedes­trian safety and slow­ing traf­fic.

“We will gain car parks in other ar­eas. If we can get the multi-level car park go­ing that will be great,” he said.

Face­book Fo­rum – com­mu­nity re­sponds to new streetscape, p18.

Streetscape works cur­rently un­der­way in Smith St, War­ragul aim to cre­ate a safer en­vi­ron­ment for pedes­tri­ans.

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