Mair Street will become a tree-lined boulevard under a planned $7 million upgrade to reduce congestion and ease traffic flow along one of Ballarat’s busiest streets.
VicRoads and the state government announced key upgrades to the troubled street including upgraded intersections, new pedestrian crossing, dual lanes and upgraded turning lanes.
A roundabout at the intersection of Grenville and Mair street is expected to be removed – easing a current bottleneck and increasing flow. While the upgrades are expected to reduce congesting it comes at a cost.
VicRoads acting manager for planning Brad Pryor confirmed parking would be lost – with angled parking near the Grenville Street roundabout pegged to be removed and replaced with parallel parks. He would not comment on the number of parks expected to be lost as plans have not been finalised, but said VicRoads understood there was adequate CBD parking.
A community consultation process undertaken in 2016 and saw a Citizen Advisory group formed to discuss potential future options for Sturt and Mair streets. 34 randomly selected Ballarat locals participated in in-depth design workshops run by VicRoads, the City of Ballarat and transport experts to identify issues and opportunities for the stretches.
The consultation recommendations were that upgrades should include dual lanes in each direction west of Lydiard Street, the roundabout should be replaced with lights, trees should be planted along Mair Street to create a tree lined boulevard, dedicated infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians and synchronised lights. All of these ideas are expected to be implemented.
Whites Ballarat Florist owner Larelle Taylor said she had not been approached during the consultation process and was concerned that parking would be affected.
She said current carparking was convenient for customers and encouraged them to “drop in” to stores.
Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan said plans for the co-designed project would be taken back to the wider community who would provide feedback before final designs were revealed in July.
“It’s about ensuring that the work that’s been done by the community and VicRoads is what the community is looking for to improve this street to ensure you get better access to the station,” Mr Donnellan said.
The works, which will start later this year, are expected to take 12 months.