With multi-million dollar developments happening in the CBD’s west, getting a car park might prove harder than ever.
From this week, 275 car spots in the Civic Hall car park are unavailable to the public due to GovHub construction, while 27 on-street parks are unavailable or inaccessible due to builds on both sides of the same street.
City of Ballarat plans to have a Creswick Road paid car park open by mid-February, with 300 spots, to replace what will be lost just next to the Ballarat Library.
In another parking shake-up, meters were removed from the centre of Mair Street in December, near the corner of Armstrong Street.
City of Ballarat director of infrastructure and environment Terry Demeo said the area was controlled by VicRoads, and removal of the meters was to improve traffic passage through the area.
“The City of Ballarat understands VicRoads was of the view the meters were best removed now to improve traffic flow around the Doveton/Mair and Armstrong/Mair intersections given the heavy vehicle movements associated with the recently commenced construction,” he said.
Mr Demeo said while the affected segment next to Armstrong St North remains a 50km zone, it is “envisaged it will be further restricted during any peak construction activity which may impinge upon the safety and amenity of pedestrians”.
“In relation to the closed northbound lane of Armstrong Street North, pedestrians will obviously be directed to the east side of the road throughout the duration of the construction,” he said.
New construction works in the Ballarat CBD have made simple tasks like grocery shopping almost impossible for this Ballarat couple.
Peter and Kitty McGeary, who both have disabilities, say they are struggling to get into the city because of changes to pedestrian access along Armstrong Street North.
The footpath has been closed completely on the Civic Hall side of the road, due to the creation of the GovHub, and ongoing construction on the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative means pedestrians must traverse unsteady gravel and walk on the road.
Mrs McGeary has an acquired brain injury and no movement in the right side of her body caused by injuries from a car accident, and uses a scooter. Mr McGeary is legally blind, and a full time carer for his wife.
“It was devastating when I got down there on Monday,” Mr McGeary said.
“Traffic is going too fast, you can’t judge them, then they don’t know if they’re going to be able to turn (left onto Mair Street) or go straight through.
“There’s going to be more cars floating around that area when the Aboriginal co-op re-opens, then schools come back. When they start bringing big trucks in, that’s going to be another concern to us.”
The pair have also had issues with trucks parking across the open pedestrian footpath, but say calls to City of Ballarat, state government and BADAC haven’t yielded any changes.
With heavy bus traffic along Lydiard Street and Ararat Street, and train tracks to cross on Doveton Street North, Mr and Mrs McGeary say Armstrong Street was their only safe route from their Little Clyde Street home.
“What other options do we have? Where do we do our shopping? Where can we pay our bills? Where do we go to the bank?” Mr McGeary said.
“It’s just witches hats stopping you from being hit right now … it’ll stay the same until someone gets hurt or killed.”
Construction on the new BADAC two-storey medical centre is expected to finish at the end of January.