A CONTENTIOUS plan to create bike paths through the median strip gardens along Sturt Street has been scrapped by Regional Roads Victoria (RRV).
New plans, with designs which are still to be made public, will see a widening of the existing medians on the southern edge of the gardens between Pleasant and Lyons streets.
READ MORE: Sturt Street bike paths on the way
In August, RRV released plans to put curved bike baths down the centre of the median strip. The plans drew much negative feedback from the community including Councillor Mark Harris who called the idea "vandalism".
RRV regional director (western) Michael Bailey said after listening to community feedback and speaking with heritage experts and arborists, the plan had been developed so it would not impact on trees, garden beds, statues and monuments along the precinct.
"We understand that the Sturt Street gardens occupy a special place in the history of Ballarat, which is why it's so important that we listen to the community and get this project right," Mr Bailey said.
"In other locations we've seen that by improving infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, it's brought more people into city centres, and we're certainly hopeful it does the same in Ballarat.
"By opting for this location, we'll boost safety for pedestrians and cyclists and improve access to the median gardens, while protecting the precinct's history.
Wendouree MP Juliana Addison said; "Sturt Street is far too important, we must get it right".
"While the timeline was longer than I thought, I'm pleased the bike path we will deliver will take into account heritage and safety," she said.
Ms Addison the asphalt paths would be a similar colour to the symmetrical dirt paths which have been in place along the street since 1905.
While she added path along the northern side of the median strip would remain untouched.
She said discussions were underway with the City of Ballarat to extend the path to Grenville Street.
Mr Bailey said detailed designs and plans are expected to be presented to the public on February 14 next year with construction to start after Easter. It is estimated it will be completed by November next year.
Meanwhile RRV says works to improve six intersections on Sturt Street are on track with the installation of traffic lights at Ascot Street and Raglan Street to be completed by early 2020.
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