The Bridge Mall will be opened to cars, but the question remains exactly how.
The City of Ballarat has opened another round of consultation to find out whether the community wants two-way traffic, or just west-bound or east-bound lanes through the Bridge Mall.
The Bridge Mall Business Association, in a press release, stated its preference was for a one-way east-bound lane.
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"Based on the significant background works conducted by the design firm, Hassell, regarding traffic flow in the Bridge Mall, the BMBA is satisfied that the option presented of one lane of traffic travelling east is preferred," it states.
"This single-lane option will maintain some of the beautiful streetscape element, such as the established trees and community spaces.
"The east-bound traffic flow will better connect the precinct to the CBD, have the most significant economic benefit to traders and have the best outcome for the community."
The priority, according to the association, is strengthening links to the rest of Ballarat, which would make it easier for local shoppers to access the mall, as well as shoppers from western Victoria.
The City of Ballarat, in a media statement, said the first rounds of community consultation "revealed a strong desire for change" in the precinct, which has struggled in recent years.
"The project is a key element of the Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan, a $15 million commitment by Council to re-position the entire Bakery Hill precinct as a well-connected destination," council states.
"The plan seeks to address a decline in economic activity, and a shared concern amongst the broader community that the Bridge Mall has lost focus and its important economic vibrancy.
"Design firm, Hassell, has the task of assisting the community to re-imagine the Bridge Mall as a meeting place for community and visitors alike, whilst creating a thriving economy in the Bridge Mall Precinct."
A background document linked to council's MySay community consultation website includes potential intersection treatments and planned shared use areas for all three proposals.
While the "key project objective" is reintroducing traffic, "the priority for the new mall will be for pedestrians, followed by cyclists", the document states.
"Cars will share the space, at a slow and safe pace."
It notes two-way traffic would require the removal of all trees in the mall, and only 13 per cent of the space would be available for on-street dining or trading.
One-way options would include the "retention of healthy trees" in the mall, and up to 48 per cent of the space for on-street dining or trading.
Intersection treatment proposals for both one-way options include a scramble crossing at the western Grenville Street and Sturt Street connection.
Council has committed $15 million for the project over three years - this was revised to $4 million instead of $10 million proposed for the next financial year, then $10 million set aside for 2021/22, according to the latest budget.
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The Bridge Mall Business Association encouraged everyone to have their say through the official online channel, but noted there will be offline consultation as well.
This phase of community consultation ends August 20 - visit the MySay site for more information.
Hassell was also contacted for further comment.
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