Sturt Street traffic wishing to drive around Bridge Mall could be forced to travel in a counter-clockwise direction as part of a push to make a pedestrian-friendly entrance to the shopping strip.
Grenville Street from Curtis to Little Bridge could be closed to south-bound traffic and the mall itself opened to one-way traffic from Sturt Street, as part of council's yet-to-be-approved plan.
The City of Ballarat unveiled a preferred option for reopening the troubled pedestrian shopping mall to traffic on Monday morning - if councillors approve, construction could begin early next year to create an east-bound one way road through the mall.
Council's chief executive Evan King said the trees, playground, and brickwork would be retained, with kerbside car parks and an option to bollard off the new street for markets.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? WATCH THE VIDEO AND HAVE YOUR SAY BELOW
Council has allocated $15 million over three years to "reactivate" the mall and reintroduce traffic, which would be a "catalyst" for businesses.
"We believe (if) council invests their $15m into this area, that'll send a really clear message to business that this is a really viable space to have a shop," Mr King said.
"We believe that will create that incentive for people to invest here and feel like it's a good investment, and people will be here to make those businesses viable."
Watch the design video here.
In a visualisation provided by council, a map shows Sturt Street traffic heading east would only be able to turn left onto Grenville Street, or keep going straight through the mall.
The closed south-bound lanes, from Curtis Street to Little Bridge Street, appear as outdoor dining options.
The report will go before council on March 24 - Mr King said if approved, the project could go out to tender in June, with a contractor appointed by the end of the year.
"We want a thriving, active, healthy, safe place for Ballarat people to come to - we've got great parking on either side of the Bridge Mall, if we can get it opened up and get people flowing through, dining on the sides of the street, we believe this can become a jewel in the Ballarat crown," he said, adding the proposal had the support of the Bridge Mall Traders Association.
"I've not had anyone say leave it alone as it is, everyone wants it activated and wants council to get on and make it happen."
A City of Ballarat spokesperson said in a statement Grenville Street is for "internal access around the CBD as it is not a through road".
"There are plenty of options for current users of Grenville Street southbound from Sturt Street to access their destination via existing parallel routes," they said.
"The Bridge Mall project is an opportunity to put pedestrians first, create connectivity between Sturt Street and the Mall and increase green space .
"The concept plans in the Council Report are the preferred option and following a decision of Council would be the basis in which the design progresses to the more detailed level of how it looks and feels."
Council will continue advocating for a review of Ballarat's bus network, including how Little Bridge Street is used, they added.
"The City of Ballarat and the Public Transport Users Association continue to advocate for a review and overhaul of the current network bus timetable to take people more directly to their destinations, allowing the bus interchange in Little Bridge Street to be reduced to a stop which services the local area," they said.
"As an interim measure, the proposed precinct plans for this project show a reduction in the current number of stops to better prioritise people and amenity in the area, whilst maintaining adequate stops for the timetable."
The direction in which traffic will flow through Bridge Mall is a step closer to being decided.
The City of Ballarat is leaning towards allowing one-way traffic continuing along Sturt Street, travelling in an easterly direction.
An alternative option, allowing for the continuation of Victoria Street for traffic travelling west, is also still up for consideration.
The Sturt Street extension has been identified as the preferred option.
"This option allows for the inclusion of new greenspace and parkland, general tree planting, improvements to crossings, and other changes to create a significantly more pedestrian- friendly, safer, and attractive destination," council said in a press release.
"This option also supports greater access by locals who outspend visitors $3 to $1."
However, the decision is not yet final.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Bridge Mall traders call for east-bound traffic
City of Ballarat councillors will consider a report at the March 24 council meeting, recommending they endorse the plan to include directional traffic flow through the mall.
There, they are expected to make a deciding vote.
City of Ballarat CEO Evan King is expected to reveal designs of the project on Monday morning.
"The detailed plans allow people to visualise how a new precinct can support and improve one of Ballarat's most critical CBD thoroughfares and we can't wait to share that vision with our community," he said in a statement.
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