I refer to the Bendigo Advertiser article of 9 February 2018 asking if a road would work through the Hargreaves Mall?
It is frustrating that the same old calls for the return of a road are made by a minority in response to a space that continues to have retail challenges in a rapidly changing retail environment.
We have most of our city centre area public space largely dedicated to roads, parking and thus cars.
Very few areas (such as the Hargreaves Mall) are actually spaces for people to congregate and to enjoy in safety.
A road and car parks would cause potentially deadly encounters between people and cars and completely destroy the possibilities for the space.
Planners and other experts know that inner city urban spaces need to be returned to spaces for people and this is what is presently happening all over the World.
Calls for a roadway by a small number of struggling retail business operators are ill-informed with research clearly showing that walkers and cyclists spend on average 50% more in shops and businesses than do car drivers.
This was accepted by inner city businesses and Council and directed the formation of the adopted Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy (ITLUS).
As is appropriate Council does not support low value use of limited public space within the Hargraves Mall for yet another road.
If we make even better spaces for people and attract great innovative businesses and encourage inner city residential living then trade will flourish.
The Landlords of the Hargraves Mall shops need to step up and be innovated and provide conditions where young entrepreneurs and others can cost effectively try new fun and engaging things drawing in more people.
A connected network of protected and separated bike lanes would enable people from all over Bendigo to ride straight to the door of shops, workplaces and for recreation.
This can be done with very limited impact on traffic lanes or parking and will be needed to to allow movement of people in a Bendigo population of 200,000 by 2050.
We have a long way to go in educating the Bendigo population about good urban design and public spaces and what actually works. Trying to solve inner city transport and retail problems in an environment of rapidly growing population with more road space and more cars is the worst outcome possible and simply won’t work.
Chris Corr, Vice President Bike Bendigo
Time to trial free parking
The council has already spent thousands of dollars on the Mall.
Why throw away more money on consultants and band-aid solutions?
Perhaps a trial of some free weekday parking time in the CBD?
Wendy Brennan, Bendigo
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