Bridge Mall Redevelopment
The Bridge Mall redevelopment is a key project of the Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan
The Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan is the first step in revitalising the Ballarat CBD and aims to restore the Bridge Mall to a vibrant destination for shoppers, diners, residents and visitors.
Fully-funded by the City of Ballarat, the $18.6 million redevelopment features a landscaped entry into the mall, a shared streetscape with one-way, low speed vehicle access and a dynamic new play space.
The redevelopment also includes a portal to the Yarrowee River flowing beneath the mall, smart street lighting and projections, limited parking and better access for people of all abilities.
Construction works began mid-2023 and the redevelopment is expected to be completed mid-2024.
Latest Updates - 1 November 2023
Wednesday 1 November marks an important milestone for the project:
- Stage 1: Peel Street to Time Lane is open to the public
- Stage 2: Time Lane to Coliseum Walk will be fenced and works on this section will commence
As previously advised, Stage 1 from Peel Street to Time Lane has been tidied and garden beds have been fenced so that the community can utilise the space. Trucks will still utilise the laneway and be accompanied by traffic management. Installation of some edge paving will occur over the coming weeks, but most of the paving will commence on top of the concrete base early next year.
During Stage 2 construction, there will be 2 walkways across the mall:
- Coliseum Walk to Alfred Walk
- Time Lane to Drury Lane
Bridge Mall Construction time lapse 01 August to 01 November 2023
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Bridge Mall Construction time lapse 11 July 2023 to 09 October 2023
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The Bridge Mall Play Space
The Bridge Mall playspace is designed to encourage families and Mall visitors to enjoy their time longer in the area.
The playspace footprint includes barriers to the shared carriageway, plantings and shelter. The orientation of the playspace is facing the southern side of the street, ensuring that young people and children will move naturally away from the bluestone shared carriageway. The design takes into account the shared use nature of the spaces between pedestrians, cars and cyclists.
Nearby the playspace is on-street dining as well as places for carers to sit and stand while supervising play. It is intended that the playspace is designed for discovery and delight.
There is high accessibility for those choosing to access and use the playspace. The elderly, the very young, and the infirm will have an opportunity to engage with the space.
Accessibility within the creative playspace design will cater for:
- Easy physical access into the play space.
- Good access through the overall space and between the main activities.
- Diverse opportunities that are interesting and stimulating.
- Colour, texture and sensory experiences.
- Level and grade changes.
- Consideration of the needs of parents and carers.
- Play spaces will be provided to encourage access for people of diverse interests, abilities and skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will Bridge Mall officially open to traffic?
At the moment, the City of Ballarat is expecting major civil works to take approximately 12 months to complete. The construction is expected to finish by June 2024.
Will there be a play space?
Yes. Our community expressed a lot of interest in creating a meeting place where children and young people could play safely, and their carers could stop and sit comfortably.
This feedback resulted in the design of a creative play space which would bring new people to Bridge Mall. This supports the idea of creating a destination in the heart of the city.
The opportunity to build a play space also means there is a chance to create a talking point, a reason to discover the Bridget Mall anew and make a significant location which would extend wider benefits to the surrounding retail area.
What plants will form the landscaping in Bridge Mall?
Plant choices include many shrub and grass species already planted along the length of Sturt Street, in garden beds and high-profile locations where they provide year-round colour and greenery.
What sort of bollards will be used? How will they be removed to cater to festivals and events?
There will be bollards in the new Bridge Mall.
Bollards are designed to provide security and subtle direction for pedestrians and to warn drivers of restricted areas or to deny drivers access to pedestrian-only areas.
What features will there be to ensure accessibility for all?
Bridge Mall will be fully accessible to people of all abilities. The design provides a fully integrated space for people of all abilities.
Where are First Nations’ stories embedded into the streetscape?
Before colonisation, the area was a significant cultural landscape for the Wadawurrung People. Yarrowee is a Wadawurrung word for ‘gum trees growing in water’.
The area served as a gathering point for ceremony as well as food gathering and harvesting from the land and water.
Hassell worked with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to ensure cultural elements were reflected in these designs.
As a result, an arch symbol, representing Wadawurrung People gathering will be embedded in the pavement while a portal will provide a window and a connection to the Yarrowee River flowing below.
The designs also draw from the name ‘Ballaarat’, which means ‘resting place’ or ‘bended elbow’, encouraging people to slow down, gather and connect with one another.
How will works be carried out so that businesses can continue to operate?
The works are being carried out in two sections. These include the Bridge Mall section and the Grenville Street section. Each of these sections are then broken down into stages to allow pedestrians to always access businesses and move from one side of the mall to the other.
Works out the front of businesses will take place overnight. There will always be access to businesses.
We will continue to remind shoppers that businesses are open and trading as usual.
Will traders be impacted during important trading times?
The City of Ballarat will work with the successful contractor to reduce the impact on surrounding businesses.
How can I provide feedback?
The community consultation process has now closed.
Over the past few years, we embarked on extensive community consultation as part of a co-design process that has helped shape the designs for Bridge Mall. We have reviewed and fine-tuned the designs with traders, other stakeholders and landscape architects, Hassell.
We have now presented the final designs for the redevelopment of Bridge Mall.
If you still wish to provide feedback, please email email@example.com
Why make the space open for shared use between people, cyclists and cars? Why introduce traffic into the mall?
The redesign of the area is focused on making it a comfortable and inviting place for people, regardless of their mode of transport.
Vehicle access is an important change as it enables access and movement through the area beyond the traditional trading hours – particularly after 5.30pm when the area currently entirely closes.
The shared use of space increases exposure to businesses and provides passive surveillance to enhance safety.
In particular, hospitality businesses benefit from passing traffic as potential customers often drive past the area to see the level of activity, then walk back to areas of interest and where other people have gathered.
Cyclists create new pathways and commuter-routes through the city, bringing movement. Pedestrians look for short and safe routes to their intended destination, as well as look for comfortable zones to stop and linger.
Shared space means treating all users with respect, slowing down the heart of the city but still permitting movement to allow people to reach their destination.
The ultimate design will enable the area to remain closed to traffic and be pedestrian only for markets, events and at other agreed times when the space is best utilised as a pedestrian only space.
The movement of traffic (slow speed and shared with pedestrians) provides its benefits at those other times when the additional exposure is a benefit to businesses in the area.
The intent of re-introducing traffic is to add an additional dimension to the activity, vibrancy and experience of the area, not to utilise the space for through-traffic or in any way prioritise cars over pedestrians.
Why not a two-way option for cars?
Although Bridge Mall was a two-way street with parking and trams prior to it becoming a mall, shopping trends and public expectations have changed.
Outdoor dining, street furniture, dedicated play space, meet and greet pockets, and lots of greenery will all add to the attractiveness of the street but necessitate a one-way traffic flow.
Two-way traffic would require the removal of greenery and play spaces which are highly valued by the community and businesses.
Why was the east-west traffic flow chosen – wouldn't it be better for visitors to arrive at a grand entrance travelling west towards Sturt Street and the Town Hall?
The redevelopment is designed to connect the Bridge Mall area with Sturt Street, so the two spaces seamlessly enable movement between the two.
Most residents access the CBD from the west and enabling that transition from Sturt Street into the space best encourages residents to see the activity in the area, park and walk back into the space to spend time and money.
Ballarat residents currently spend $3 in the area for every $1 by visitors, and it is considered that the design should best service locals – as if the locals love an area, that activity is what attracts visitation and gives businesses the boost in customers.
A one-way entry from Victoria Street services significantly less people in general and is less convenient for the vast majority of locals arriving in the CBD by car.
It most importantly does not fundamentally connect the Bridge Mall area with Sturt Street, and the Grenville Street intersection remains a site where those arriving from the west must divert into lower quality spaces.
The preferred option of providing access from Sturt Street enables significant landscaping and design improvements to Little Bridge Street, so it still achieves the goal of a notable and high-quality arrival experience linking Victoria Street to Sturt Street.
The Precinct Plan continues the planting and landscaping themes of Victoria Street through the CBD for the first time - seeking to achieve both the need for an improved arrival experience and best connectivity.
How much parking will be provided, and will it be metred?
The new mall design will provide limited, convenient, short-term parking spaces, mostly for drop-offs and pick-ups. This parking is also designed to provide increased accessibility for people with limited mobility. It is not intended for use as long-term parking. Ample parking exists north and south of Bridge Mall
How are cars going to improve access and support of businesses?
It is about maximising the Mall's potential with the aim of ensuring there are more people moving through the area at all times of the day and night, in a space that is vibrant, safe and comfortable, and an attractive choice for visitors from outside the city.
Retail and other users will gain the benefit of exposure and movement.
Why is Grenville Street being closed south bound?
This will ensure that the broader Bakery Hill Urban Renewal plan and precinct can deliver what’s promised – a connected and thriving space.
Grenville Street has evolved over time, but these changes will ensure the precinct is set up for the next generation as well as providing better access to Bridge Mall.
A major new greenspace alongside pedestrian and amenity improvements will upgrade this space while removing the excessive wait times at the intersection between Little Bridge and Sturt Streets.
What about the named pavers purchased by Ballarat individuals and families?
The historical named pavers near the existing playground reflect the efforts of many in our community.
The City of Ballarat has committed to ensuring that the new streetscape honours those names by retaining the pavers.
The pavers will greet you at the entrance to Bridge Mall, where the Sturt Street gardens are extended into Grenville Street.
Will Bridge Mall be able to be closed when events or festivals are scheduled?
Yes, infrastructure such as bollards will be used to readily close the Mall when required.
What will the Peel Street exit out of Bridge Mall look like?
There is little change to this exit. Cars will have the option of turning left, right or proceeding straight ahead at the west end of the Bakery Hill precinct. This is likely to be a signalled intersection.
See all the background documents, consultation results, and plans related to the Bridge Mall Development Project
24 March 2021 Council Meeting Agenda Part 2
24 November 2021 Council Meeting Agenda Part 2