Bridge Mall Re-development a step closer
After lengthy consultation and exhaustive design considerations, the Bridge Mall project is ready to move into the next exciting phase of development.
The project is part of the $15 million Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan adopted in October 2019 - one of the biggest and boldest CBD re-developments ever undertaken by Council. It is both a vital part of COVID-19 recovery and key to enabling the Ballarat CBD to thrive over coming decades.
This current phase of the design focuses on function, specifically, how people can travel and move through the Bridge Mall and surrounding area in a way that provides the most community and business benefit.
City of Ballarat Councillors will at the March 24 Ordinary Council meeting, consider a report recommending they endorse the key components of a precinct plan, including directional traffic flow through the Bridge Mall.
The preferred option provides main vehicle access via Sturt Street travelling one-way through the Bridge Mall. 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. This option also supports greater access by locals who outspend visitors $3 to $1.
The alternate precinct plan presented as part of the Council Report, would enable direct one-way vehicle access from Victoria Street, for those arriving from the east.
Evan King, City of Ballarat CEO, said the Bridge Mall redevelopment was a well- researched, consulted and detailed process involving one of the most-respected firms in the business - experts in recreating inviting, thriving shopping precincts where people want to spend time and money.
“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.
Mr King noted the opportunity for Council’s investment to significantly improve the area in the short term, but most importantly act as a catalyst for future investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why introduce traffic?
The re-design of the area is focussed on making it a comfortable and inviting place for people.
However, vehicle access is considered 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, increases exposure to businesses and provides additional passive surveillance.
Particularly for hospitality businesses, they 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.
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 the car over pedestrians.
How much parking will be provided?
The new street will provide limited, convenient, short-term parking spaces. It is not intended to provide long-term parking – as ample parking exists north and south of Bridge Street for these purposes. Existing access will remain.
What about the named pavers?
The named pavers, currently located near the existing playground, reflect the efforts of many in our community.
Council has committed to ensuring that the new streetscape honours those names by retaining the pavers in some way.
What about Norwich Plaza?
This building is privately owned.
Council is working closely with all landowners to encourage appropriate renewal in line with the revitalisation.
Will there still be a playground?
Yes, our designers were made aware early in the planning stages of the need to maintain a playground facility.
The new streetscape works will provide a new modern and improved playground. This is a spatial layout with individual items –such as the playground – able to be placed where it best suits.
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