Your say: Four solutions to Bundy's CBD woes
- PARKING IS THE PROBLEM
I WOULD like to let the NewsMail know, for me personally, the reason I hardly ever shop in the CBD is because I can never get a park.
The last few years has been so bad with the growing population to even do our cash banking at the Commonwealth Bank is so hard I have to usually park streets down and walk up and that is the only time I might wander into some shops.
I have money to spend but cannot get a park, it is so frustrating circling around for so long trying to get a park.
It is such a shame, council must know this and nothing is being done and so more businesses go broke and close down.
- NEWCASTLE LEADS THE WAY
THE Bundaberg CBD needs to look at the work that Renew Newcastle did to transform the Hunter Street Mall.
Over a 10-year period they fixed up more than 80 properties and supported 250 projects.
They worked on the premise that Newcastle's creative community had the resourcefulness, imagination and resilience to seed a transformation if given the right opportunity.
Renew Newcastle is designed to bring life back to underutilised neighbourhoods by finding creative entrepreneurs and community groups to undertake quality projects in otherwise empty buildings.
It is a strategy designed to turn around decades of decay through high quality, low capital creative and place making projects.
Since it began in 2008, the Renew model has demonstrated that installing temporary activity in a neighbourhood makes it more attractive to commercial tenants.
Creating a vibrant commercial hub in the city centre, has generated long term interest in Newcastle and artistic culture has become a leading player in the city's revitalisation.
Ultimately this means a better value investment for property owners.
Renew Newcastle relies on the support of property owners who have vacant buildings to make them available for the project.
Property owners can define the terms they wish to make a building available on, select the project that takes place in them, and can participate on either a long term or short-term basis.
They have both a website and Facebook page for more information.
- FOCUS ON CITY HEART, NOT DIVISIONS
THE Bundaberg CBD was long considered to be one of the better performing regional CBDs in the state.
Not any longer, as the empty shops confirm.
Turning our CBD into a medical zone is not the answer.
Ratepayer funds spent on consultants to come up with something that needs 15-20 hectares of space would have been better spent on trialling some less expensive options.
Get rid of the ugly signage.
Work with shop-owners to reveal all the beautiful architecture and heritage now covered by those signs.
Instead of paying consultants for airy-fairy solutions - put some money into subsidising a CBD manager to work out of the under-utilised Police Beat space, get the businesses on side - make them feel as if they own the space and it's not council dictating to them. Much of the background work on these options was done by the council prior to amalgamation.
The CBD is the heart of our region - it's heartbeat has been allowed to slow down as successive councillors concentrated on their "divisions” - and not the region.
- REVISITING CBD PROPOSAL
THE NewsMail's article brought back to my mind some of the past action and submissions I have made regarding this proposed redevelopment of the CBD.
So far nothing has been evident except talk now of redevelopment of the eastern end of town.
This is to my mind the fourth proposal made to the Bundaberg Regional Council about this subject and to date there has been little or no action evident.
In 2015 the council introduced the Bundaberg Riverside Development Plan which set out proposed redevelopment of the riverside from the Tallon Bridge to Kennedy Bridge.
Public meetings were called and I attended several of these open hearings in order to voice my opinion on this proposal and was asked to submit my comments in writing, as during these hearings, I had made several suggestions as to how the situation could be improved.
Since that time I have heard nothing from the council, however, they have since issued a number of further redevelopment proposals, the most recent being that for the Bourbong St CBD.
I stated at these meetings that, in my opinion, the major problem was mainly due to the nose-in parking system which made it slow and difficult for drivers to vacate and I suggested that reverse parking was faster reduced the delays in the area.
Consequently I made a survey of the area, speaking both to shop owners and shoppers and wrote to the council, setting out my ideas and some suggestion as to how the problem could be solved.
Reading the NewsMail article made me think that it is still relevant to the current problems in the CBD.
Bourbong Mall rationale
THE sections of Bourbong St between Tantitha and Barolin Sts contain a number of shops, cafes and hotels.
It is the premier shopping centre of Bundaberg, which however judging from the number of vacant shops in them, the area is slowing dying as drivers/shoppers become frustrated by the slow moving traffic and scarcity of parking spaces.
When one considers that most of these cars are driven by shoppers it is hardly surprising that they are moving to the major malls where parking is easier.
Those two blocks in question are usually heavily congested both with slow moving vehicles seeking a vacant park.
When this occurs, the driver stops and waits until the vacating car reverses out of the space.
This is a very slow process as driver-vision is often restricted by an adjacent SUV or four-wheel drive and it these frequent stop/start situations which are probably the main cause of the traffic problem.
I would suggest the council seriously evaluate the two following alternatives as possible solutions to correct this ongoing situation and also consider including them as an alternative/extension or part of the overall proposed Draft Master Plan (DMP).
Currently each of the two blocks have approximately 125 car parking places, excluding loading zones and those signed as parking zones.
I suggest that altering the parking spaces to face forward so that drivers have to reverse in.
Vacating is also safer and quicker as drivers can readily see oncoming traffic on their right-hand side.
This reduces delays and is a system already in use in many towns and cities in this country and should be seriously considered for use in these two sections of Bourbong St.
There would be some cost as the existing centre parking sections would require alteration and line paintings new signage.
Alternately consideration could also be given to closing off both sections and converting the space into a people-friendly mall using the Street Greening concept as proposed in the DMP.
There are documented cases overseas where this has been done and surveys carried out on value of trade before and after the event have shown increased business has resulted by shops affected by such action.
Even though the DMP does not consider that any additional parking should be considered, the closing off these two street sections may require provision of alternate car parking facilities.
This could be achieved by making provision in the DMP for a three-level parking station of two levels above street height and one level below at the corner of Quay and Targo Sts with access from the riverside off Targo St.
A controlled pedestrian crossing rather than the current pedestrian refuge over Quay St would allow safe access for pedestrians and shoppers via Targo St to the centre of the mall.
This was generally positive as it was felt that banning of cars would make the area safer for pedestrians and reduce the stress of having to first find a car space.
Some felt that by redesigning the area would make it more people-friendly by the addition of more shade-trees and seating of various kinds similar to the BRG Development Master Plan for proposed treatment of Quay St.
Unless the council takes some radical action to address the current situation either by changing the parking system or converting the area into a mall it is probable that even more retailers will be moving to areas where their business has greater exposure and parking is easier.
The removal of the large unsightly advertising signs above awning level would also expose the frontages of many of the beautiful buildings that are in that section of the street and improve the overall appearance of this street frontage.
Have your say on the CBD, email email@example.com