No green light yet for CBD facelift
By ANDY PARKS firstname.lastname@example.org TRAFFIC lights would become part of the landscape in downtown Lismore under a plan to upgrade Woodlark Street The plan includes two sets of traffic lights and comes with a projected price tag of $4.5 million, or $6 million if underground power is included.
If accepted and included in the Lismore City Council's budget, Woodlark Street would be the last of the four major streets in the Lismore CBD to receive a facelift.
The concept plan also includes stainless steel kerbing, a pedestrian crossing point, bike lanes on both sides of the street, the removal of roundabouts to make way for the traffic lights and a U-turn area.
Centre parking would remain, but some parking spaces would be lost.
The traffic lights would be situated at the intersections with Molesworth and Keen streets.
If approved, they would be the first traffic lights to be installed in the Lismore CBD. They would be set up to allow pedestrians to cross the street in any direction, including diagonally.
The council's executive director of infrastructure services, Garry Hemsworth, said a traffic report from Gold Coast-based TTM Consultants indicated they would deliver better CBD traffic flow.
However, many councillors are concerned about the cost and whether the council is in a position to borrow the money.
According to Cr Ros Irwin, redevelopment of Woodlark Street is crucial to the future of the CBD.
"We've got a gridlock at the moment and something has to be done. The idea of traffic lights has been around for a while and they do create a break," Cr Irwin said.
She said the traffic lights would make Woodlark Street better for pedestrians and shoppers.
However, she said having to borrow most of the money for the project was 'a matter of grave concern' because the council was already spending 'a significant amount' on the repayment of loans.
"We'll need to look at where the dollars come from and how it affects our other commitments," she said.
Cr Graham Meineke said: "It's been suggested we can't afford it, but can we afford to ignore it? It's a very delicate balance."
Cr Jenny Dowell said the council could not afford it, but the project could go ahead in stages, with the assistance of the RTA or 'some major money from the Federal Government'.