Shoppers will travel through a revitalised Maitland Heritage Mall in a westbound, one-way fashion as
determined by council last night, with work to start as early as next year.
Motorists will enter the mall via High Street, at the post office, and exist via a left turn into Elgin Street.
Alternatively, vehicles will enter the mall via Bulwer Street, travel along High Street and also exit at Elgin Street.
Known as option four, the design was commended for its ability to carry a substantial amount of traffic while requiring the least amount of change to infrastructure.
Cr Arch Humphery was defeated 8-5 when he put the motion in support of option five, going against the officers’ recommendation, the findings of the consultant and the wishes of 14 stakeholders.
Among his concerns for option four was that motorists would be driving into the sun in a precinct shared with pedestrians, including mothers with prams.
Cr Henry Meskauskas and Cr Ken Wethered successfully moved an alternative motion, in support of option four, finding 12 in favour and only Cr Humphery against.
“You’ve forgotten about the reference panel which is full of business people and why should I be sitting here arguing against them,” Cr Meskauskas said.
Cr Wethered said he too favoured option five until the consultants recommendation came in, and added that it wouldn’t create a rat run.
“You can’t go straight through High Street; you have to go left at Elgin Street under these plans,” he said.
Cr Lisa Tierney spoke against option five, where traffic would enter both ends of the mall and merge to exit on Bulwer Street.
“By Cr Humphery’s recommendation, we will have to ban all westbound traffic,” she said.
“I have no problem creating a rat run if it brings more traffic to the mall every day.”
Cr Humphery defended option five as a superior plan.
“I can’t believe I am hearing councillors say that it is OK to create a rat run,” he said.
“It’s all right to make a joke of [driving into the sun] and say you can just put sunglasses on or pull the visor down, but to opt to make a decision based on a report that appears to have ignored this issue is irresponsible.”
But the flow of traffic could be reviewed if the urban designer puts forward an alternative option, Cr Steve Procter said.
“We’ve already said that when the plans come through we can review the flow of traffic,” he said.
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