Council votes for Green Spine changes

The Greater
Geelong council has voted to make several modifications to the completed
section of the Green Spine on Malop Street.

The decision
came as a result of a motion put forward by Councillor Eddy Kontelj, which won majority council support.

While
acknowledging the success of the ‘Botanical Walk’ installed as part of the
Green Spine, Cr Kontelj’s motion stated that the significant traffic congestion
and pedestrian crossing safety concerns had “frustrated and angered a portion of
the community”.

The changes
approved by the council include:

  • the removal of a
    separated bike lane on the north side of the Green Spine
  • reinstatement of
    right-turn lanes on the east approach to Moorabool Street and the west approach
    to Yarra Street
  • installation of
    more 2P on-street car parks, without compromising taxi services and
  • improvements to
    pedestrians and disability accessibility (relating to the raised kerb
    separating the bike lanes).

The decision
directs that the works are to be funded in the council’s 2020-2021 budget and
future budgets, and must start during the 2020-2021 financial year.

It also
instructs City of Greater Geelong staff to work with Regional Roads Victoria to
improve the scheduling, timing and synchronising of traffic lights at
intersections and pedestrian crossings along the street.

And the
resolution gives direction for the next stage (block one) of the Green Spine,
to be built between Gheringhap and Moorabool Streets, stating that the design
should pay tribute to the Traditional Owners of the land.

None of these
proposed works or modifications will impact the ‘Botanical Walk’.

The motion was
passed six votes to five, with councillors Kontelj, Asher, Grzybek, Aitken, Nelson
and Sullivan in favour, and councillors Murrihy, Mansfield, Murnane, Harwood
and Mason against.

Councillor Stephanie Asher – Mayor

These changes
are modifications to the Green Spine in response to strong community feedback.
The council was unanimous in its praise of the botanical features of the
design, which have undoubtedly made the street a more appealing place to spend
time.

However, it’s
become clear that our community is frustrated with the traffic congestion along
Malop Street, and as their elected representatives it’s our duty to respond. We
believe these changes will help get traffic moving again, without compromising
the aim of the project, which is to create a greener, more attractive city
centre. The bike lane will remain on the south side of the street.

The overall
vision for the Green Spine will be more obvious to our community once it’s
built all the way from Johnstone Park to Eastern Gardens. And at the same time,
it’s unfair to expect our community to leave their cars at home when they don’t
have access to high standard bus services or other public transport means. In
both cases the need for progress is urgent but the funding and timelines are in
the state government’s control, so the council’s hands are tied. We can only do
what’s in our power to help workers, shoppers and visitors get into and through
central Geelong as efficiently as possible.

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