A new initiative to be trialled by the City of Greater Geelong will aim to help Little Malop Street’s hospitality precinct become a safer and even more vibrant destination for visitors and outdoor diners.
Under the 12-month trial, Little Malop Street will close to vehicles between Dennys Place and Moorabool Street daily from 10am until 4am the following morning.
This will create a safe zone for pedestrians and increase the available space for outdoor dining and other activation.
The timing of the restrictions will allow vehicle access between 4am and 10am, while giving pedestrians and diners priority during the busy lunchtime, evening and night hospitality periods.
In approving the initiative, the Council also asked staff to explore the possibility of a permanent vehicle-free zone on Little Malop Street – between Shorts Place and McLarty Place and/or Shorts Place and Dennys Place – in the future.
Mayor Stephanie Asher said the trial arrangement aimed to encourage business activity and expand the street’s visitor appeal.
This is a step towards a bigger picture aim for councillors to create a permanent al fresco area in part of Little Malop Street that would be free of vehicles 24 hours a day.
The growth of the precinct has been really exciting in recent years and we need to keep that momentum going by taking action to encourage more people to visit, dine and enjoy what’s on offer.
Vehicle access will be controlled via automatic rising bollards, with business and property owners still able to enter during restricted times through a code system.
Usage data will be collected throughout the trial to help determine its success. An exact start date is still to be confirmed.
Councillor Eddy Kontelj, Chair of the Arts, Live Entertainment & Hospitality portfolio, said the aim is for the precinct to be a vibrant, inviting and safe place to spend time.
The trial is a pleasing step forward towards fully activating the Little Malop Street hospitality precinct and addressing the safety issues we have with vehicles driving through, particularly on busy nights.
The next step is to use this trial period to examine if there are options that would allow us to permanently close off sections of Little Malop Street, in order to create a permanent al fresco zone and improve the area even further for hospitality and entertainment.
In addition, the Council has requested an urban design review examining how to best activate the broader precinct, including Little Malop Street Central (between Moorabool and Yarra Streets).
The review will consider the potential closure of Little Malop Street to vehicles between Moorabool Street and Rock O’Cashel Lane.