UPDATED plans for the upgrade of Braddon’s Lonsdale Street will put further pressure on parking in the area, says Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee.
A new draft of the $4 million concept plan, originally costed at $9.6 million in an ACT Labor election promise, of the Braddon Streetscape Upgrade was published last week, and under the current plan, Ms Lee says up to 25 carparks could be slashed.
“Local businesses and customers have told us repeatedly that parking on Lonsdale Street is already difficult as it is,” she said.
“Cutting a further 25 spaces would put even more pressure on parking in Braddon, which is rightly leaving businesses and their customers concerned.”
While the loss of about 25 parking spots is disappointing for Kel Watt, a spokesperson for the lobby group, Braddon’s United Retailers and Traders (BURT), Mr Watt says he is pleased with the overall strategy to improve parking options around Mort Street, Cooyong Street and the northern side of Haig Park.
“This will hopefully offset the immediate loss in Lonsdale Street,” he says.
“I understand some businesses will be upset at the apparent loss of parks, but there has been a strategic approach given to ensure there are more customers, a better environment and therefore a potentially larger group of people heading into Braddon.
“At the end of the day, more customers and more revenue is what businesses are seeking, not just car parks – although they are a symbol of more business opportunities.”
The 25 carparks, according to the new plan, will be replaced by open green/dining areas, which Mr Watt believes will be better suited for outdoor gatherings and dining.
“This should be attractive to people and make Braddon a desirable destination,” he says.
What is disappointing, however, is that the spend on the upgrades has dropped from $9.6 million to $4 million and the construction date, originally planned to start around Easter, won’t start until early 2022, Mr Watt says.
“These significant shortfalls in an election promise should be explained immediately,” he says.
The City Renewal Authority and City Services Minister Chris Steel has been contacted for comment.
Aspects of the new plan that are welcomed, according to Mr Watt, is the proposed increase in connection between the Eloura Street Light Rail stop and other areas outside Lonsdale Street.
“But we will have to see in practice how much they deliver,” he says.
Public consultation on the new draft plan will be open here until May 26.