Goulburn’s CBD has been the subject of numerous studies over the years, with many of the recommendations not acted upon.
Little had happened up until three years ago when the council decided to get serious. That attention, with substantial funds backing it, has seen a transformation into a more vibrant city centre, better focused on outdoor dining and with higher quality street furniture and landscaping.
It is doing wonders for the city’s image but there’s room for improvement, as council general manager Warwick Bennett concedes.
The latest study, by Spacelab Studio, picks up on this, recommending more measures to make the CBD pedestrian friendly. Laneways off Auburn Street are under-utilised and present a prime opportunity for more street art and arcades. Russell Lane is a shining example of the possibilities. Empire Lane is a complete contrast, with dark, almost frightening artwork giving pedestrians the sense of walking to doomsday. Walker Lane is also begging for extra treatment, complementing attractive paving and providing a vital link to back street parking.
Likewise, a new lane opposite the proposed performing arts centre will open up parking for the venue, if the Joint Regional Planning Panel approves it in December. All the better if the council can acquire the former Go-Lo building for the lane and a community centre.
Other ideas in the study will gain less traction. Parallel parking in the southern block will not go down well to accommodate cycle paths. Where these paths will lead is anyone’s guess. The opportunity to create more in the CBD is limited given the wide median strips and angle parking.
Similarly, ‘parklets,’ or movable outdoor dining areas taking up parking spots will be controversial, despite efforts to free up spaces elsewhere.
But we don’t have to agree with every aspect. The study is a conversation starter. If you like, or even don’t like certain aspects, have your say through the long submission process. Better still, turn up at one of the public meetings that the council is arranging in late January and early February. There will also be pop-up spaces in the CBD to view the plans.
The good news is that Goulburn will have control of its main street again. A draft agreement to sign over Auburn Street from the Roads and Maritime Service to the council is expected to go to a February meeting.