OXFORD STREET traders will bring their wares out into the street next month when the road is closed to cars on Sundays from 3 – 9pm.
The $12,000 Vincent council trial aims to make the area more pedestrian friendly, and Curtin Uni experts will research the impact the closure has on pedestrian numbers, demographics and business turnover.
Acting Vincent mayor Ros Harley says “Leederville’s lively, unique businesses will spill out onto the footpaths and road offering delicious food, retail and entertainment on the street.”
For the St Patrick’s Day parade on March 12 the city will extend the closure to include early morning.
The street’s usually only closed off for the popular St Paddy’s day and Light Up Leederville festival, but the council is trying to create a laid back atmosphere so people “linger longer”, a sentiment precinct groups have been pushing in other town centres, like Beaufort Street and North Perth.
Merchants are allowed to display goods or signs on the street for free (but need a permit via the Vincent website) and there are spots for hire to set up a barbie or a stage, or whatever takes your fancy.
Fremantle council experimented with closing its Cappuccino Strip in April 2016 and while the cafes and restaurants liked it, the move brought complaints from surrounding businesses who said the traffic snarls turned people away from the port city.
Oxford Street has alternative routes east and west of it, so should be less messy to close off, and we haven’t heard any grumbles about the trial closure yet.
by DAVID BELL