VETERAN Beaufort Street traders fear for the viability of their businesses if Vincent council closes Grosvenor Road to traffic.
This week the council approved two trials starting in October; first to completely close off the bit of Grosvenor Road adjoining Beaufort Street to make it a pedestrian event space for 16 days, then a four-week trial of turning it into a “shared zone” with a single one-way lane coming off Beaufort.
But longstanding local business owners including Dean Schulz from Beaufort Street Pharmacy and Shawn Offer from Fresh Provisions oppose the plan, as Grosvenor splits off into two carparks vital to nearby trade. There are other exits from the carpark but they’re already busy and can be trickier to navigate.
Mr Offer wrote in a letter to councillors: “This access way into the heart of Mt Lawley parking is a critical access way for clients to turn in to utilise the carparks left and right from it.”
He said “a gridlocked carpark does nothing for an area” and they’re only just getting over disruptive water pipe replacement works.
“[The] area is only just beginning to recover; let the new ones get a chance before they get smacked down by more government works.”
At the July 26 council meeting Cr Ron Alexander said he’d spoken to local business owners during a visit and was opposed to the plan.
“It’s fine to have a woke idea about ‘let’s close off Grosvenor Road and let’s have festivals and everything’,” but he said it was “bordering on insanity” to close one carpark entrance and potentially make it more dangerous for pedestrians to have cars navigating out to the other, trickier exits.
Cr Ross Ioppolo also voted no, saying it wasn’t the right spot to pedestrianise a street given the potential for the impact on the carpark to hurt businesses.
But the majority of councillors said yes and the trial will go ahead.
Mr Offer told the Voice while the trial’s unwelcome, the bigger concern is that it might be made permanent after the council’s sunk some cash into it.
The trial will cost $43,000, with RAC kicking in $6,000. About $20,000 of that pays for street furniture which can be reused elsewhere to partially recover costs if they decide not to make the trial permanent.
Grosvenor Road footpath will also be upgraded to the tune of $70,000 ($31,000 from RAC grants) with a raised crossing to bring the road to the same grade as the footpath, a hint to motorists that they’re in walker town now.
Mr Offer tells us the project was being billed as making the area better for pedestrians, but none of the measures on Grosvenor actually addressed the more perilous crossing of Beaufort Street itself.
by DAVID BELL