WARRAGUL // BUSINESSES and cyclists frustrated by the Baw Baw Shire’s decision to plant trees in shared lanes on Queen Street Warragul will have a chance to discuss the move at a meeting tomorrow.
Above: some of the holes dug for tree planting on Queen Street. Photo: author.
The council began cutting large holes for trees into the parking/cycling lanes and dedicated parking areas along the eastern section of the busy street last week. It paused the project after cyclists and the Warragul Business Group raised concerns about safety and parking availability.
Warragul Business Group president Dave Cann told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen the council had not consulted with businesses and the community properly.
“It’s more the disappointment about the discussion, communication and consultation,” he said on Saturday.
“We were informed there was generic beautification going going in on the entry points, which we’re all in favour for, let’s be honest about it, the three main entrance points in Warragul could do with some refreshing, but what has occurred is quite dramatic and has significant impact, not just on the traffic flow and particularly on cycle safety down that road, but also the impact it has on businesses.
“The placement of the planter boxes and their frequency is quite high, and in most cases it will take away at least one roadside park for the businesses. In some cases, because of the positioning, it will actually impact on two spaces because it will take away half of each. There was just that lack of consultation with businesses affected around that area.”
Baw Baw community assets director Phil Cantillon today told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen a meeting would be held in response to the complaints.
“The work on Queen Street (East of the Normanby Street Rail Underpass) has been suspended pending a meeting with the Warragul Business Group and Warragul Cycling Club, to discuss concerns at 1.30pm tomorrow at the [Gippsland] Business Centre in Queen Street,” he said in an email.
“This meeting is open to all interested members of the cycling community [and affected businesses].
“The proposed plantings along Queen Street align to Warragul’s strong tradition for street tree avenue plantings, and although they are advanced trees, as ornamental pear trees they will not be large enough to obstruct pedestrian, cyclist, or driver visibility.
“Most of the street trees in the project will be planted in either cut outs in the road pavement in the existing car parking/cycling lanes or in kerb outstands (similar to the situation along Howitt Street). This is to ensure the trees are not planted under overhead powerlines and to give the trees adequate space to grow.
“Currently, the parking/cycling lanes are shared lanes, which are available for use by cyclists so long as it is safe and practical to do so and with priority given to cars and other infrastructure.
“Designs for the streetscape works were assessed and approved by VicRoads prior to works commencing. As a part of the consultation, a letter was hand-delivered to the adjoining landowners and all nearby businesses (May 2015) along with a copy of that letter posted to the Warragul Business Group (June 2015).”
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