Pedestrian crossing location set before July council meeting

Research: Port Macquarie-Hastings Councillors Lisa Intemann and Peter Alley observe pedestrian traffic at Bold Street, Laurieton on Thursday, July 11. The crossing is on the Wednesday, July 17 council meeting agenda.
Research: Port Macquarie-Hastings Councillors Lisa Intemann and Peter Alley observe pedestrian traffic at Bold Street, Laurieton on Thursday, July 11. The crossing is on the Wednesday, July 17 council meeting agenda.

Location options for the Bold Street pedestrian crossing are set to go before the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council meeting on Wednesday, July 17.

Councillors Peter Alley and Lisa Intemann spent three hours over two days to observe foot traffic at Bold Street, Laurieton for research.

In December 2018, it was announced the placement of the new crossing would be located near the entry to the Coles carpark, adjacent to 73 Bold Street.

The news was of concern to some residents who believed it should be 50 metres closer to Tunis Street than proposed.

Resident Harold Hunt launched a petition, signed by over 600 residents, in an effort to get council to change its plans.

"Most people in Laurieton believe the pedestrian crossing should be located closer to the exit of Coles and the chemist, as that stretch of road is the most used," he said.

Following the petition's presentation at council's May meeting, it was resolved to defer construction of the crossing and investigate the feasibility of its relocation. Three location options, including the original, are being looked into.

According to the July 17 council meeting agenda the first option (recommended by council) is estimated to cost $580,000, the second option $620,000 and the third option (favoured by residents who signed the petition) is set to cost $430,000.

Cr Intemann said the experience of observing where people crossed the road was useful for council's research.

"From what we observed, somewhat more people tend to cross between Coles and the chemist rather than mid-block between the hotel and chiropractor, but it wasn't a massive difference", Cr Intemann said.

"Interestingly, people crossing at the Coles location seemed to be attracted there much more by the availability of parking, than the need to also visit the chemist".

Cr Alley said the situation could be very different if a pedestrian crossing was installed near the Coles exit ramp.

"Installing the crossing near Coles will mean losing 11 parking spaces, including six in front of the chemist.

"Ironically that would probably reduce the number of people able to park there and wanting to cross in that location.

"There are a lot of issues to consider, including safety of course and how a new crossing outside Coles will affect traffic movement."

In March 2018 it was announced Port Macquarie-Hastings Council had been successful in receiving funding for the implementation of a crossing through the NSW Government's stronger Country Communities Fund.

In the agenda for the July 17 meeting, it's recommended council seeks an extension for the current grant funding agreement to cater for additional community engagement.

It is also recommended a report to be provided to the September council meeting with the outcomes of community engagement on a preferred pedestrian crossing location.

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