Call for a reconfiguration of lower Keppel Street

THE location of pedestrian crossings and accessible parking on Keppel Street have been brought to the attention of council.

Councillor Monica Morse used the last council meeting to raise the need to better configure a section of the street between Bentinck and Havannah streets.

She said the pedestrian traffic flow between the St Vincent De Paul Society shop and the Salvation Army Family Store was “becoming more and more obvious and more and more of a problem”.

She said this tied in with the pedestrian crossing near the roundabout at the intersection of Bentinck and Keppel streets, which businesses had reported as being prone to near-misses.

The businesses that had spoken with Cr Morse had asked whether a vehicle-priority crossing, as seen near the Howick Street post office, could be installed.

Cr Morse was told the original beautification scheme for the central business district in 1998 had included a mid-block crossing for that part of Keppel Street, but money had never been allocated in the budget.

Council would now need to undertake new community consultation to see whether it is still a viable option. 

Another issue Cr Morse said businesses had raised was the location of the single accessible parking space and its distance from medical facilities on that block. 

In speaking with the Western Advocate, Bathurst Regional Access Committee (BRAC) president Bob Triming said, in his opinion, adding a second accessible parking spot or moving it may not be the best solution. 

He said it would also be quite costly to council. 

“I was under the impression that parking in that part of Keppel Street was at a premium and if you put one accessible parking space you take two other parking spots away,” Mr Triming said. 

“We wouldn’t oppose it, but it is a big expense for council.” 

He also said he didn’t think it would be fair to move an accessible parking spot for just one business when those around it aren’t fully accessible. 

On the subject of the pedestrian crossings, Mr Triming said it would be hard to find a solution that worked for everybody as vehicle-priority crossings come with their own issues.

“I’ve personally have never had a hassle from a safety point of view at the crossing between the barber and the butcher when there have been people coming through the intersection,” he said.