Imagine the main street of Mullumbimby with half the traffic, shady spaces for conversation, and colourful, locally-made public art welcoming people to town.
That’s the vision Byron Council will attempt to actualise, after securing a $250,000 grant from the state government under the Streets as Shared Spaces program.
Council is planning to use the money to transform Burringbar Street, at least temporarily, into a pedestrian-friendly ‘Talking Street’ featuring ‘parklets’ to encourage people to stop, chat and create.
The vision was developed by a ‘Place Planning Collective’ made up of community members and Council staff.
The centrepiece of the plan, according to documents contained in the agenda to the September 17 planning meeting, will be the intersection of Burringbar and Stuart Streets, which is set to feature a large colourful mural painted onto the road surface.
Council is also planning to install temporary pedestrian crossings at the two remaining sides where crossings are not already in place.
There will also be quadrant-shaped seating platforms in each corner of the intersection that can be used for seating, performance or public art.
In an attempt to reduce the growing tide of traffic clogging the street, Council intends to create new traffic flow measures diverting through traffic onto Station Street.
‘This is a pragmatic measure that would have a profound impact on pedestrian safety and amenity on the whole main street,’ the author of the Council report says.
There will also be traffic-calming measures, carriageway narrowing and visual cues in a bid to reduce speeds on Burringbar St to under 20km/hr.
Local artists will also be engaged to create brightly painted markers to ‘communicate to drivers they are entering, and are in, a place of community importance’.
The measures, which must be installed within 12 months as part of the grant funding, and are semi-permanent only, with Council promising to discard anything that doesn’t work.
They will also be subject to further community input, prior to installation, through the involvement of a community working group.
It will also involve the creation of a funding agreement between Council and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
‘This is a way of trialling a whole bunch of ways that the street can be reconfigured’, Creative Mullumbimby president, Malcolm Price, said.