Major traffic and car parking changes have been made in the Nelson Bay town centre.
Port Stephens residents and visitors have been confronted with the extension of one-way traffic in both Stockton and Yacaaba streets, to be followed by the commencement of paid parking throughout the CBD.
The new measures, introduced on Thursday, December 3, are permanent fixtures.
Port Stephens Council said the changes are designed to:
- Improve traffic flow around the town centre by making it easier to navigate
- Improve pedestrian safety around the Stockton and Donald Street intersections
- Create 28 additional parking spaces (including 2 accessible spaces) and six motorcycle parking spaces by replacing some sections of parallel parking with angle parking and;
- Make parking space access quicker with nose-in parking
Temporary parklets (a sidewalk extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street) earmarked for Magnus Street have been put on hold after some business owners confronted mayor Ryan Palmer and east ward councillors John Nell and Glen Dunkley about the potential loss of five car parking spaces.
"This [Monday] afternoon mayor Ryan Palmer and councillors met with the Magnus Street business community and, after listening to their concerns, the parklet project is now on hold for the time being," a council spokesperson said.
The parklets were part of a $700,000 grant from the NSW Government's Streets as Shared Spaces program.
The one-way traffic changes do have the support of Nelson Bay businesses.
Planning panel member Heath Jones said there was widespread support for the one-way street concept with the creation of up to 28 more car parking spaces.
"The one-way traffic to Tomaree Street will free up more parking spaces in the town centre," he said.
A a council spokesperson said: "The decision to permanently convert these streets to one-way was one of the recommendations of the Nelson Bay Independent Parking Panel in 2018 and has been approved by the Local Traffic Committee which consists of RMS, MPs (Port Stephens and Newcastle), councillors and bus companies."
The changes are also designed to improve traffic flow by making it easier to navigate and improve pedestrian safety.
It is expected that the implementation of paid parking in Nelson Bay's CBD would follow the traffic changes.
"The Park'nPay app, digital parking permit portal, and foreshore meter upgrades have been completed and made live. By mid-December we are anticipating the smart parking meters to be online," the council said.
"All residents and ratepayers are eligible for free parking, as well as people who work for businesses in the Nelson Bay town centre. We ask anyone who believes they are eligible and has been declined to forward their application to firstname.lastname@example.org."
The Donald Street pop-up shop to ask questions about free parking in the CBD will remain open until December 30.