The Yass Valley Council has opened up its designs for new pedestrian refuges to public comment.
The need for the refuges came to light in a survey conducted by the Yass Valley Business Chamber, which revealed that 81% of residents believe that pedestrian safety improvements are required in the main shopping precinct.
The two suggested areas for improvement are between Rossi Street to Meehan Street and Meehan Street to Lead Street.
The latter connection was the priority for the survey, as it is believed to be the busier area in terms of pedestrian traffic and is central to the main street.
However, making pedestrian refuges in the specified areas would mean the loss of car parks, specifically six spaces in the case of the Rossi to Meehan crossing.
This has drawn some ire from members of the public, one of whom asked on Facebook “Why can't pedestrians just walk up to the lights, its really not far and Yass needs every available car space.”
According to Deputy Mayor Kim Turner, car parks versus pedestrian refuges comes down to a matter of safety.
“It’s [a matter of] accessibility problems really for the elderly and infirm,” Cr Turner said.
“That’s a major issue, we can’t really afford to lose parking spaces in the main street.
“There’s plenty of off-street parking, always has been. It’s just people don’t particularly like parking off street, they like to park outside the shop that they’re shopping in.
Yass Valley Business Chamber President Michael Pilbrow concurred with Cr Turner, saying that pedestrian safety is “paramount”.
The issue of the pedestrian refuges was raised, according to Mr Pilbrow, about a year ago during a Business Chamber meeting.
“In the middle of 2016, the Business Chamber had a workshop about the Main Street,” he said.
“One of the ideas that came out of our workshop was better connectivity across the road.”
The chamber took the idea to council, and from there it grew into the proposed plans.
Mr Pilbrow touted the cooperative spirit taken by council on the project and said that the members of the chamber “really appreciate the approach that council took on this.”
The design is available for viewing and open to public comment until 5:00pm December 5.