Bring back Broadway

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By ALECIA ROUSSEAU

The future of Broadway Ave is being put under the microscope by one UCOL student who is determined to see its revitalisation.

Kim Ross, a fourth-year Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging student, began Our Space Our Place as part of her final year's study and has spent more than six months researching why the once bustling street has become deserted.

"I began this project because I was tired of hearing people complain. They weren't willing to come up with solutions so I thought why not take action," explained Ms Ross.

"I want to look at this from an approach where we focus on getting user numbers up and this will have a positive flow-on effect."

The first phase of the project saw Ms Ross observe users of Broadway Ave before engaging with the community in a workshop.

UCOL lecturer Lorna Johnson attended the meeting and said many ideas were raised about why Broadway was in need of change.

"Retailers feel the council is not doing anything to help them and the one-hour free parking at The Plaza, combined with rigid enforcement of the new parking regime, is driving business away," she said.

Cafe owners were also concerned about bird poo, which precluded outdoor seating, while women were more concerned about safety.

"They had concerns about feeling unsafe due to poor lighting at night and being approached, sometimes aggressively, by beggars for money," Ms Johnson said.

Learning consultant Rachel Bowen also attended the workshop and believes the regeneration of Broadway is a "huge" issue for the city.

"A significant number of businesses have closed down or moved away during a period of decline.

"We need to turn this around or we will be left with a strip of empty buildings, charity outlets and $2 shops where once was prime real estate and a thriving destination shopping spot."

Ms Ross said community members needed to be the ones who implemented the changes.

"I know people are quick to blame the council but it's up to us to do something. We know that safety, diversity, culture and human-centred spaces are needed but it's the people who drive this."

Ms Johnson said she would like to see Broadway made more pedestrian friendly with either one lane traffic or no traffic at all and free parking for the first hour.

Free parking in King St was also suggested.

"I've already gone on record suggesting that parking in the Council-owned King St carpark should be free for the first hour.

This would help put the Broadway shopping strip on a level playing field with other top shopping spots in the CBD," explained Ms Bowen.

Ms Ross plans to present her proposal mid October.

For more information or to get involved in Our Space Our Place, visit www.facebook.com/ourspacebroadway.

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