City of Hobart’s $1.5 million New Town Retail Precinct Upgrade is back up and running, with a new public bus shelter and pocket park set to be the focus of the project’s second stage. 

Stage one included new pedestrian crossings, garden beds, benches and bike racks installed along New Town Road. 

The upgrade was then put on hold for three years due to the impacts of COVID-19.

City of Hobart Lord Mayor, Cr Anna Reynolds, said, “Hobart has not been immune to the slow-down in large-scale construction projects caused by the impacts of COVID-19 but thanks to significant funding from the Australian Government, with additional support through the Tasmanian Government, we can now start stage two of our exciting New Town precinct upgrade.

“The second stage of the New Town Retail Precinct Upgrade will see local public transport improved with a new, high quality public bus shelter and a pocket park with green space and seating in front of the Salvation Army complex.”

Two more pedestrian crossings will be added to New Town Road in an effort to make the precinct safe for everyone.

The project will also create a space that opens up new possibilities for local communities and businesses through pop-up events, markets and other activities.

Hobart’s City Mobility Portfolio Chair, Ryan Posselt, said these would be welcome additions.

“A high-quality, disability compliant bus shelter and two more pedestrian crossings help to promote alternatives to jumping in the car and adding more traffic to our roads,” Cr Posselt said.

“Anything that increases public transport uptake and improves walkability in Hobart can only be a benefit to the city.”

Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Senator for Tasmania, Carol Brown, said the upgrade was part of a much bigger picture.

“We’re investing in infrastructure projects across the nation, including in the New Town Precinct of Hobart, ensuring the needs of our communities are funded and delivered,” Ms Brown said.

“I welcome these works which will not only beautify and update the New Town Precinct but will provide safer passenger and pedestrian travel access, along with amenities that integrate with public transport.”

Tasmanian Minister for Small Business, Madeleine Ogilvie, said local projects like the New Town upgrade were important in making busy areas safer for pedestrians.

“Making these areas more people-friendly will mean more people come and spend time and money in these areas,” Ms Ogilvie said.

“Our Vulnerable Road User Program is working to ensure that when upgrades are being planned that public safety remains at front of mind and is encapsulated in the designs right from the start.

“Works that are reasonably simple in concept, such as installing pedestrian refuges to make crossing streets safer, can make a real difference to the safety of our streetscapes and help give our shopping precincts a new life.”

The City of Hobart and Tasmanian construction firm, MSD Civil Services, will work closely with local businesses and residents to limit any potential impacts on trade and the day-to-day lives of locals during the construction phase.

The City is also co-ordinating a range of business support and information services through its newly established City Economy Unit, which will help promote and support New Town businesses during the project through the Hello Hobart website.

The website is designed to connect people with local businesses, such as cafes, restaurants, services and shops.

The City will also work with the local community to stage a celebration of the precinct once work on the Roope Street intersection is completed in late spring, early summer 2023.

Stage two of the project has been made possible through the support of the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program, which will fund the majority of the upgrade works.

Additional support has been provided through the Vulnerable Road User Program (VRUP), co-funded by the Federal Government and Tasmanian Government under the Federal Government’s $3 billion Road Safety Program.

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