Wollongong City Council has progressed to Stage 2 in the Helensburgh Streetscape Masterplan, with planned upgrades to deliver a safer, more pleasant environment for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.
From mid-February 2022, Council will be onsite at Walker Street, Helensburgh, to prune the lower branches of the magnificent Brush Box trees that line the western side of the road.
Once the trees are trimmed, Council will begin work to install the new footpath and other traffic calming infrastructure, to create a safer and pleasant environment for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.
Stage 1 of the Helensburgh Streetscape Masterplan was completed in 2021, and Stage 2 will build upon works already completed, to further improve safety and accessibility for the community.
The Stage 2 upgrades include:
- A new pedestrian path along the western side of the street
- An upgrade of the pedestrian crossing at Coles and footpath upgrades on the eastern side from the crossing at Coles to the Short Street intersection
- Pedestrian and road safety improvements at Short Street
- Flattening of the steep parking lanes in Walker Street
- Construction of a new roundabout and raised pedestrian crossing on the Lilyvale and Walker Street intersection
Works on the Helensburgh Stage 2 Streetscape Masterplan are expected to finish by June 2022, pending weather conditions.
New progress in Stage 2 of the Masterplan comes as Transport for NSW, who manages speed zone changes on the road network, expressed support for the Helensburgh Town Centre to become a 30km/h speed zone.
These changes to speed zones will be looked at once Stage 2 works are complete, with Council continuing to work closely with Transport for NSW to communicate any future changes to residents as they occur.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor, Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM, said that the work planned to improve Walker Street will make a big difference to the enjoyment and safety for Helensburgh residents and visitors.
“Last year, we expanded the scope of works for Stage 2 of the masterplan project to include some additional upgrades to areas that we felt also needed attention, such as the flattening of the steep parking lanes on Walker Street,” Mayor Bradbery said.
“Right now, the parking lanes along Walker Street are too steep and make parking challenging, as the road forces residents to park their cars further from the kerb and closer to traffic.
“Part of the Stage 2 upgrades will look at flattening and improving the road, which will have a big impact on the experience of people visiting the Helensburgh Town Centre.
“Council has a long-term vision for the Helensburgh Town Centre, and it’s one that has been guided by our community every step of the way.
“It’s exciting to get to the next part of the project which involves making important upgrades to our town centre so that we can bring this vision to life.”
An important aspect of the Helensburgh upgrades was ensuring that Brush Box trees that line Walker and Parkes Streets are preserved for the community.
Wollongong City Council engaged in detailed arboricultural investigations to ensure that trees are protected during the Helensburgh upgrade works and into the future.
“Our magnificent Brush Box trees are an important part of the Helensburgh town centre identity, and we know our community values their beauty, shade and character,” Mayor Bradbery said.
“The Brush Box trees we know and love today were likely planted in the 1940s-50s and they form part of a memorial to those lost in World War 1.
“It’s important that these memorial trees are protected for our community to remember and honour our past.
“As part of the Stage 2 works, we’ll be pruning the lowest branches of the trees to improve sight lines and allow better sunlight access to the western side of the street.”
Some tree roots will be removed to install the new footpath, but Council assured that the amount of tree roots to be removed has been determined by a qualified arborist, meeting Australian Standards, and ensuring minimal impact to the trees.