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It's back to square one on Palmerin St shared zone plan

COST, public opinion and community concerns will be the deciding factors in the fate of the Palmerin St shared zone trial in council today.

The shared zone trial was put in place during the September council meetings after Warwick State High School enquired about a pedestrian crossing on Palmerin St to enhance students' safety.

Due to the impact on the surrounding businesses and the car parks they would lose with a zebra crossing, the shared zone solution was offered as a compromise.

This meant the whole of Palmerin St from the Percy to Victoria St intersections was reduced to 25kmh.

A report prepared by Southern Downs Regional Council CEO Andrew Roach highlighted the community outrage over the decision.

"The installation of the extended shared zone in Palmerin St to include Fitzroy to Victoria St has created an enormous amount of community angst," Mr Roach said.

"Which has been supported by the local newspaper and now the high school P&C are requesting it removed.

"There are a number of options that now sit with council to resolve this issue."

Today the councillors will discuss the three options put forward by the CEO and make the final decision on the shared zone's future.

The first option is to maintain the trial of the shared zone as it is.

The second is to continue the trial of the shared zone but install temporary infrastructure with rubber kerbing to simulate garden beds and pedestrian refuse areas.

Mr Roach said this option would cost the council $10,000.

"This step would then correctly simulate the shared zone to allow more meaningful data to be collected for the trial period," he said.

"Council could also reduce the trial period to only three or six months once this infrastructure was installed."

The third option is to remove the shared zone altogether.

"This option doesn't meet the original intent of council to improve pedestrian safety but council would certainly receive a better public profile," Mr Roach said.

The council and CEO met with representatives from WSHS on October 29 where they handed Mr Roach a letter from P&C president Mark Wheeldon.

The letter outlined the school's issues with the trial.

"Since the introduction of the shared zone trial, members of the be P&C, parents, school staff and the general public have made annotations that traffic circumstances now are in fact far more unsafe for students and other pedestrians than were previously," Mr Wheeldon wrote.

"The deterioration of safety has been observed to be results of a combination of issues that include and are vital for pedestrian protection.

"With much consideration and observation the Warwick State High School P&C Association request an immediate abandonment of the shared zone trial.

"We are fully aware that the loss of car parking to accommodate a pedestrian crossing may impact on businesses in the precinct.

"However the cost of a tragic pedestrian accident far outweighs this relatively minor inconvenience.

Topics:  community, palmerin street, shared zone, southern downs regional council, warwick, warwick state high school




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