Businesses have reported no improvements to trading, but the one-way traffic flow and extended dining and pedestrian space at Dee Why beachfront is set to remain for another year. Council will be implementing some changes suggested by the community.
Northern Beaches Council has extended the dining and pedestrian trial at Dee Why beachfront for twelve months to allow for assessment under more usual conditions – without the impact of COVID restrictions, associated staff shortages, patron hesitancy and months of inclement weather.
The trial has been operating since August 2021 and includes the implementation of one-way traffic flow and combining the existing two bike lanes to a side by side two-way cycleway on The Strand to enable an extended pedestrian boardwalk and outdoor dining.
The trial has been supported under the NSW Government’s Streets as Shared Spaces program.
Mayor Michael Regan said the elected Council were not satisfied the trial had been given enough time to be properly assessed given the unusual and extraordinary conditions of the last eight months.
“Months of COVID hesitancy, staff shortages, followed by months of rain and extreme weather events mean we have not seen this program operating under ‘normal’ circumstances.
“The businesses have reported no major improvements in trading but it’s hard to know if they would be suffering much more without this program. There is overwhelming support among the businesses for the changes.
“The community themselves are quite divided on the trial so far. Some love the new arrangements and would like to see them stay. Some want to see the trial go further and close the road to traffic completely. Others remain concerned about local traffic impacts and safety and want the area returned to how it was before the trial.
“On balance, Council made the decision to give it another 12 months.
“In the meantime, we’ll implement some of the suggestions provided by the community including the installation of three new marked pedestrian crossings on Clyde and Avon roads, and investigate more parking opportunities in the area to replace those lost. Other additional crossings and the like are being investigated along with other suggestions from the public.
“I look forward to seeing how the area operates once the rain eases and people continue to gain the confidence to eat out and enjoy busy spaces in a post-Covid environment.”
The Strand trial will continue until April 2023.
Main image: Rachael Leah Jackson via the Northern Beaches Living Facebook Group