Gallery: The new High Street

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IT might just be a few new white lines, but Wodonga's new-look High Street has been given a big tick of approval from the city centre's vendors.

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THE man who pioneered High Street’s reduction to single-lane traffic yesterday said it was a good start but more needed to be done.

David Engwicht ended his $150,000 a year council consultancy on the city’s main street in early 2009, saying he was frustrated by the lack of progress and felt snubbed by a new council.

The “placemaker” said from Brisbane that the move was no stroke of genius but the result of trial and error.

“We were flying by the seat of our pants back then,” Mr Engwicht said.

“Trying to find a solution to slowing the traffic on High Street, Lounging on High allowed us to trial the idea and it was an immediate success.

“Now when I’m talking to town planners I tell them trials rather than talkfests are the best way to test an idea.”

While Mr Engwicht’s ambitious $5.1 million makeover of the city’s main street was dumped four years ago, he said some of those ideas were still relevant.

He said removing line markings, traffic signs and getting away from straight roads would reduce speeds further.

“The key is making people feel they are driving through a room than down a corridor,” he said.

“Getting rid of traffic artefacts — line markings, traffic lights and speed humps can all help achieve that.”

Cr Anna Speedie also paid homage to Mr Engwicht’s vision.

“These ideas were all trialled during Lounging on High and, to David’s credit, they worked then and appear to be working now,” she said this week.

“What we saw there was the traffic slowing when we reduced High Street to one lane.”

Wodonga Council’s planning and infrastructure director Leon Schultz said he expected further work in High Street to focus on landscaping.

“We had a budget of $100,000 for this work and believe we won’t have spent all that money,” he said.

“We will look at what we can do to create even greater interest in the street.

“We will look at how we can better landscape High Street.”

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