POLL: European style for Keira Street

Wollongong City Council is considering closing part of Keira Street outside the GPT development to allow for alfresco dining.

The proposal, which is due to go before a full council meeting on Monday, recommends closing off a portion of the western kerbside lane of Keira Street between the end of the old bus stop and the start of the left-turn bay into Market Street.

It also calls for widening the footpath on that side by 1.3 metres to four metres, and the eastern footpath by 0.3 metres to three metres.

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The council says the aim is to "activate the street frontage".

"Given council's aspiration for Keira Street's transformation into a high-quality public domain, the opportunity to consider long-term design options for Keira Street is timely," the business paper for Monday's meeting says.

It also states that GPT is trying to avoid leasing the external shops that face Keira Street to operators that close their doors after normal hours and those who only open Monday to Friday.

Council engaged urban design firm Design Urban to consider the value of the proposal.

According to the firm's report, Keira Street should be more than just a route in and out of the city.

"... it makes sense that it be designed to leverage more economic, social and cultural value than it currently does," it said.

"The alternative would be to effectively 'give up' on the street in these respects and allow traffic and transport to dominate."

It also suggested that the GPT's proposed pedestrian bridges and tunnels over and under the street point to "giving up" as they indicate an intention to not have pedestrians in the street.

GPT development marketing manager Ben Hughes said the company supported the proposal that would allow alfresco dining.

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