The reopening of Wollongong's main shopping strip to traffic is set to become even less likely this week, as the council prepares to adopt a strategy to make parking and driving in parts of the CBD more unattractive.
Under the final version of Wollongong City Council's City Centre Planning Review, to be debated on Monday, Crown Street will become part of a "pedestrian priority core" of the city.
This area will cover Burelli and Crown Streets from the railway station to Corrimal Street, as well as the square between Burelli, Keira, Market and Corrmal Streets.
The council will also be banning new entryways from buildings and driveways in a number of city streets, to disincentivise car use, and will consider making low traffic streets in the CBD 40km/h.
The adoption of this strategy, contained within the council's City Centre Planning Review, comes just a month after dozens of mall retailers and property owners launched a new campaign to get the council to consider reopening parts of the mall to traffic.
The review is the council's first major move towards changing planning zones, building height limits and floor space ratios in the city.
It could see an end to bulky skyscrapers constructed in recent years, and a move away from "shop-top" apartments which left the mall struggling to retain its place as the retail heart of the city.
It will also pave the way for several new precincts, create a new commercial-only zone, and hold developers to higher design standards.
More than three quarters of the people surveyed during public consultation supported the council's recommendation to make the city more walkable or bike friendly.
However, those who did not support it said they thought it was unrealistic that people would give up cars and said that the current mall "is not working" despite being a pedestrian only street.
"It is already challenging to drive in this city, this should not be further impeded especially as mobility-impaired and the elderly/parents with babies need car access," one person wrote.
Parking was also a frequent concern for residents who commented on the plans.
"I don't think anything will work unless you change the [cost of] the parking situation as well," one person said.
Another suggested the council needed to "build a substantial parking lot".
"The city is dying because to utilise public transport from the suburbs takes too long," they said. "We're a city of drivers. That's how it is. Embrace it."
The council will push ahead with its plan, however, with councillors advised to adopt the strategy on Monday.