The Inner North commercial precincts of Braddon and Dickson have undergone dramatic makeovers during the past two decades.
With gentrification and property development transforming large areas of both precincts, the ACT Government has announced plans to bring the public amenity across Dickson and Braddon up to scratch.
$13.9 million will be spent on designing and constructing renewal works for both commercial precincts, with construction on Braddon’s Lonsdale Street and Dickson’s Woolley Street to start in February 2021.
The Braddon works will cover both sides of Lonsdale Street from Haigh Park down to Cooyong Street, while the Woolley Street works will encompass the entirety of the popular dining strip.
Broader work will be done for the rest of Braddon and Dickson’s commercial precincts at a later stage in the project.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr estimated that the design and construction of the first stage of the renewal works will create 20 jobs.
“It’s been timed in a way to both allow for the detailed design to be complete over the next six months, which provides the forward pipeline of work for the industry,” he said.
The works will involve altering the placement of footpaths, better lighting, and better management of parking, which is an issue of concern to local traders, residents and visitors.
Mr Barr said he would also work with property developers to ensure new developments come with additional parking.
The works will also seek to improve capacity for active travel, with better, clearer and wider footpaths to connect to light rail on nearby Northbourne Avenue, and the installation of more bike racks.
Mr Barr said the ACT Government’s beautification projects would be the catalyst for more private sector investment in those precincts.
“We recognise the importance of streets like Lonsdale Street and Woolley Street to their broader communities, not just those who live in and around the street. They are destination streets for Canberrans.
“The complementary investment from the ACT Government in the public land certainly does add to both the value of the precinct, but also its attractiveness for private investment, for tourists, and for Canberrans as well.
“Whilst there isn’t an exact dollar figure on that, there is no doubt that when you see that sort of investment and renewal in a precinct, it does have an economic multiplier effect,” Mr Barr said.