CITY of Newcastle is narrowing in on drivers parking illegally and using Laman Street as a 'rat run' to avoid traffic jams on King Street.
In response to complaints about cars speeding down the street and illegal parking outside the University of Newcastle Conservatorium, the council has put forward plans to narrow the road and put in kerb extensions near Auckland Street, which will see the street lose two car parks.
At Tuesday night's meeting, the council tabled its decision until the traffic management plan and public domain plan for the Cooks Hill area are finalised - but didn't shy away from the need to prioritise pedestrian and cyclist safety.
Greens Cr Charlotte McCabe acknowledged community concerns about losing parking, but pointed out that out of 59 submissions on the proposal, 42 were in favour of the changes.
"The project will mean the loss of two car parking spaces in order to create the road narrowing, this is to improve pedestrian connectivity, to slow traffic and to assist with pedestrian and cyclist safety," she said.
"It's also going to address illegal parking that was occurring apparently in the no stopping zones that won't be lost as a result of this.
"I can guarantee to people that this treatment has been done with a whole lot of intention and very careful consideration, and my almost certain expectation is that when the Cooks Hill traffic plan is finalised, Laman Street will have to become a quiet way in the way that we have just considered, because there is no space there."
Cr McCabe said that unless the street lost an entire side of the parking available, it made sense to transform Laman Street into a quiet way where cyclists and cars would share the lane together.
"I hear the concerns, I know it is extremely hard to park in that area, I have definitely experienced that myself but this is totally in line with our transport hierarchy where we want to prioritise active transport," she said.
"Pedestrians and bicycles, I am very happy to prioritise them over two car parks, I don't think that is too much of a concern for me."
During investigations into traffic calming treatments, the council found speed humps weren't suitable because of the noise issues it could create for the conservatorium.
Instead, it decided on road narrowing to reduce speeds and the number of cars using the street.
Community consultation on the proposal closed in September, with 42 submissions in favour of the project and 17 against, with the reduction of on-street parking the main issue for objectors.
Members of the public also suggested including a pedestrian crossing on Laman Street and Auckland Street, which will be looked at during the detailed design phase or future transport program works.
Greens Cr John Mackenzie said he felt the changes struck the best balance between competing objectives in the area.
"Again, we're in a circumstance where we have to choose treatments that best fit the circumstances that we find," he said.
"The roads are what they are, they're not making them any wider, so we have to come up with more creative ways of reducing traffic movement, accommodating safe movement for pedestrians and cyclists as well as maximising the possibilities for disability parking, short and long term parking in those key areas."
Labor deputy mayor Declan Clausen asked that the decision be tabled until other traffic and public domain plan reviews were completed, which the council supported unanimously.
It's unclear when the Laman Street plans will return to council at this stage.