A PLAN to open Hunter Street Mall to traffic for the first time in almost 30 years has received widespread support from retailers, city planners and developers.They hope the addition of slow-moving traffic will attract much-needed business to the struggling retail strip.The Herald revealed last month that civic leaders were preparing to reintroduce cars to the mall, a decision that Newcastle City Council confirmed on Tuesday.It is expected that 20 kmh to 40 kmh traffic will run from east to west along the mall's paved surface, with bollards delineating pedestrian and vehicle zones.Breakaway Surf owner Jamie Lambert hopes the change will make his and other mall businesses more visible.He said although pedestrian movement was reasonable on weekdays it was quiet on weekends.Traffic could bring more people in."It would offer more exposure to the shops in the mall," he said. "Any sort of stimulus would be good."Newcastle City Centre Committee chairman Edward Duc said the long-awaited change would boost business."I just think that something had to happen," he said.The council is assessing the practicalities and cost of conversion.Council estimates from 2007 indicated that a low-cost option was about $500,000.Mr Duc said the committee would contribute money to get traffic flowing.The GPT Group planned to introduce traffic as part of its proposed $650 million redevelopment of the mall, but that project is on indefinite hold.A GPT spokesman said yesterday that council action in the meantime was positive."Anything in the interim that the council do would be welcome," he said."To get that movement back in the mall area and to add that element of security and a little bit of vibrancy in the interim is important."