Nod for John Wilson Ocean Dr compromise

Those on either side of the debate about whether John Wilson Ocean Dr should be reopened to vehicles largely begrudgingly accept the compromise the council is proposing. 

But no-one is holding their breath about when it will happen.

Dunedin city councillors decided on Monday to go with an option in which the road would be resealed after six years' closure and split into a 5m-wide road - open to vehicles weekdays between 11am and 3pm - and a 4m-wide pedestrian path.

The two would be separated by a concrete kerb and intermittent planted islands.

But a speed limit is yet to be decided, and the $160,000 cost could increase if further work is needed on the road to slow vehicles down.

Those who wanted the road reopened said while they were not "ecstatic" about the plan, they would accept it if it meant they could drive up the road again.

Joan Mann, who spearheaded a 2011 petition signed by 1357 people who wanted the road reopened to vehicles, said she was not totally happy about the plan, particularly its lack of parking, which, she said, was what most people did - drove along and parked up for a while to enjoy the view - but she would "live with it" if it meant the road opened again.

Still, she was not confident the decision would stick.

"I'm not so sure at all. They [the council] do seem to change their minds a bit."

Joan MannWhen the work will be done depends on a decision to be taken in December on what speed limit councillors prefer. It stands at 50kmh under the current plan, but if councillors want to reduce it to 20kmh, as per a recommendation from the speed limits bylaw hearings subcommittee, a fundamental design change could be required, including the installation of more traffic-calming measures, to keep speeds down.

That has several potential fishhooks for councillors, including that it could cost more, and the cheapest option for keeping speeds down could be unfavoured speed humps.

Mrs Mann said she was not worried about the speed limit, and could deal with speed humps if the road would just be opened.

AA Otago chairman Jeff Donaldson said while it was a compromise, AA's members would be pleased to once again have vehicle access, and sooner rather than later.

However, open-road supporter Dave Crooks did not support the change without any parking, and said a compromise where the bollards were moved back 500m towards Lawyers Head would have been better.

"I just hope it gets to be open in my lifetime."

Gerrard Liddell, from the John Wilson Promenaders, said the group would continue to argue for keeping the area as a promenade, because there was no other area like it Dunedin, while drivers had plenty of other places to go.

The decision would basically change the area into a road and footpath, he said.

"If you want to walk with cars beside you, you already have ample opportunity in Dunedin."

Wheelchair user Ken McIntosh, who preferred the road remained closed, said the separate pedestrian zone should be adequate, although he would feel safer using it if the speed of traffic on the road was kept down to 20kmh.

However, he thought the amount of money being spent to do the work was "completely stupid", when leaving it as it was would cost nothing.

He did not have a lot of confidence it would actually happen either.

"The chance of them changing their minds before it is put to bed is highly likely."

Dunedin police yesterday had no comment on what they said was the council's decision to make.

Police have supported the road's continued closure as a method to reduce the number of deaths in the area.





Trippy: From your reply, It appears that you assume I am one of the drag racing speed freaks. You have assumed this I presume from my non de plume and you have assumed wrong.  Truth is I'm an invalid in my fifties and have no intention and little ability to walk the drive. Also, Dunedin's weather is a stopping block for a lot of elderly/disabled to walk it on most days of the year. In reference to the drag racing, this may have happened in the past but most likely after dark when few if any others are up there. In my opinion, it's better for the boy racers to be mucking around there where they cause little trouble to residents than have them elsewhere in built up areas. At the end of the day they will be somewhere, maybe you street would suit?

Some further points

The Council are going to spend $160,000 that it must take from another budget area to reopen the reserve for vehicles. That means other roading projects and maintenance around the city will no longer be undertaken to pay for JWD. 
As for the notion that vehicle users are the majority, the various consultation phases of this issue showed that opinion was evenly split.

Open to all?

Open to all as long as you don't work or anything stupid like that, What a joke, and what a slap in the face for those working to pay their rates

Let's deal with realistic likelihoods

When you are within earshot of people wearing Muslim garb (well women, anyway), who are dark-skinned, speak an unfamiliar language, wear clothing which appears unlikely to have been purchased locally, and alight from what looked very much like a hire car, in that it was a model commonly used for such purposes, I think that a realistic likelihood of their normal residence being in our 'neck of the woods', could pretty well be discounted. Don't you agree?
As for the intentions of the parents and young lady in question; she made pitiable progress in the direction she was heading, and seemed in some pain on her return to the car, something which seems unlikely, if her intention had been to take no steps at all. And, seriously, you and I must both realise that she never entertained any realistic expectation of being able to the far end of John Wilson Drive, but good on her for giving it a go.
So, I stand behind everything I have written. Islamic people, are commonplace in our society these days, and hardly rate a second glance. It's inevitable that a few will have residency in this country. The boys seemed to enjoy their walk, but so what?
I have defended my view from the outset that John Wilson Drive was given to the people of Dunedin as a whole, not to niche groups. And, cars or not, I have obtained quite a bit of enjoyment walking it under both circumstances. To me, the cars of which much has been made have always been a non-issue. Most drivers drove at entirely appropriate speeds. [Abridged]



The fact of the matter is they are going to open the drive to vehicle access - a victory for the majority and democracy.

More 'facts'

@Speedfreak43: You're still capable of using it.  Nothing is stopping you from getting out of your car.  It's still available to all for use. The problem arises if residents try and use it when self proclaimed speed freaks insist on drag racing each other up and down it.

@Ian Smith: Being an "Accurate observation recounted truthfully" does not preclude your assertions from being an emotional tirade, nor does it preclude you from relaying it "for effect".

The two boys made the full trip, both ways?  That's nice.  That still tells you nothing about the intentions of the parents of the young lady, or the desires of the young lady herself.  It also doesn't tell you whether or not the two boys would have enjoyed it more or less had they not been able to go for a walk (or a run).  The last time I was there it was definitely busier than you describe.

I find this comment: "The people were obviously vsitors to our city, because both women wore traditional Muslim headgear" interesting. Why do you assume that traditional Muslim headgear = Visitor to this city?  I met a nurse the other day at DPH, born and bred in NZ who converted to Islam and wore "traditional muslim headgear".  I also met an Afghani family who have been in Dunedin a number of years, some of whom wore "traditional Muslim headgear". Perhaps you should re-examine your assumptions.


JW Drive

I was not aware that the drive was closed to any person, it is just closed to motor vehicles, thus no one has their access denied. 

Call it whatever you like

Trippy. Doesn't change the fact that as Ian said, It was gifted to all and as such all should have unlimited access to it. The only reason it remains shut is due to the minority that want to do this and that with it and our bumbling council yet again unable to make the right call on it.

All I want is for it to be fully opened so that all can use it and at the least possible cost to the already struggling ratepayers. Please explain to me why the ratepayers should be lumped with a hundred odd thousand dollar bill to accomadate the minority when all that is required is for the bollards to be removed to allow access to all?

No 'emotional tirade'

Because I go for a walk, daily, I went three times and walked the length of John Wilson Drive in recent times. The incident of the young lady is not fictitious, or 'for effect', it was an accurate observation, recounted truthfully. The people were obviously vsitors to our city, because both women wore traditional Muslim headgear. I also walked to the end of the drive, and back, and on the way I overtook or passed the two lads, and they made the full trip both-ways, so it was hardly necessary for me to ask them if that had been their intention.

I did hear several 'tirades' that day, and was on the receiving end of most of them, the most memorable arose out of a conversation with a gentleman who was vociferously 'anti-car', another was from a lady who maintained, 'of course it's for us and our dogs'. But what I was interested in, above all was the claimed 'heavy-use'. It was in the early afternoon of beautiful spring day, and the claimed dozens of walkers, whom it had been claimed would be incommoded by allowing cars onto the drive, consisted of self and one group of three or four, away down near the far end of the drive, although admittedly, by the time of my return, I had passed two or three groups of one or two or individuals going the other way.




Having said that, arguably under the definition of a road in NZ law, the fact that it is closed means that it is no longer considered a road - another mark against your circular argument.

Facts versus 'facts'


As it happens, yes.  In New Zealand, the legal definition of a road is so broad that it includes beaches, bridges, wharves, riverbeds, and the road shoulder.  So that argument does you no favours.

Oh yeah, it also includes carparks, something that people seem to forget when they go to the supermarket.

@Ian Smith:
Your entire emotional tirade is predicated on the assumption that any member in that family had the intention to reach Lawyers Head.  Tell me, did you stop them and ask them?

'Infirmity Card'

Having some experience of the value of scenic drives for the very elderly and frail, it's my opinion that the so-called 'infirmity card' gets 'trotted out' because it should get trotted out. It's a very valid argument for keeping the road open to vehicles and the occupants out of the cold.

If you want another authentic experience...

...and you want to play the infirmity card: it's a hell of a lot more fun wheeling people along there without us having to worry about the cars clipping wheelchairs.

The whole infirmity argument gets trotted out at every available opportunity to let cars onto the drive, the wheelchair users I know want it to stay closed so they can enjoy an easily accessible outdoor coastal space. So take from that what you will. 

Ok Trippy, It's a road

Do you usually walk on the road?

The John Wilson compromise

Firstly, it's not a compromise; it's either a take-over or a capitulation by a spineless council, to the customary 'most noise', from the usual empty vessels. Why? Simply because, the drive will only be open to motor vehicles, at times the council knows very well the fewest people will wish to drive to its end, and back-again. This magnanimous gesture, on their part, is a back-down, and a capitulation to those who think their dog-walking and other rights, over-ride the rights of the community as a whole.

The Drive was not given to canine-owners, cyclists and kids on pink plastic trikes; it was given to the people of Dunedin, as a recreational  resource to use in the manner of their choosing, and no action of the greater majority of motorists, much diminishes the experience of walking-it, which I have done several times, to try and ascertain, for myself, what all the fuss is about. However, with vehicle owners having been 'temporarily' excluded, a small and selfish handful of people, who think their niche interests over-ride the rights of Dunedin's people as a whole, seem determined to fight, tooth and nail for the status quo.


Consider this

To all of you out there, who think that John Wilson Drive exists only to cater for your various niche interests, and no-one else, think about this, an authentic case. I went to the drive one fine day about 18 months ago. As I walked towards the barrier, I saw a young girl, aged about 18 or so  being assisted from a car. She had a huge impediment, due it appeared to some malformation of her spine, in that she could barely walk, yet, with patience, her parents assisted her passage a short way along the drive, while her brothers bolted away ahead, and looked back in some impatience.

She only made about fifty metres, then the effort, for her, was simply too much. Her father assisted her back to the car, and remained with her, I would assume, until the return of the rest of the party.

Now, try and convince me, that this young lady had less right to enjoy the view from the end of the drive, than your dog.  


John Wilson drive compromise

It is a certain thing that there are people in Dunedin who would like to go to the end of the drive but are not up to the task of walking from the start to the end near Lawyer's Head and then back to the start. The option of driving means the less able can walk as far as they are able and then be picked up by a driver that accompanied them.

JW Walk

From today's ODT: Another panelist, Prof Winston Byblow, director of the Movement Science Laboratory at Auckland University, strongly emphasised the value of regular physical exercise in maintaining brain health.

Studies had shown the protective benefits of such exercise, such as walking for about 35 minutes a day, he said.

If the same benefits could be gained by taking a pill, people would take it, but many remained loath to do the exercise because this was still regarded as a "four-letter word", he joked. 


The argument that it should be re-opened fully to vehicles because it's called a "Drive" is as inane as it is boring and circular.

It has been pointed out elsewhere that the land JWOD is on is recreational reserve (like the Botanic Gardens), not road reserve, so let's use it as it was clearly intended to be used - NOT as a road.


It would cost less to keep it closed. That way we wouldn't have to pay to reseal it for those who want to drive their cars on it. But don't let the facts get in the way of a good argument.


Snoot: What is it you don't understand about the word road/drive? They are made fo vehicular access, not walking.

And so we should

It's not called a drive for nothing. I wouldn't call it a win as such, as due to you lot that want it kept shut (the minority) it's going to cost us all in increased rates for the council to change things. I hope your'e happy with that.
In my view, nothing needs to be spent. The road just needs to be reopened at no cost and without any so-called improvements, then it could be enjoyed by all. And FYI, there is only currently about a quarter of it open to traffic.
And those of you that park by the bollards, please park elsewhere, as parking there in the non-existant turnaround doesnt help anyone other than yourselves. Oh, that's right, the turnaround is right at the end of the drive that we cant get to.

JW Drive

So the lazy blighters win again!  They already have half the drive to sit in their cars, smoke and eat junk food, now they get the rest.  They need the walk, not the drive.


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