John Wilson Ocean Dr. Photo by ODT.
After years of going around in circles, the Dunedin City
Council yesterday decided to reopen John Wilson Ocean Dr to
The road will be opened to vehicles between 11am and 3pm
weekdays from early next year. It will be resealed and have
road marking added before being reopened.
The speed limit will be 50kmh.
Mayor Dave Cull who proposed the idea, said it was a
temporary measure until money was raised to install the
layout required for the intended permanent solution - of
reducing the speed limit to 20kmh and separating pedestrians
and cyclists from vehicles.
It was a compromise, he said, that at least could be accepted
by pedestrians and motorists and would not cost the council
much more than already budgeted for this year.
The compromise solution did reveal some indecision remained
After a resolution was passed that the goal was to reduce the
vehicle speed limit to 20kmh, another was passed agreeing the
limit could remain at 50kmh if the interim arrangement was
found to be working satisfactorily after the first few
The road has been mostly closed since 2006, when it was shut
while the Tahuna outfall pipe was installed.
It remained closed afterwards while councillors decided on
the safest way to reopen it.
It was reopened to vehicles during weekday daylight hours in
2009, but closed again two weeks later after a death in the
vicinity, and has since become increasingly popular as a
Mr Cull said about $71,700 was already budgeted for the
project and an extra $8300 would have to be found from
The alternative was to spend up to $100,000 to install enough
traffic calming and pedestrian protection measures to keep
speeds to 20kmh.
''[The interim option] maintains the integrity of the current
budget, but still attains the objective the council wants to
The road would be open to cars by February or March.
Cr Paul Hudson said the speed limit should be 20kmh from the
outset, but council senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema
responded it was unlikely cars would stick to it without
traffic calming measures.
Although councillors could legally set any speed limit they
wanted, under land transport rules they were required to put
in measures that kept mean traffic speeds within 5kmh of the
Of the 14 councillors present, five voted against the interim
measure, eight for it, and one, Cr Jinty MacTavish, abstained
because she did not think 50kmh was an appropriate speed.
An advocate for reopening the road to vehicles, Joan Mann,
yesterday said she felt ''exhausted'' after the decision was
Although not altogether confident that it would actually
happen, after years of ''dithering'', she was happy with the
compromise and would be ''down there lining up on the first
John Wilson Promenaders organiser Gerard Liddell said last
night the decision was a ''great disappointment'' that would
result in the loss of Dunedin's only promenade.
''It's the only wide, proper walkway that you would recognise
The 50kmh speed limit along the road also raised potential
safety issues and would have to be ''monitored very
carefully'', he added.