Ocean drive reopens to motorists

John Wilson Ocean Dr has reopened to motorists. A lone protester watched in silence as First Security operations manager Garry McLennan unlocked and removed two bollards at the St Kilda end of the windswept seaside drive at 11am yesterday.

That was the signal for the four drivers parked in single file to motor along the road, which had been closed since 2006.

First in line was Alan Waugh, in his 1970 Volkswagen Beetle.

''I used to love coming up here, park up in the sun during the winter ... I have definitely missed it.''

Alan Waugh, in his 1970 Volkswagen Beetle, was the first motorist waiting to drive on the reopened John Wilson Ocean Dr, in Dunedin, yesterday.
Alan Waugh, in his 1970 Volkswagen Beetle, was the first motorist waiting to drive on the reopened John Wilson Ocean Dr, in Dunedin, yesterday.
He planned to park in his favourite spot, near Lawyers Head, and read the Otago Daily Times while having lunch.

He also supported the Dunedin City Council's decision to limit the opening of the drive between 11am and 3pm each weekday, and to keep the speed limit to 50kmh.

''It is a good idea to stop all the boy racers doing the burnouts.''

Not supportive of the reopening was Roy Robertson, who held a placard denouncing the decision.

''They should leave it the way it was,'' he said.

First Security operations manager Garry McLennan removes bollards at the St Kilda end of the road at 11am yesterday. Photos by Stephen Jaquiery.
First Security operations manager Garry McLennan removes bollards at the St Kilda end of the road at 11am yesterday. Photos by Stephen Jaquiery.
The drive would be better left for the pleasure of cyclists and pedestrians, and closed to motorists, he added.

Collette Collett had just finished walking her dog Benson as the bollards were removed.

She enjoyed the road's peace and quiet, and would no longer walk her dog on it when it was open to motorists.

Cr Bill Acklin, who argued for the road to be reopened to vehicles, said it was important to remember the reopening was a trial that depended on motorists and pedestrians showing respect for each other.

While there was division among the council on whether the road was being reopened in a satisfactory manner, with some believing the 50kmh speed limit and lack of satisfactory separation between cars and pedestrians was not ideal, the council decided to open it in that manner in the interests of keeping down costs, he said.

Roy Robertson holds a placard denouncing the Dunedin City Council's decision to reopen the road.
Roy Robertson holds a placard denouncing the Dunedin City Council's decision to reopen the road.
The road has reopened as an interim measure, while initiatives are sought to help fund the cost of a layout that would reduce speeds to 20kmh.

If no solution is forthcoming by May 1, council staff are to report back on whether the 50kmh speed limit is appropriate, or whether an alternative is required.

Dunedin Clutha police area commander Inspector Greg Sparrow said patrolling of the road would form part of police tactical deployment and prevention measures for that area.

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

Planet pc

Yes indeed Ian it must be Planet PC. I think we already knew that after the last 8 years of crazy decisions on jwd I think the man or woman with a flag is a great idea and I know which councilors would be perfect for the job - jinty. But I think the fear of boy racers has been used as a scare tactic. I have never seen any evidence of boy racers causing that much trouble on jwd in fact they have used the open part over the last 8 years and there hasnt been any more trouble than anywhere else in the city. Time now to push for some sensible opening hours for everyone 24\7 is my choice.

JWOD

I would still like to know why the working person is being penalized by these stupid hours, these are the people who work hard pay their rates but can't use the drive. There is no fairness in this setup at all. Make Saturday an open day as well. Wake up DCC and sort it out, thank God there is an election coming up. [abridged]

What planet are these people on?

A speed-limit of 20 kM/H, as proposed long-term for John Wilson Drive? Just what planet do these people live-on? Do they consider that, if vehicles are allowed to travel at more than 18 mph, blood will spurt from the drivers' ears (a past fallacy), or that every vehicle should be preceded by a man on-foot, holding aloft a red flag? Or having failed to secure the locking-away of this public facility, in  favour of exclusive access for a favoured few, are the conditions to be imposed, to be so onerous, that motorists won't want to go there anyway? Perhaps a new city by-law, that all vehicles must be driven in reverse in both directions, might be the way to go, and then only by drivers over 90 years-of-age, accompanied by both parents? Where is it likely to end?

Twenty kilometres-per-hour seems ridiculously slow, especially when the limit for driving around road-works is 30 kM/H.  And, none of these measures will be in any way effective, if boy-racers, who brought most of this situation upon everyone in the first place, simply turn up with bolt-cutters, or whatever is required, and force their way onto the drive anyway. And there is ample evidence that the need to remove gates from their hinges, simply smash things up and other such destruction has not stood between them and their mindless 'burn-outs' in-the-past.

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