Dunedin is lucky an intoxicated pedestrian has not been
seriously injured by a vehicle in the inner city, police say.
Police have backed a proposed pedestrian-only zone in the
The endorsement follows the Dunedin City Council confirming
this month it would investigate a trial of the concept.
Inspector Mel Aitken, the Dunedin, Clutha and Waitaki area
prevention manager, said the move would ''help keep people
safe and eliminate some of the risks with vehicles and
''We are probably lucky we haven't [had a serious accident],
but it is about eliminating that risk and making the area a
feel-good place to be.''
A pedestrian-only zone in the heart of the city, near the
majority of licensed premises, made ''good sense in terms of
reducing risk with intoxicated people and traffic negotiating
the road at the same time''.
Police had rostered officers to the Octagon on Friday and
Saturday nights during the past few years, she said.
''Through that process, we have identified some of the issues
and risks of vehicles travelling around the lower Octagon -
people stepping out on the roads and just the potential for
In 2011, police investigated the concept of a pedestrian-only
zone in the lower Octagon.
''We were very keen on taking it further, but for a number of
reasons it did not progress.''
Insp Aitken said police had offered support for the project
to council staff.
St John Otago territory manager Doug Third said the ambulance
service supported police, with the area ''a very busy place
for us on a Friday/Saturday night''.
The idea for the pedestrian zone came from University of
Otago students Alexis Belton and Georgina Hampton, who
presented their plan backed by a 36-page proposal during a
council submissions hearing earlier this month.