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The Otago Regional Council has unveiled its long-awaited central Dunedin bus hub plans and is seeking community feedback.
The bus hub, also termed the "bus interchange", is, as previously signalled, in Great King St, near the central police station. It includes five parking bays on each side of the street.
New, more advanced bus shelters will also be provided, and, eventually, "real time" electronic displays will show when buses will actually arrive.
The size and style of bus shelters are partly dependent on public feedback, and also on any negotiations required with owners of nearby land, to be undertaken early next year.
It is also proposed to use paints or other coloured materials, including on part of the street, to give the hub area a more lively appearance.
The hub is a key part of a $3million transport project, including "super stops". Most or all the 38 car parks on both sides of Great King St between Moray Pl and St Andrew St will be replaced by the bus bays.
The bus hub development is part of wider Dunedin transport changes, guided by the council’s Regional Public Transport Plan, designed to provide swifter, more direct bus transport.
The council aims to boost bus patronage and in turn help reduce overall traffic congestion and associated pollution.
The first key transport change occurred on July 1 last year when a more direct "southern routes" service was introduced, providing an express bus service to central Dunedin, via a Green Island "super stop". This move brought benefits for some bus users but sparked criticism from others, including the Greater Green Island Community Network, which called for direct links between Green Island and South Dunedin to be restored.
Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said the council was keen for peopleto have input into its layout and design.
He hoped that manywould "come and chat to our transport team" at a series of planned drop-in sessions at the Dunedin Civic Centre lobby, starting tomorrow. These "drop-in" feedback sessions will run from 10am to 2pm every day until next Monday, except for this Thursday’s session (2pm to 6pm).
Proposed hub details and images will be exhibited in the lobby from tomorrow until next Monday, with a simulated "drive-through" display. Further information will also be available online from tomorrow at www.orc.govt.nz/bushub, and there is an online feedback form.
Consultation ends on December 24.The bus bays will be created through raised kerb "build-outs" into the street. Entry to the Dunedin Community House car park, at the corner of Moray Pl and Great King St, will switch to Moray Pl, with the Great King St entry closed.
Bus shelter design options provide views of oncoming buses, and some larger options provide for a coffee kiosk in part of the shelter, where hot drinks will be available.
A warm waiting area, and cycle storage facilities are among a host of possible options. ORC manager, support services, Gerard Collings, said having 12 bus bays in the block was initially proposed, but simulation work, including off-site trialling, showed resulting "conflict" between traffic, with some buses crossing the centre line and some car drivers facing potential visibility issues.
It was at present "really hard" for bus users to grasp how to access connecting services.