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Urban Access Dunedin chairman Alan Race said changes to city streets should acknowledge New Zealand’s car culture and the fact it would require a ‘‘massive shift in attitude’’ to change.
‘‘There is something fundamentally wrong if there is a view to limiting the number of cars coming into the city by making it difficult for people to visit.
‘‘Now I’m not saying that’s what the city council is doing, but it’s the impression that some people have.
‘‘If you make it difficult — so there’s not a lot of parking available — people can’t get a park so they’ll have to figure some other way of getting in; well, they won’t.’’
Mr Race and several members of his group surveyed 1119 people at the Golden Centre in George St over four days during the school holidays in mid-July to understand how people got to the city centre.
Respondents showed a strong preference for private vehicles, 76% saying that was how they came to the city centre, Mr Race said.
Nearly six out of 10 (59%) said they would not take the bus, saying they were not simply planning a one-way in, one-way out journey, they wanted a flexible travel timetable, or the bus stops were too far from home.
Less than 1% used a cycle, scooter or skateboard, 12% walked into town and 12% used the bus.
Redevelopment plans for George St, now on hold pending a review, include plans to reconfigure the street to 25% vehicles and 75% pedestrians and public space.
Mr Race said city planning focused on individual outcomes and appeared ad hoc as the city lacked a cohesive long-term vision.
‘‘If the city adopted a plan to build for the future, Vision 2050 for example, then all aspects of Dunedin’s transport and mobility planning over the next 30 years should be aligned to this vision, including the future location of State Highway 1,’’ he said.
Dunedin City Council acting city services general manager Robert West said the council was aware of the survey and its results, which were discussed at a recent meeting of the group brought together to advise the council on the future design of George St.
‘‘The Central City Advisory Group will be considering information from a variety of sources as it continues its work over the coming months.’’
The council was progressing several initiatives to shape the future of the city, including the Central City Plan, which aimed to guide the development of the central city over the next 10-15 years, he said.
Urbanismplus director Kobus Mentz has been engaged by the council to review its George St plans to make sure they are fit for purpose. That work is expected to be done by next month.
Urban Access Dunedin is a group of retired and current business people and academics that advocate for access to the central city.
Mr Race is a former AA district council chairman.