Changes should reflect car culture, group says

Urban Access Dunedin chairman Alan Race says less than a quarter of Dunedin residents get to the...
Urban Access Dunedin chairman Alan Race says less than a quarter of Dunedin residents get to the city centre in ways other than a car. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Less than a quarter of people coming into Dunedin’s city centre walk, cycle or take a bus, a city centre advocacy group says.

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.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz


 

Comments

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Good work Alan and Co.
Common sense is missing from DCC thinking. It's like they spend to much on the happy juice while alternatively watching doom and gloom, then sci-fi clips, on YouTube.
I also get the impression their peer group is insular, detached from how most of us choose to live.
Private transport is key to a democratic and free society. Our geography, urban planning and population size reinforces the need.
Denying this will kill not just the CBD, but also our economy and quality of life. There is no justification for doing that.

"Less than 1% used a cycle"... Dear Lord!
Consider all the cycle lanes created, cost of traffic light additions, loss of revenue from parking and the increase in vehicle congestion... all done to satisfy 1% of Dunedin's population?! Outrageous!

It is beyond obvious that this council have placed the demands of an exceptionally small minority of cyclists ahead of the vast majority of Dunedin residents.

It is also way past time the entire council stood aside and let someone with common sense control the purse strings of this city!

I may drive to town, but that doesn't mean I want to walk and shop on the main street among a bunch of parked and moving vehicles. The main street should be for people and, at most, delivery vehicles servicing the shops.

Can I suggest Jo, that vehicles can also add to the hustle and bustle of the main street? Many times I have wandered down George street and been struck by the lack of pedestrians, cars, and other 'life' in the area. Our Scottish weather does it's best to dissuade shoppers as well!

Dunedin isn't 5th Avenue or Oxford St...We have a small population and a small shopping precinct. Removing vehicles can only add to that 'deserted' feeling. Cars aren't the enemy, they bring life to our city.

And death, notably on Gt King Street.

That's YOUR opinion! What about the disabled and the elderly, Jo? You think they should have to walk to the shops on main street? What idiotic comments! Everybody has to conform to Jo's wants and desires. I guess you'll be ecstatic to stroll along the main street when the majority of shops are empty. Closed because of the economy. People like yourself are focused on being green regardless of the cost! There has to be a balance between what zelots like you want with the fiscal costs society can afford. None from the lunatic fringe seem to realise that. You all would rather be hungry, cold and poor rather than compromise.

I'm sick and tired of hearing about car-less CBD and "the best election system possible". It's all rubbish! We need to put the most qualified people in office. If you want to park in South Dunedin and walk to the CBD to shop - go for it! But don't force your ignorance and stupidity on everybody else. Convenience is what people are looking for with a little compromise. Nobody wants the rubbish your pushing!

Hey Jo, where in the CBD are you shopping? The CBD is maybe 500 meters long. To be quite honest, it's pretty ratty with marginal shopping and heaps of closed stores. I'm trying to figure out exactly where it is that you are shopping because I'd like to shop there too!
Where did you get the idea that the main street should be mainly for people and delivery vehicles servicing the shops? That may be your idea, but I guarantee you that's not the ideology of most shop owners. They rely on turnover. So the further the parking is away from the shops, the longer it takes for turnover.
Most people refuse or avoid any business that does not have easily accessible parking - regardless of how amazing the business may be. It is not worth the time and frustration looking for parking, when I’m able to spending my money and time elsewhere. Parking is necessary whenever you’re looking to start a business, with a brick and mortar location relying on providing a product or service that requires the customer to physically complete the transaction at your location. Only an idiot would think otherwise. Appreciate you thoughts and opinions Jo - too bad that they aren't very informed!

In order to have a successful business, it is essential to find a location that is equipped with enough parking to accommodate customers and employees. How does your plan do that? It doesn't! You have no idea what you are talking about. Online shops have now emerged as increasingly direct competitors to brick and mortar stores. As far as convenience is concerned, it is difficult to beat the ease of shopping via smartphone, tablet or notebook. So your plan to revitalise the CBD is to make parking even more difficult? People like yourself are part of the problem! We need to help businesses in the CBD and limiting parking doesn't do that! Do us all a favour, don't drive to town and shop! You're not helping the retailers survive in this economy!

Ah but you see Urban Access Dunedin just don't understand. The Greens know that any day now Dunedin will transform from a cold hilly place into a flat sunbaked mecca of cyclists. Dunedin must be prepared with most roads converted to bike, scooter and pedestrian use for the day when the hills disappear. Any day now, just get ready. You can hold your breath if you like, that might speed up the process.

And besides that the greens firmly believe that people need to be converted from car fans to bikers. Cars need to be made as expensive and difficult to use as possible. Mind you, I'm not sure how the mayor is going to get to work if his neighbours opt out of cars. Double dink on someones handlebars maybe?

Alan Race for Mayor!!! For or against pedestrianisation it is hard to argue with the facts and conclusions presented by Mr Race.

Good work Alan. Will be interesting to see if the planning wizards actually acknowledge and act on your survey.
It would appear common sense to survey the population to get an idea of what is required and what is the best area to spend ratepayer money.
Oh, I see where it has gone wrong.........no common sense within the DCC.
Now, about those millions spent on cycleways for 1% of the communting traffic........yet scooters have free access to use and park on the footpaths! Lol, what a mess DCC.

Yesterday’s man promoting yesterday’s ideas. The future is not car culture...!

Dunedin in particular, let alone most of NZ, you would be VERY hard pressed to convert the population from their cars. For the foreseeable future, the car shall indeed rule the roads. The backlash isn't worth the headache nor the careers of our community leaders nor any government. People do not have the desire to change how they experience their freedom. It would be a VERY brave council to tamper with that idealism. A change will be at least two generations away. It certainly won't happen overnight.

And nowhere in this article and subsequent comments are motorcycles and motorised scooters mentioned. Arguably the most efficient and least polluting of any of the motorised options for single person travel. Interesting to note that in the UK, motorcycle and scooter sales are 41.9% up on the same period last year (Motorcycle News [a UK motorcycle weekly] August 5th 2020) with the reason undoubtedly being COVID-19. After all, a motorcycle/scooter is surely the most socially distanced motorised transport mode there is? While the world is in the grip of a highly infectious pandemic, in Dunedin, Hawkins and Co are trying to force as many people as possible to pack into buses like sardines. Most forward-thinking cities promote motorcycle use to minimise emissions and congestion, but in NZ motorcycling is actively discouraged by punitive ACC fees and poor city planning and road maintenance that ignores the needs of motorcyclists. Unlike pushbikes (and even e-bikes) Dunedin's hills are not a problem for motorcycles and scooters. A far better option than a pushbike. But not even the merest mention when it comes to debate on the city's transport modes.

Robbie, drivers are so distracted by their devices and their in car technologies that I am almost too nervous to ride my motorcycles anymore. I'm sure many others feel the same. And yes, ACC is very punative. Then I see scooter riders in jandals, and Harley riders in shorts and sneakers and can see exactly what the problem is.
As for cycling, I gave that up due to the attitude of drivers. No matter how hard I hugged the kerb, the close calls and occasional verbal abuse were too much to risk for the sake of getting to work. As for the wee Honda CT110, again, driver attitude and a fear of being struck from behind by a distracted driver at the lights has put me off. So, for me, it's back to my car.

The survey was taken in a single location attached to a large carpark offering an hour's free parking, during the school holidays. This is hardly going to produce an unbiased estimate of normal travel...

Yes, however I think what we need to take from this is the fact that a survey was actually implemented. The DCC could have done this, covering a wider sector of the city and then been able to guage exactly how people are travelling.
Statistically, even though the sample is small, I think you will find a similar percentile in the breakdown.

re Hill. How many and what circumstances? Driver to blame; pedestrian at fault; traffic management at fault? What speed involved? These are the factors we need to know. At the moment it seems like DCC has taken the line of cars=speed=accident without looking at reality.

There is no logic from DCC. And we all know what rolls down Hill!

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