Council parks two-way roading plan for city

A key component of Dunedin's Warehouse Precinct Revitalisation Plan - making Crawford and Cumberland Sts two-way - has been shelved because of its controversial nature and a lack of funding.

But city council staff say it is not vital anyway, as momentum behind the reuse of buildings in the city's historic warehouse precinct continues to grow without the roads being altered.

Road Transport Association lower South Island representative Alan Cooper was pleased to hear the proposal was off the table, even if only temporarily.

''It was a stupid idea anyway. They'd be better putting that money into doing up the buildings.''

The council will reword its plan to instead look at ''options'' for reducing the negative impacts of Crawford and Cumberland Sts, which are one-way arterial routes on either side of the warehouse district.

It had been proposed they be converted into two-way streets, with Cumberland St becoming the main arterial route through the city.

The $5.7 million changes were to have been a feature of the warehouse plan.

While $80,000 was allocated by the council towards further investigation this financial year, substantially more would have been required from the New Zealand Transport Agency to make that possible.

The council and the NZTA co-operated on an initial investigation into the feasibility of the proposal, but the NZTA signalled it did not meet criteria for funding in the current three-year national land transport programme, meaning the next step could not proceed without substantially more funding from the council.

A report that went to councillors this week said the proposal had been the most controversial aspect of the revitalisation plan.

Coupled with the inability to attract NZTA funding in the short term, the report suggested the wording of the plan be changed to consider alternatives for improving the environment in those streets instead of making the streets two-way.

The council's acting urban design team leader, Dr Glen Hazelton, said although opposition during the consultation period on the plan was limited, the proposal had attracted substantial negative feedback in the media and during the council's long-term budget process last year.

Further work on the proposal will now be delayed until after the development of the council's transport strategy, which will be consulted on later this year.

Council staff will discuss the two-waying with NZTA as part of the development of the strategy and funding set aside for the project will be carried forward.

''Rather than an abandonment of the project, this should be seen as looking at a range of options for improving the environment in Crawford and Cumberland Sts ... and an avoiding of `placing all eggs in one basket','' Dr Hazelton said.

-debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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