You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The Dunedin City Council voted to endorse the preliminary design for a multimillion-dollar upgrade of George St yesterday.
Changes include restricting traffic to one-way travelling south between Frederick St and Moray Pl, installing a counter-flow cycle/scooter lane and a paved carriageway between Hanover and St Andrew Sts, where cyclists and pedestrians would have priority over motorists.
Parklets, native trees and plants, street furniture, public art and cultural messaging would be placed along the street to make the area a more attractive place to visit.
The plan coincides with a major upgrade of the infrastructure beneath the street.
Several councillors questioned staff about the loss of car parking spaces.
Council transport group manager Richard Saunders said staff were aware of the need for parking and would investigate how to better use more than 3000 spaces in the surrounding streets.
There were also some very wide streets in the city which could be better utilised, such as using angle or 90deg parking, Mr Saunders said.
Questions were also raised about the impact on retailers.
Council principal urban designer Kathryn Ward said it was understandable retailers were concerned and change could be a challenge for smaller and independent retailers but the preliminary design was only the start of the conversation.
''We believe providing a specifically enhanced public space will attract people to the centre of the city and increasing footfall means more people in the street spending money,'' she said.
Physical work on the street was not expected to start until 2021 and would overlap with the start of the Dunedin Hospital rebuild project.
Cr Mike Lord worried the plan might turn Dunedin into a ''30-minute city'' if not done properly but supported the design, which he said could have been more pedestrian-friendly.
''If I come to the main street I'm looking for a shirt and meeting somebody for a meal or a coffee, so I can support this and to be absolutely honest, I think it could have gone further.''
Cr Lee Vandervis said he agreed with other councillors who said George St was the best main street in New Zealand, which begged the question why the council wanted to spend millions of dollars to change it.
''Where does the arrogance come from that you can tell the businesses of this city that they won't be hurt, when they do this for a living and that's what their whole professional experience is,'' Cr Vandervis said.
Cr Aaron Hawkins said his comments showed his ''extraordinary arrogance'' and the proposal was by no means radical.
Cr Marie Laufiso said the plans would make the street not just more accessible for pedestrians but also for local mana whenua.
''Mana whenua have constantly told us they're not being reflected in the heart of the city and this design remedies that somewhat.''
Councillors voted 12-1 to endorse the design. Only Cr Vandervis voted against it.
Mayor Dave Cull and deputy mayor Chris Staynes were not at the meeting.