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Government agencies and stakeholders met yesterday in a closed meeting to consider designing a transport network that will work around the new Dunedin Hospital.
Construction of the hospital is expected to begin in late 2020, ending in mid-2026.
NZ Transport Agency regional relationships director Jim Harland said work on its design was advancing rapidly, and the city needed to be in a position to respond to proposed changes to the transport network next year.
Yesterday's meeting was organised by the NZTA and the Dunedin City Council, and included the University of Otago, Otago Regional Council, Port Otago and the Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Harland said the new hospital had ''challenged all of us to think about the transport network and how it can support not just the hospital but broader liveability and city aspirations''.
Under the new government policy statement, the NZTA had to ''seriously look at mode neutral planning, which means having walking, cycling, public transport and cars all on equal footing''.
That meant there was a focus on what could be done differently, including ''considering the future functionality of the one-way system and how that might fit in with the walking-cycling connections and all of the other bits in between''.
Asked if that meant a rethink of roading where cycleways were still being built, Mr Harland said the period from planning to completion of the hospital would take years.
''We can't leave safety issues for that long.''
It was not unusual to build safety mechanisms like the cycle lane for a short period.
A clip-on walk-cycleway had been put in place on a West Coast bridge for just two or three years, before a new bridge was built.
Concrete blocks used to separate cycle lanes from traffic in Dunedin could be moved and re-used in any new configuration, and there were ''many years of safety benefits in the meantime''.
To Dunedin people getting tired of a city often blocked by road cones, and facing more in future, Mr Harland said he could assure them a key component of construction would be doing it with as little disruption as possible.
He said while the meeting yesterday and today was closed to the public, the NZTA was working on public input, and he expected public meetings and social media campaigns next year.
City council chief executive Sue Bidrose said for the council the hospital was the catalyst for the work in terms of timing, but not the cause.
''The main thing we're interested in is ensuring the CBD functions really well for people to come into town.''
Dr Bidrose said it would be important for people to get to and from the new hospital, park at the hospital and the university, and be able to travel on and change buses.
''We know people care about parking.''
The council planned to do ''pretty good, widespread communication on what people who use the system think''.
''That will all happen in coming months. This is just the really early kicking-off of the process.''
Southern Partnership Group chairman Pete Hodgson said there was a strong desire for safe and logical connections between the city and the hospital.
''We are working to a tight schedule, but this effort gives us a chance to enhance the whole area.''