No-cars Octagon possible

Aaron Hawkins
Aaron Hawkins
A pedestrian-only zone in Dunedin's city centre could be a step closer to reality.

The Dunedin City Council is backing more pedestrian trials in the Octagon and lower Stuart St following the success of the Ed Sheeran weekend.

During a meeting of the Dunedin City Council's planning and environment committee yesterday, councillors voted to support an amendment proposed by Cr Aaron Hawkins supporting further trials in the area and including $150,000 in the draft 10-year plan to support the trials for the next two years.

A report on the public's response to the five-day pedestrian-only trial of the area during Easter weekend was also presented.

More than 90% of the 550 people surveyed, both by independent contractors during the weekend and online, rated the experience positive.

Online feedback on the trial is open until April 30 but so far more than 90% have supported a permanent or occasional pedestrianised Octagon.

Mayor Dave Cull said the survey showed residents supported a more pedestrian-friendly city centre and councillors should ''nail their colours to the post'' to show their support.

The Ed Sheeran weekend was a watershed moment for the city and the council now needed to look at ways it could build on the success, Mr Cull said.

But Cr Lee Vandervis said he feared the trials would be the thin edge of the wedge for further pedestrianisation of the city, which the public did not support.

''There's no need to pluck $75,000 a year out of ratepayers' pockets for certain councillors to push their pedestrianisation agenda.''

It was unreasonable to think the council could vote to remove vehicles from parts of the city centre, he said.

Cr Damian Newell said making the Octagon car-free was something the council could do and should do as soon as possible.

Cr Mike Lord said while he agreed the council should support further trials, he could not support allocating money ''out of nowhere'' to support the trials.

Cr David Benson Pope said, based on the survey results, it was difficult to say the trial was not supported by the community.

''The key thing about a trial is that, if it doesn't work, then you don't do it again,'' he said.

Cr Vandervis voted against the council's support for the trials and he and Cr Mike Lord voted against the allocation of the $75,000 to support the trial.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

Comments

Done correctly yes Lower Octagon only with Trade / Courier / Delivery / Fire / Ambulances Vehicles access only. Access granted via, using road barrier hydraulic controlled at a couple of access points for public safety none of this left open for who ever. Upper Octagon kept for traffic as it is, Centre road kept as is. Lower Octagon Roofed to current buildings via steal beams to protect people from the cold weather and rain, like China town in Singapore. - a Couple of small coffee shops / news agent type built in Centre of the lower Octagon.

Closing the Octagon to vehicles for special occasions is tolerable, but permanent closure would result in protest action by people viewing it as usurping of rights of access.

Not if that protest action involved walking so no worries there hehe

Don't trial DO IT!

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