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Dunedin is gearing up to shut down the heart of the city to vehicles as a series of major events loom.
From Monday, the Octagon and surrounding streets will be closed to most vehicles most of the time, to transform the area into a more pedestrian-friendly zone for more than a month.
The trial, costing $150,000, would be known as the ‘‘Octagon Experience’’, and would be similar to the trial closure used to cater for the thousands of Ed Sheeran fans who descended on the central city in 2018.
This time, the Octagon and surrounding streets will be closed at different times, timed to coincide with the NZ Masters Games, concerts by Elton John and Queen, the annual Thieves’ Alley Market Day and the Otago/Southland Pipe Band competition.
DCC principal urban designer Kathryn Ward said the trial was ‘‘not simply about closing streets to traffic’’.
‘‘It is about creating a public space that has an integrated streetscape with surrounding businesses and points of interest.”
The trial would include the addition of new furniture and trees in planter boxes, as well as poetry displays, footpath decorations and other ‘‘place-making’’ elements, to create an area ‘‘that is vibrant and engaging’’, she said.
‘‘The overall effect is creating a space that is visually appealing and helps create an atmosphere that draws people together, both residents and visitors alike.’’
The University of Otago Schools of Entrepreneurship and Sustainability will be collecting data monitoring the trial, in collaboration with local businesses and public surveys.