No problem with interim road set-up

Reopening vehicle access to John Wilson Ocean Dr has gone well so far, Dunedin City Council staff say.

Vehicles are averaging about 40kmh on the road and only one complaint has been received.

The interim arrangement of a 50kmh speed limit on the road, which is open to vehicles between 11am and 3pm on weekdays, was to run while community funding and support was sought to help fund the cost of a layout that would reduce speeds to 20kmh.

The original recommendation was that if a solution had not been found by May 1, council staff were to report back on whether the 50kmh speed limit was appropriate.

Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said this week no community funding had been forthcoming and staff would report to the next full council meeting on the interim arrangements. She said roading staff tested speeds on the road in February and found the average vehicle speed was about 40kmh.

They had received no complaints about the road.

She received one complaint in the first week the road was opened from a tour-bus driver who said the road closed too early.

Security staff had had minor problems with people parking behind the bollards, leaving their vehicles and not returning before closing time.

The council did have the power to fine people, but she hoped more signs would mean it would not have to resort to that, she said.

Joan Mann, who lobbied for the road to be reopened to vehicles after several years' closure following the installation of a wastewater outfall pipe, has made a submission on the council's draft annual plan for 2013-14, praising the arrangement.

''There have been years of debate on this matter, and many, many, submissions, letters, complaints, accusations, and contradictory statements. But, now that it is open, I have not seen or heard anything to show that it has been the wrong move,'' Mrs Mann said in her submission, to which she will speak at the council's hearings next week.

And, she said, it seemed to work for everyone who wanted access to the seaside road.

''I notice that, now the sky hasn't fallen down, pedestrians are starting to come back to the drive during the 'open' hours.''

She thanked the council for reopening the road.

''It is impossible to say in mere words how happy you have made me, my husband and, judging by the numbers of vehicles using the drive, hundreds of others.''

Two other submissions asked that the road be opened at the weekend.

Gerrard Liddell, of the John Wilson Promenaders, who were opposed to the road being reopened to vehicles, has not made a submission, and could not be contacted.

- debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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