One and two-way options for new look George St

Concepts for the redevelopment of George St, Dunedin, would result in it being much-changed from...
Concepts for the redevelopment of George St, Dunedin, would result in it being much-changed from its current appearance. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
More space for pedestrians, play equipment, street furniture and bike parks could be favoured in a new-look George St, Dunedin.

Car movement will no longer be the primary function of the city’s main shopping street, unless city councillors make a surprise call to back a "do-minimum" approach.

Whether councillors retain two-way traffic or opt for a one-way design, motorists can expect "an intentional level of ambiguity so that drivers proceed with caution and at slow speeds".

If they keep faith with their previous instinct for a one-way design, the change will not easily be reversed.

The flexibility promoted by urban consultant Kobus Mentz — two-way traffic but with the flexibility to change to one-way, or vice versa — looks headed for the dustbin.

Dunedin city councillors are to debate on Tuesday a detailed business case for the redevelopment of George St and weigh up the merits of four options.

Three of them would limit traffic to a speed limit of 10kmh — one-way north, one-way south and a two-way design that would promote pedestrian activity.

A 30kmh speed limit would apply for the alternative do-minimum approach, in which underground pipe work would go ahead, but the street would look much the same as now.

The do-minimum option would amount to an abandonment of a George St revamp.

"The last major upgrade in the central city was more than 30 years ago, meaning the paving, lighting and other furniture is now dated and deteriorating quickly," the detailed business case states in its executive summary.

"The overall look and feel is tired ... [and the area] has not kept pace with changes in how people move around and want to use the city today."

"Activity zones" are promoted in the upgrade options.

"The activity zone contributes to enhancing the public realm, as it allows space for street furniture, planting, performance spaces and play equipment."

More detail would be supplied in the next stage of design.

A council staff report says all options are technically feasible.

Two-way traffic was strongly supported by commercial advocacy groups, Grey Power, the Automobile Association and Urban Access Dunedin, council staff noted.

One-way traffic was strongly supported by students and young people, Plunket and disability groups.

The business case assessed the capital cost of a George St upgrade as $19million for the one-way options and $18million for an upgraded two-way street.

A minimalist approach would come with a capital cost of $9million.

None of the options was found to be a resoundingly better investment prospect than the others.

Funding from the NZ Transport Agency is expected to be "restricted to a percentage contribution of walking and cycling benefits and any identified safety improvements".

Council staff said the one-way north option would have marginally faster travel times than the alternative direction, but the one-way south option would result in a safer intersection at the five-way George, London, Pitt and Frederick Sts intersection.

A one-way street with the flexibility to shift to a two-way design is no longer considered viable because substantial changes would be needed at intersections, traffic lights, crossing points for pedestrians, signage and access to parking.

"Attempting to incorporate the flexibility between one-way and two-way would compromise the quality of the design," the staff report says.

grant.miller@odt.co.nz

Comments

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I'm not opposed to a George St upgrade but has it been considered alongside the hospital rebuild and one-way issues associated with that? I think one of the one-ways needs to be moved harbor side (and this will help link up access to the harbor), a section of the current northern one way moved across to the southern one way (around Queens Gardens at the southern end) and this frees up a huge section of central city roading along Cumberland Street and one side of the new hospital. This capacity shift would sort the issues with the new hospital access, allow George Street to modified more easily and most likely help with access to and from the stadium (reducing bottlenecks). This is a great city, do it properly.

Of course the impact of all these roadworks on traffic has been considered. We have a greens majority council. We have a Mayor who is too afraid to drive. The greens have a firm strategy to reduce / remove private vehicle use. All impediments to car use are considered to be good things in the drive (excuse the pun) to "persuade" people to live local, use public transport, ride a bike or do as the mayor does and bludge off other people.

The DCC technocrats know better than business owners. I am sure it will work out dandy, especially with a significant number of businesses ready to shut up shop- because no foot traffic and where does most of the foot traffic come from? from people driving their cars to town- not buses, bikes or walking students. A fast way to Princes St-ifacation. Just walk around town, empty shops everywhere. Closed and rotting in many places.

YYyyaaaa !!! A playground in the main street for the councillors to fill in a bit of time and eat their fairy bread with hundreds and thousands ... quite appropriate actually, it's going to cost hundreds of thousands just to get the consultation done and get told it's a no go!

What is going on behind all these closed door meetings ??? ... it really does seem like it's Kindergarten time but someone's spiked the milk !!!

Get real peoples !!

It is almost amusing to see comments from DCC planners that reversal of their mistakes, sorry plans, will not be easily done.
Of course all these mistakes can be remedied. All it takes is a sensible council, a new set of town planners and some more ratepayer / tax payer money.

Just like all the previous DCC planners mistakes, this mess can and will be repaired in the future.

I just hope that not too many mom and dad retailers go broke while the greens play games with Dunedins future.

Has DCC noticed the slums and near-derelict buildings on Princes Street? These are a real embarrassment to the city. Perhaps they need to put this right first? I am not worried about the loss in parking because I buy most things online and can’t afford the added parking costs to visit a cafe since DCC and ORC increased rates by an unreasonable amount. The city will wither and die.

Please can we have a new council that listens to the citizens of Dunedin?

I am very disappointed to read the consultant's comment "the paving, lighting and other furniture is now dated". These things were chosen to reflect and enhance the historic character of the facades. It hasn't dated any more than the Victorian/Edwardian facades have. They represent the character of George St and I do hope they're not to be replaced with soulless modern concrete.

It's about time we saw a some changes to make our city a safer and more attractive place to hang out. This will bring more people to town and potentially more customers for shops. I have the choice to shop online these days, as long as George Street remains primarily a thoroughfare for cars I'm reluctant to go there.

The old Scottish architecture is attractive and what gives Dunedin its character, not some modern rubbish that's out of date in a decade.

As for safer it's already slowed traffic to 30km/h, you think those e-bikes won't knock you over and they are heavy units too.

I doubt it'll bring more people to town apart from school aged kids hanging out playing on the silly playground the greenie council want to setup.

Last week I walked along Princes and George Streets from the bottom of Rattray Street to Knox. I counted about 14 vacant shops at ground level and don't know how many more spaces may be vacant in levels above that - but there were a fair number of For Lease signs.

We are not a wealthy city: while the practical infrastructure is extremely important, is there much point in spending money on elaborate cosmetics in a commercial area that is already faltering, and will likely need to evolve in to other uses? Will the changes cause the locals, who make up the bulk of the long-term spending outside hospitality, simply find other places to go and spend money? Will the apparently preferred changes contribute to Dunedin's centre becoming even more hollowed out, and fuel pressure for cookie-cutter suburban mall developments?

If I owned commercial property in Central Dunedin, I'd find those some unnerving questions.

Without data or credible modelling, we have no way to know the answers.

As long as there is adequate parking, then I don't really have too much of a problem with it. If they're expecting people to use public transport to get to town, or expecting people to park miles away, it will be disastrous for inner city businesses. It will mean more people buying online, and not necessarily online from local businesses, they'll simply shop around for the best online bargain. Local businesses pretty much rely on impulse, and "need it now" shoppers, take that away, and they're fairly well screwed.
So it really does all come down to adequate, convenient parking.

What a dam waste of money! Who thinks up these crazy ideas for a main street of a city?

Business owners need the traffic flow both ways so don't stuff that up! Listen to them!

Stop messing around with Dunedin.

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