Scheme to pedestrianise Esplanade suggested

A fresh bid to pedestrianise part of the Esplanade at St Clair is being promoted by a Dunedin city councillor.

The idea, raised by Cr Conrad Stedman at this week's annual plan meeting, would - if confirmed - place a ban on vehicles being driven along part of the Esplanade.

The prohibition would cover the area between Salt restaurant and the raised car park next to Esplanade Motel and Apartments. It would become a pedestrian-only space.

Cr Stedman said the change aimed to improve safety and recreational opportunities in what was an increasingly popular "jewel in the crown" of the city.

That popularity was creating problems, as traffic increased and some people visiting the area resorted to parking over residents' driveways, on footpaths or illegally in disability spaces, he said.

Cr Stedman has been promoting the change for years, since before becoming a city councillor, but raised it again last year when he asked council staff to investigate the idea.

This week, during the council's annual plan meeting, he tried again - asking staff to report back on options and costs for planning changes to parking, roading and recreation facilities in the area.

Other councillors backed the call, meaning the report would be presented as part of annual plan deliberations in May.

Dunedin city councillor Conrad Stedman wants to see cars removed from part of the Esplanade at St Clair. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Dunedin city councillor Conrad Stedman wants to see cars removed from part of the Esplanade at St Clair. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

Cr Stedman said yesterday his plan would retain vehicle access to most existing car parks along the waterfront, but by a new route.

While vehicles would be prevented from driving in a circuit around the Esplanade, they would instead be diverted through an existing - but underutilised - reserve next to the Majestic Mansions on Bedford St.

An existing pedestrian path up through the reserve could be widened to accommodate vehicles and provide a link to the existing raised car park on the waterfront side, he said.

Cars could then return to the Esplanade at the southwest end, from the existing car park access way, and still reach waterfront car parks at that end of the road, he said.

A graphic of the Esplanade pedestrianisation proposal.
A graphic of the Esplanade pedestrianisation proposal.

The underutilised Bedford St reserve could also be turned into car parking, further improving access to the area, he said.

Consideration would also be given to new recreational facilities, such as public gas barbecues, in the area.

He hoped to take a "softly-softly" approach to any changes, to win the confidence of the area's cafe and restaurant owners, but was confident the idea was a winner.

"At the end of the day it has been proven - pedestrianisation will bring more people there, and they'll be busier. But we've got to get them onside."

Comments

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A simple no brainer this.
It should have been done years ago.
It’s just a danger now for all and a place many choose to speed through and pose.
The change would also ease pressures on the mini roundabout.
Any change should also bring in limited hours parking for the spaces to stop people parking all day with their camper vans etc ( 2 hours ).

It is long overdue.

This only highlights the lack of vision and poor planning within the DDC. This area has only recently had a multi million dollar upgrade and now they want to change it again!

Money well spent - yeah right nearly 3 years and this is the first time I've read of this councillor table anything. When running for Council they were all that and a bag of chips, I know not everything makes the news, unfortunately it looks like another Councillor had fallen under the spell of Cull or the real-estate industry is in a busy period in Dunedin.

I'm not 100% against this idea, but i think a better idea would be to lower the speed limit to 15 km/h, and put in more speed bumps.

And if the second carpark, or whole thing goes ahead, i really hope that ALL the carparks at the water's edge are changed to time restricted, preferably an hour or less. It's annoying going out there, seeing no parks, then coming back a few hours later and some of the same cars are still there.

Not a regular esplanade visitor, but this area lends itself to being car-free. Parking will still be accessible from the other end of the street presumably.

This can only improve the area.

What's happening in the hallowed halls of the DCC? This is the second good idea they've come up with in a week!

To partially repeat my comment regarding the area in front of the railway station, if the Council wants to create a pedestrian space, that's exactly what it should do. Make it totally pedestrianised with the only wheeled devices allowed being mobility scooters, wheel chairs, walking frames and push chairs/prams.
No cycles, scooters or skate boards.

May as well start closing the streets too, most of them are unsafe due to the amounts of cars that use them.......gotta be safe at all costs right....

When the Esplanade was being redeveloped years ago many residents expected it to be pedestrianised. It seemed the logical thing to do. It would be far more pleasant for everyone and I am sure the businesses in the area would benefit. Who wants to sit outside with vehicle fumes and vehicles passing or parking just a metre from your table.

great idea - but no motorised scooters please!

"It would become a pedestrian-only space." yes!!

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