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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.
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.
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."