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However, Dunedin City Council chief executive Sue Bidrose said this week her staff were continuing to review the controversial public-health response, designed to encourage people to return as pedestrians to the city centre.
Two weeks ago yesterday, the council’s planning and environment committee approved (in a 9-4 vote) staff plans to allow city-centre businesses to extend into the footpaths and road-markings and 10kmh speed limits designed to allow people to walk through car parks and on to George St from Moray Pl to Albany St in a road treated as a ‘‘shared space’’.
Now staff were considering next steps for the temporary measures.
‘‘Do we put in speed humps? How fast are people going? People aren’t using [the road] for social distancing most of the time — only occasionally. What is the need? We are continuing to review that and will continue to advise the council,’’ Dr Bidrose said this week.
‘‘Every day we’ve been checking speeds, looking at pedestrian numbers — this is a long weekend, so there’s some particular interest in the numbers ... early next week we’ll be working out, ‘OK, what happens now?’
‘‘And we will be talking to the local retailers as we make that decision.’’
About 460 circles appeared in the city centre, alongside stencilled images of pedestrians, shortly after the decision was made to indicate the new vision for the roadway.
And a council spokesman said the coloured dots were painted on with just one coat, to ensure the measure was ‘‘easily reversible’’.
Despite some confusion at the planning and environment committee as to whether the NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets for People Covid-19 Response Fund was intended for temporary projects, which led to Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins directing staff only to apply ‘‘for Government funding to contribute to any costs incurred’’ rather than the specific fund, Dr Bidrose confirmed the council had received agreement for 90% funding for the project through the fund for the temporary measure, meaning ratepayers would only pick up 10% of the cost.
While the project had been estimated to cost $40,000, only about 60% of that amount had been spent to date.
‘‘We can actually spend more than $40,000 if we want to, and we will get 90% back — but we’ve only spent $25,000 at this point,’’ she said.
Another aspect of city-centre life under Covid-19 Alert Level 2 — free parking — was also under review.
Free parking was racking up a revenue loss for the council of about $175,000 a month.
— Additional reporting Grant Miller