Street revamp focuses on accessibility

Disabled Persons Assembly NZ kaituitui Chris Ford is pleased with the redevelopment of George St....
Disabled Persons Assembly NZ kaituitui Chris Ford is pleased with the redevelopment of George St. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Disability advocates say they have been consulted well on the George St redevelopment in Dunedin and do not expect accessibility will be an issue.

Some Dunedin City Council candidates have expressed concerns about the loss of parking in the city centre due to the changes to George St and the surrounding area.

They were concerned what those changes would mean for people with limited mobility such as elderly and the disabled community.

Disabled Persons Assembly NZ kaituitui Chris Ford said he had worked through issues with the council including mobility parking and access to streets by service vehicles.

"The partial pedestrianisation of George St gives a lot more scope for people who are disabled to access the area and have more freedom," Mr Ford said.

He was aware some sections of the disability community had raised concerns in the past, but he believed those concerns had now been addressed.

"I think council has done a good job at listening to everybody."

They were hoping George St would become an "inclusive, accessible destination, which everyone was able to enjoy", he said.

Disability Information Service access adviser and educator John Marrable said the council had been engaging with his organisation, and was making consultation "as stress-free as possible for the disabled community".

"I have been impressed with the proactive-ness of them," Mr Marrable said.

Contractors recently invited members of the disabled community to test proposed tiles for the street, so they could check both street layout and the tactile feel while moving, he said.

A council spokeswoman said the main objective of the upgrade was to ensure the main street was an accessible and safe environment for all residents and visitors, and there had been ongoing consultation with members of local disability groups.

The council said in the final George St design there would be between two and four mobility parking spaces in each block, and other features had been designed with mobility in mind.