Street may be pedestrian mall permanently

The Queenstown Lakes District Council will decide tomorrow if it will start the process to...
The Queenstown Lakes District Council will decide tomorrow if it will start the process to permanently pedestrianise upper Beach St in the resort, having held a trial since February. PHOTO: TRACEY ROXBURGH
Upper Beach St in Queenstown may be permanently pedestrianised after an almost seven-month trial.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council approved the trial late last year and it began on February 1. Monitoring had since shown ``no significant adverse effects''.

The council will be asked at its meeting in Wanaka this week to initiate the special consultative procedure to declare the street, between Camp St and Cow Lane, a pedestrian mall, with exceptions.

In a report to the council, senior engineer Andrew Edgar said DowntownQT had supported the trial and had conducted surveys of businesses over the past six months. More than 80% supported the permanent pedestrianisation of the street, but most also recommended maintaining the morning deliveries.

``The major concern of those who didn't want the street to be permanently pedestrianised was increased traffic on surrounding streets, especially Shotover St.

``However, these comments also indicated an element of using upper Beach St as a `rat run' rather than using the arterial network of Stanley St and Shotover St.''

While there had been conflicting feedback and indications pedestrians were not looking out for vehicles at the intersection of Cow Lane and Beach St, it was a ``low-speed'' area and once hoardings were removed around a work site in Beach St, pedestrians would be directed away from the roadway.

Issues had also been noted with the use of the Cow Lane loading zone, such as longer than 15 to 20 minute delivery times, while the top of upper Beach St was also being used as a loading zone even when bollards were in place.

``Although it is a logical place for a loading zone, allowing access for emergency vehicles at all times will require this space to be kept free.

``These issues occur throughout the town centre and can only be addressed through increased enforcement,'' Mr Edgar said.

Transactional data from upper Beach St businesses did not appear to show any significant changes because of the pedestrianisation and, overall, there did not appear to be any significant effect on traffic, he said.

``Businesses along upper Beach St have taken advantage of the closed road by expanding more into the street area. DowntownQT has also made use of the extra space by encouraging market stalls that can not only attract more pedestrians, but keep them in the area for longer.''

The report said given the trial had not created any ``significant adverse effects'' it was reasonable to consider declaring the area a pedestrian mall, with exceptions for emergency vehicles and morning goods deliveries.

The special consultative procedure would allow the public to make submissions. It was proposed to close consultation on October 7, and the council would convene a hearing, if required, in November or December.

The final decision would then be subject to a one-month appeal period.

Comments

Great progress in QT! This can be done in Dunedin as well. I'm waiting for this to happen in Dunedin City. Pedestrianisation is nothing new in Europe and works very well. If you don't believe me, go and travel to Holland or Germany and have a look yourself. It is a win-win for shoppers as well as business owners. Wake up business owners! You won't lose customers, you will get more people hanging out in the streets, passing your shops and enjoying the relaxing and car free city.