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Interest high in shaping the future of Dunedin transport

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Thousands of people in Dunedin shared their ideas and thoughts about how to shape a future transport system for central Dunedin that’s safer, better connected and offers a range of ways for people to get around the city.

Connecting Dunedin, a partnership of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council, has released a summary of the recent online interactive public engagement that was undertaken in July 2020 as part of the Shaping Future Dunedin Transport business case process.

The engagement’s purpose was to start a city-wide conversation about the changes the central city transport system may face as the new Dunedin Hospital and other central city developments take shape. A range of ideas were presented on interactive maps, including: suggested ways to make it easier and safer for people to get around on foot and by bike; improving public transport choice and parking; providing an alternative route bypassing the city centre; and changing the current road network, such as whether the one way system could be two way.

There were more than 22,000 total visits to the website, with more than 5,000 unique visitors, meaning many people repeatedly engaged with the information. As well as the interactive maps, there was a 26-question survey. 

Nick Sargent, joint client lead for the Shaping Future Dunedin Transport team, says, “It’s been great to see so many people using the engagement website to share their ideas and opinions, ask questions, and debate the future of transport in central Dunedin - and the challenges the future will bring. We were keen to give people an opportunity to get involved as early as possible in the process. Understanding what people think, their likes and concerns is an important part of the suite of information we’re gathering to inform the business case.”

Popular comments on the maps included the idea for new multi-storey car parking buildings in the central city and an improved inner-city bus loop. There were also lots of comments from people who were concerned that changes to the one-way system would increase congestion, halve the roads’ capacity and affect travel time through the city. This was also a popular theme from the survey responses.

The engagement report summarises the feedback received and provides more information about the survey responses. All the comments made on the interactive maps will also remain online for people to read.

“As we’re still at the ideas stage, it’s been very helpful for the project team to see the thoughts and concerns of the people that got involved in the engagement,” says Nick. “It’s clear that while there is general support for a range of parking, public transport, walking and cycling ideas, people are concerned that any changes to the one-way system will result in congestion and delays. We’re listening to these concerns and will continue to do more technical work, including traffic modelling, over the coming months as we scope further options for the future configuration of SH1 in central Dunedin.”

At the same time, the project team will also progress other work required to inform the Shaping Future Dunedin Transport business case process. Working with the New Dunedin Hospital team and other stakeholders, including the University of Otago, the project team will scope: options for St Andrew Street (SH88) and Frederick Street configuration; bus service improvements and incentives, including a southern bus priority route; the development of a parking roadmap; and improvements to the Harbour arterial.

More information will be available as technical studies and other planning work is completed.

People will also have a further opportunity to get involved in the business case process in early 2021 and can sign up for updates in the meantime.

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