A review has been completed into the advantages and disadvantages of an enhanced Dunedin SH1 one-way system, building upon the existing one-way system, or a two-way alternative.
The review was undertaken by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, working with its Connecting Dunedin partners, Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council.
Key issues considered in the review were safety, accessibility, levels of service for pedestrians, cyclists and the wider public. The review looked at ways of achieving improved amenity values, safer and easier access for staff, patients and visitors, given the new Dunedin Hospital is being constructed between the two currently one-way, SH1 streets.
In late 2021, Waka Kotahi endorsed the Shaping Future Dunedin Transport Programme Business Case jointly developed with the Dunedin City Council (DCC) and Otago Regional Council (ORC). It included an enhanced one-way system as part of wider transport improvements driven by the new Dunedin Hospital build. Dunedin City Councillors at the time voted for continuing discussions with Waka Kotahi on the future form of the SH1 one-way system, with the two-way option as a starting point.
Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships James Caygill says this review is a key step in ensuring a safe and accessible transport system for Dunedin’s CBD and the new hospital for many years to come. It also needs to offer people travel choices and more attractive public spaces with significantly improved amenity.
“The key difference comes down to the fact that the two-way option would largely benefit Cumberland St, but the enhanced one-way option would add amenity values to both Cumberland and Castle Streets,” says Mr Caygill.
“The one-way enhanced option provided the best overall balance of attractive and usable spaces for people and pedestrian access improvement across the length of the corridors.”
Mr Caygill says the enhanced one-way option sees a marginal reduction in operational performance of SH1 compared to what currently exists, with lower traffic volumes due to the lower speed environment and greater use of the harbour arterial.
Whereas the two-way option has much less overall network capacity with more delays at intersections, more traffic switching to the harbour arterial and other central city roads. This would increase central city travel times, with longer delays at some key intersections and more congestion at peak times.
Both options would require the removal of some on-street parking to make it safer and more pleasant for the large number of pedestrians who would be using these streets around the hospital in future.
A Health Impact Assessment completed for both SH1 options also provided important suggestions as to how to improve the design of any final solution.
Among the suggestions being actively considered were lower speed limits, better highway crossing facilities, traffic reductions including fewer heavy vehicles in the vicinity of the new hospital and greater safety for cyclists at intersections. Seating and landscaping to create more people-friendly surroundings on the highway links to the new Dunedin Hospital and nearby areas was also included, Mr Caygill says.
The review found changes to the configuration of St Andrew Street would provide opportunities to increase pedestrian amenity and safety while reducing traffic volumes on this road between the two new hospital blocks, without significantly affecting the operation of the wider roading network. Work and initial consultation started in 2022 on future changes for St Andrew Street.
Following the formal resolution by the Dunedin City Council today, Waka Kotahi will continue to work with its partners (ORC and DCC) on the next steps each party will be taking to improve transport options around Dunedin.