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The problem

Dunedin City Council (DCC) received feedback for many years on the impact of moving and parked buses and vehicles on pedestrian safety and amenity along the thoroughfare in front of the Dunedin Railway Station. It is a busy commuter route for pedestrians and cyclists travelling to and from the city centre, as well as a busy tourist area, situated between key visitor destinations such as Toitū Otago Settlers Museum and the Octagon. The Dunedin Railway Station is one of Dunedin’s most celebrated heritage buildings and attracts large numbers of visitors throughout the year, along with the ornate formal gardens in Anzac Square opposite the station. DCC plans for the area to be part of the city’s Cultural and Entertainment Quarter, providing a hub for visitors and locals.

How the project responded

DCC trialled closing the thoroughfare in front of Dunedin Railway Station for four days over a weekend in January 2018, and again for two weeks in late February/March 2019. The trial involved:

  • placing planter boxes and a ‘road closed’ sign at the thoroughfare entrances
  • maintaining access to two public mobility parks adjacent to the station ramp
  • providing parking for passenger vehicles and taxis on nearby Anzac Avenue and Castle Street/SH1
  • blocking all short-term public parking along the station frontage during the first trial, with the exception during the second trial of three public parking spaces at the southern end
  • maintaining all parking for station tenants at the south end of the station.

For both trials, a description of the trial vehicle access closure and plan showing the closure area, alternative bus parking and taxi stand locations were distributed to a wide range of stakeholders, including the AA, various taxi and bus companies, NZTA, Otago Farmers' Market, Spokes, and emergency services. DCC also issued press releases and promoted the trial on social media.

Dunedin railway station entrance to closed road

Entrance to closed road. Credit: Dunedin City Council.

Trial road closure outside Dunedin railway station

Trial road closure outside station. Credit: Dunedin City Council.

What was learned

The key findings from public consultation and social media were:

  • the consultation received 204 public submissions across both trials, most of which were supportive
  • improvements in perceived safety and amenity in the area, particularly for children and older people
  • better views of the Dunedin Railway Station.

The main concerns raised in the consultation related to:

  • difficulties for mobility impaired and/or older people visiting the area
  • loading difficulties for exhibitors at the Otago Arts Society
  • loss of patronage for business tenants in the station
  • inconvenience for some tour operators.

DCC is now proposing and consulting on permanent closure of the thoroughfare to motor vehicles.