On Friday I spoke in support of my less than glowing submission on the QLDC’s draft transport strategy.
I felt it lacked a vision for Queenstown, was not comprehensive enough and was more wishful thinking than reality.
To sum it up for those who haven’t read it. A well intentioned QLDC meritoriously wants to take 20% of our vehicle movements and redistribute them to walking, biking and bussing by changing the rules around car parking. This will avoid the need to spend any money on roading infrastructure to after 2030 maybe even 2040.
Unfortunately its navel gazing to be honest, every council on earth strategises that this will take place and with about as much regularity the Warriors falling short of potential, it doesn’t.
For one moment forgetting all the other messy issues around the basin for one moment, we need a vision for the CBD and mine is definitely not one of aimlessly meandering tourists playing a high risk game of Frogger with equally as aimless campervans and rental cars while busses convolute the flow of traffic and frustrated locals pull their hair our trying to get home.
My vision for its future is of peaceful wandering and street side dining, a pedestrianised CBD, devoid of poorly parked cars and lumbering buses.
A vibrant place lit with all the colours of the rainbow, where tourists are free to wander with reckless abandon all over the place. Free to shop, to dine, to drink, to listen to buskers and to do so without the threat of being steamrolled by a vehicle.
To do this, we need to get all traffic out of the CBD. Oh but that will ruin retail… bollocks, the messy traffic laden shambles we have now is more a threat to retail than anything else. Service vehicles only before 10am and then clear the streets!
People can walk and will walk the 200m from the Ballart St carpark and other peripheral carparks. They came halfway round the world to be here another 200m won’t kill them.
To get there we need to develop a large multi-level car parking building on the Ballarat St carpark site with a public transport hub and the council can even have new offices on top.
Let’s sell the land to pay for other infrastructure, engage a developer to build it and sign a long term lease.
Sublease the public transport level back to tourist and transport operators. This way it won’t cost the rate payers a cent and it will get the cars and busses out of the CBD,
Other existing peripheral council owned carparks also need developed and linked with good walkways to the CBD. Overpass those ridiculous pedestrian crossings.
The Church St car park needs scrapped and turn the Athol St carpark into an open air year round market and boom we have a made a magnificent statement as a resort!
There will also need to be roads and bridges built and we most importantly we can’t do nothing as we have for the last 20 years!
Mark writes a regular column for the Mountain Scene - View the original HERE
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