Vehicles will be banned from part of a downtown Queenstown street starting today.
For the next eight months, a 100m stretch of Beach St between Camp St and Cow Lane will be closed to vehicles every day from 10am to 5am.
Only service and delivery vehicles are able to use the road during the remaining five hours.
Queenstown’s council approved the pedestrianisation trial in December.
But the launch was postponed after some affected businesses told councillors they needed more time to prepare.
Bidvest Foodservice assistant manager Mike Byers told the meeting’s public forum the trial was “ad hoc, ill-conceived and not thoroughly thought through”.
However, the company now supports the trial.
Byers: “We’ve adjusted our business to meet the logistics of it, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the outcome is.
“It’s definitely got some merits to it; it’s just how it’s managed.”
Town centre czar Steve Wilde says the trial was meant to start yesterday, but was postponed for another day so new road markings could dry in Cow Lane.
Wilde, the boss of lobby group Downtown QT, says apart from new pop-up bollards at either end of the no-vehicle zone, the public will notice little change.
Some of the street’s restaurants are planning to extend their tables and chairs further into the carriageway, but there will be no changes to “hard streetscaping” during the trial.
“We’re just going to take little steps and see how it feels, and that includes the wider issue of how it affects transport.
“If we suddenly found there was chaos in the streets, and cars clogged and Cow Lane became a nightmare, then it could be pulled immediately.’
The Winery owner Rick Nelson says he and a group of Beach St restaurateurs are discussing the use of uniform colours in their street furniture.
“The idea is to make it a destination and a precinct in its own right and to bring more people into the area.”
The group is discussing a proposed layout for outdoor seating and dining with the council, and if the trial becomes permanent, they want to be ready to go next summer.
Otago Daily Times