Jury out on ban

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Mayor adamant on no vehicles in CBD.

An eventual car ban mooted for Queenstown’s CBD has drawn a mixed response from downtown retailers.
Queenstown Lakes Dist­rict Council plans to close some streets off to cars, or impose vehicle restrictions, over the next 10-15 years.

In minutes of an Otago Regional Council regional transport committee meeting in February, mayor Clive Geddes said QLDC had “adopted the principle that private motor vehicle use in the centre of town was not an option” in that timeframe.

Geddes confirms his stance this week – it’s all part of QLDC’s future public transport plan.

“As time goes by, and more and more cars squeeze into the CBD, there’s an acceptance at both community and council level that there won’t be continued car access right into the CBD…because there simply won’t be the space for both vehicles and people.

“[But] there is not a plan that says when traffic levels get to a certain height or when a certain amount of time has passed, this street will close followed by that one.”

Wilkinson’s Pharmacy owner Kim Wilkinson says he’s against vehicle bans or restrictions – the now-deferred “Inner Links” project would have solved any traffic woes.

“Our biggest problem for traffic in town is Stanley and Shotover Sts, not the downtown area.

“Excluding cars from the CBD is bad for the whole of the downtown business area.”

For pedestrians, Vertigo Bikes owner Tim Ceci warns the proposal is a “great idea” – but it’ll be “bloody difficult” for businesses, especially those that do client pick-ups.

Outside Sports boss Liz Cox says she’s known about the proposal for a while and her business is working
with the Man St carpark to offer customers free parking.

“I think anybody living locally understands that there are some major traffic issues for Queenstown and I think it’s important for all our businesses to try to work towards a solution that makes our CBD as attractive as possible for people to come into.”