'Quiet streets' key element of cycling proposal

South Dunedin streets could become low-speed quiet zones, as part of a $4.5 million plan to improve the area's cycling facilities.

The proposal was part of the South Dunedin Cycle Network Plan announced yesterday and to be considered at a Dunedin City Council meeting on Monday.

If approved, work could be under way within months on the first ''quick wins'' that could provide an almost continuous route from South Dunedin to the central city, Mayor Dave Cull said.

The plan, which was still subject to public consultation, would see a network of new cycling facilities across South Dunedin, eventually linking to new facilities in the central city and beyond.

The council and New Zealand Transport Agency were working together on plans for the central city and North Dunedin, which had been accelerated in response to cycle safety concerns.

Among plans unveiled for South Dunedin yesterday was a proposal to turn some streets into ''quiet streets'' that encouraged the safer sharing of roads, with 30kmh vehicle speed limits. Traffic calming measures, changes to Give Way priority at intersections, and new vehicle entry, exit and turning restrictions, would also be included, although residents' vehicle access would remain.

The idea was among four different styles of new cycleway facility proposed for the network, depending on the location of each route, traffic engineering and planning consultant Axel Wilke, of ViaStrada, said.

Separated cycleways or paths would be built along other parts of the South Dunedin network to provide routes completely separated from the dangers posed by passing vehicles.

And, in other areas, more common roadside cycle lanes, already found in parts of Dunedin, would be added, Mr Wilke said.

Council transportation planning manager Sarah Connolly said the council had budgeted $4.5 million for the work over three years, beginning in 2012-13, but the New Zealand Transport Agency was expected to contribute $3 million of the total cost. If approved, it was hoped work would begin about the middle of this year, she said.

Mr Cull said public submissions on cycling received by the council in recent years showed the ''huge latent demand'' for better cycling facilities.

However, the recent deaths of cyclists on Dunedin's State Highway 1 one-way streets - including 34-year-old Dr Li Hong ''Chris'' He last November - also helped put the expenditure in perspective, Mr Cull believed.

The $4.5 million upgrade compared with the Ministry of Transport's value of statistical life - an attempt to measure the social cost of road crashes - which stood at $3.77 million per fatality, or $4.44 million per crash, in June last year.

''I think it does put the expenditure in context, when the cost to the wider community of one death is pretty much what we have allocated over three years for the cycleway network,'' Mr Cull said.

The new details unveiled yesterday came after the council endorsed a Strategic Cycle Network plan for the city in 2011, Ms Connolly's report said.

The council had assessed and prioritised 37 city routes, giving more weight to safety improvements, which resulted in South Dunedin's routes being given priority. The South Dunedin project had also been renamed, from the Southern Commuter Routes to the South Dunedin Cycle Network, to reflect the wider uses catered for.

Mr Wilke said the majority of people were put off cycling because of concerns about mixing with high volumes of fast-flowing traffic.

Investment in dedicated, separated cycleways was needed to cater for those potential riders, but a ''huge'' 15% jump in cycling in South Dunedin could result over time.

Quiet streets, already used overseas, could be controversial but were the most economic way of improving safety.

They would provide residents all the benefits of living on a cul-de-sac, but also ''the slight disadvantage of a longer journey'' for some motorists, Mr Wilke said.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

The dont make a fuss brigade

Unfortunately, being reserved and circumspect is not the zeitgeist. Shouty and vexatious is.

Are they united in anything else...

...apart from silence?  The "silent majority", I mean.  Ian Smith gives examples of how they were cited as being in support of whatever powerful people's scheme was being opposed by ordinary people, and we see it again when stadium supporters say that the meeting in the Town Hall and the marchers numbered less than those who were not present.  The assumption seems to be "silence means agreement".  Where did that come from?  People have many reasons for being silent, not going to meetings, not marching with banners of protest, so what reason, other than sidestepping the truth, can there be for claiming that everyone who doesn't come out and say they're anti must be in favour?  Convenient, yes.  Honest, not so much.

The Silent Majority

'The silent majority' can be anything you want it to be. My first recollection of it was during then-Mayor Skeggs's attempts to convince us in the death throes of his 'smelter' blitzkrieg that it was supported by a 'silent majority'. Apparently, also, a 'silent majority' has supported every extravagance of the hopefully now-complete splurge of the contents of the city's coffers on ridiculous 'nice-to-haves', as the city's essential infrastructure creaks along from one crisis to the next.

But, for the most eloquent demonstration of the powers of the 'silent majority', take yourself off down to Awatea Street and contemplate what their most powerful 'putsch', so far has achieved; then consider that when the time came to pay for it, the 'silent majority' were, indeed, conspicuous by their 'silence'.

Good public dialogue with council

It might be too optimistic to believe that to understand everything is to forgive everything. All the same, there is some truth in it.

Pleased to see AlsBlog publicize this unfortunate wording (which I  too see as offensive and cynical) and also good to see what seems to me to be a sincere apology from someone with responsibility for the council action.


...are NOT in a position...

Just a turn of phrase

Clearly squeaky wheels was just a turn of phrase. No need to get the handbags out, ladies. 

I suggest none of the regular activists who have commented so far are in a position to speculate on what the Council's attitudes are with any insight or accuracy.  I could speculate on their motivation but it wouldn't be constructive. 

From the consultant

Please allow me to set the record straight on the ‘squeaky wheels vs silent majority'. These terms were not in a council document, but in a presentation that I (as council's consultant) put together for a seminar, and some of those slides were attached to the report that went to council. I do apologise if my choice of words has caused offence.
It is the experience of other cities that there is sometimes an initial controversy about the concept of Quiet Streets, but this is later replaced by demand from residents for this treatment that councils can't meet. The message that I tried to convey is that once people understand what Quiet Streets are about, it is rather popular concept.

North Dunedin cycling

If the Garden would be opened for cycling (from Opoho Rd), it would be easy to make a fantastic cycleway along the Water of Leith to the campus and all the way to the Stadium to meet the excisting harbour side network. Flat, low car traffic, just perfect. Of course this would upset all the keen walkers outhere...

It would be a good way to teach the students in NEV the joy of commuting with bicycle. [Abridged]

I love judder bars

Ffolkes: The faster you take them, the less you feel them.

About time

I rode through South Dunedin the other day and almost got taken out twice by vehicles turn or pulling out in front of me. It would be great to be able to ride through there without risking life and limb.

As a ratepayer and a registered owner of two vehicles, I am more than happy to see public money spent on improving cycle safety.

Squeaky wheels and the silent majority

"Squeaky wheels" and the "silent majority" all vote.  Come the day it may surprise some people to know how many of Silents share opinions with Squeakies. The majority may be silent, but it would be a mistake to assume that they are united in anything other than non-squeakiness.  Unlike dunedinblogAl I am delighted to see this because while it is "not appropriate in a council document" it gives us, the voters another clue to the mindset within council.  As the old sayings go, "know your enemy" and appreciate their showing "the whites of their eyes".  I'd be very surprised if the attitudes revealed are limited to issues around cycling.

Yet more money to cyclists

Let me guess, the won't be taxed anything to pay for this either?

Calm down traffic

The only way to ensure quiet streets is to exclude the internal combustion engine. The proven way to slow down traffic is with judder bars.

'Squeaky Wheels' oppose cycling plans

I am surprised to see in this document, reference to the "squeaky wheels" who may oppose the plans and the "silent majority" who support them. This is not appropriate in a council document.


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