A cyclist utilising a Dunedin cycle lane. Photo by Stephen
Concerns about the loss of parking from a separated cycle
facility in central Dunedin are a ''red herring'', Dunedin
Mayor Dave Cull says.
Installing a cycle lane on one side of the one-way system
through the city was about safety, he said.
''The issue of losing parking is a complete red herring.
Roads are for moving people along. Parking is a bonus.''
He was responding in part to comments from Cr Lee Vandervis,
who led a discussion on a report to yesterday's full council
meeting on the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA)
recommendation to install separated cycle lanes on State
Highway 1 through the city.
Cr Vandervis raised concerns about whether such a lane was
actually safer, because he was told the intersections were
the most dangerous parts of the road.
The agency was seeking approval to start consultation on two
options: either a one-way separated cycle lane on the right
side of each one-way section between Rattray St and the
botanic garden - the safest option - or a two-way cycle lane
along the length of Cumberland St.
The NZTA would pay for the work.
Cr Vandervis asked why the number of parks likely to be lost
was not in the report, and how much revenue the council would
lose from them.
NZTA project manager Simon Underwood conceded it was an
omission but said it was very early to be talking about loss
of parking, given no consultation had taken place and they
were still trying to work out exactly what people wanted.
He said the research showed the separated lanes were safer
than simple painted lines on the road.
Tony Avery, council general manager infrastructure and
networks, said the council received about $250,000 a year
from the paid parks that would have to be removed for the
two-way cycle lane option, and about $350,000 from the parks
that would be removed in the one-way cycle lane option.
However, people were expected to park elsewhere, so the DCC
would pick up that income from replacement paid parking in
Cr Andrew Noone also thought the discussion about the loss of
parking was a bit premature.
''My understanding is that ... if we do lose parking, and it
sounds like it's probably a fait accompli, there will be
adjustments, but I think we need to have that discussion
after consultation, when there is a firm option and we can
work on alternatives to absorb parking demand.''
Cr Jinty MacTavish said she was very happy with the NZTA's
proposals, but sought reassurance short-term improvements
would continue until the project was realised, at the
earliest in three to four years' time.
''This is a win, win, win for the city.''
But Cr Vandervis said losing the income from at least 200
parks and forcing people further out for parking was a
''lose, lose, lose''.
''I'm going to be voting against the whole lot. It makes no
sense at all.''
Cr Chris Staynes said Dunedin had a ''terrible fascination''
for car parks, and this sort of project made the city safer
and was an opportunity to make it an even greater place to
Cr Richard Thomson recalled that when parking was removed for
trees to be planted in George St, ''that was going to be the
end of civilisation as we know it, yet it's still operating
as a retail street and it is much more attractive''.
A cheer went up from the dozen people who had gathered in the
public gallery for the debate when most of the councillors
voted to support the NZTA beginning consultation. Cr Neil
Collins and Cr Vandervis voted against it.