Dunedin cycle lane project goes to next stage

New cycle lanes seem likely to cost Dunedin drivers some car parks. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
New cycle lanes seem likely to cost Dunedin drivers some car parks. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

Dunedin's apparent obsession with car parking will not be allowed to derail the new cycle lanes project, city councillors warned yesterday.

Councillors considering their next step in the joint project between the New Zealand Transport Agency and the council yesterday agreed business cases should be developed for various options for a separated cycle lane through the central city.

They also agreed the council would continue parallel work to develop a mitigation plan for any impact the lanes might have, including on parking. Consultation revealed parking issues seriously concerned some in the community.

The council's infrastructure services committee passed the resolutions after NZTA projects team manager Simon Underwood asked it to decide - while the business cases were being worked through - what the ''bigger picture'' priorities were.

''Do you want the best option for cycling, or do you want a compromise that retains some more parking?''

The working group that developed options for the separated cycle lane design has said it prefers, given the original catalyst of the project was to improve cyclist safety, an option of two one-way lanes on the SH1 pair (known as option 1), which would result in the loss of 391 parks.

The other option under consideration involves a single two-way lane along the route, affecting about 180 parks.

A modified option, known as option 1a, that acknowledges community and business concerns about parking losses, has more recently been added to the mix.

It would maintain 198 car parks along some blocks by placing the cycle lane between car parking and the footpath, achieved by reducing the widths of footpaths, cycle and parking lanes in some places.

Several councillors indicated their possible opposition to option 1a, although decisions on options will not be made until the business cases and mitigation plan are done.

The lanes would be paid for by the NZTA, with the council responsible only for parking and maintenance.

Cr Jinty MacTavish said she had grave safety and best-practice concerns about option 1a, as well as about spending money to provide parking capacity that might not be needed.

Cr Richard Thomson, a retailer himself, had earlier said he was in favour of ''just bloody well getting on with it''. He said retailers as a group overrated parking.

''It would be an issue if we were competing with stand-alone malls, but we are not.''

He recalled battling with other retailers 20 years ago about removing some parks in the central retail area to plant trees, an amenity improvement that had proved successful.

''We have debated this [the cycle lanes project] long enough,'' Cr Thomson said.

Engineering to improve the safety of multi-modal transport had been missing from Dunedin's transport network for probably 50 years, despite safety improvements in every other area.

The potential cost of $350,000 for the project would be an investment lasting 30 years, making it an ''extraordinarily small sum'' to reassure safety.

''If we can't find $350,000 over the lifetime of the cycle network, then we don't deserve to be in charge of this city, is my view.''

Deputy mayor Chris Staynes agreed taking away car parks had long been, and continued to be, an emotive issue in Dunedin, but it made no sense.

''It's a perception [that business will be harmed by the removal of some car parks], but it's only a perception and it could be a perception that could derail a great project.

''If we want to be a great small city in the real world [by providing improved amenities and multimodal transport options], this is what we need to do.''

Parking was the only fly in the ointment at this stage, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said.

Councillors approved his suggestion a new working party be set up comprising him and various other councillors to help advance the business cases and the mitigation plan.



The findings

The council's parking study (between December and March) found:

• 65 more parks available on the one-way streets than required at peak times

• Areas with the highest parking occupancy around the university and hospital, both of which prefer the option removing the most parks

• At least 100 new parks could be created on SH1 side streets

• Retailers think 65% of customers drive to their stores, when actual figure is 53%

• 66% of shoppers park in shopping centre car parks or 5min parks

• When drivers cannot find a park nearby, 35% keep driving around until they do, 22% park further away and walk, 36% park in an off-street car park and 7% go home or elsewhere.

Source: SH1 Cycle Lanes Parking Study



Fewer cars, fewer traffic jams. If you can count it, it's probably "fewer" not less.  

We're awake

gazzamombazza, in Dunedin what sort of "better" jobs are there to get? 

How Clarkson sees the world is when a person is on a bike, they're not in their car ergo they must not have a car at all.  A rather simple world view from a rather simple mind

Cyclists are motorists as well. 

Unlike the ageing, overweight celebrity, those on bikes dont see the need to have every single transportation movement made in a seated position.

We have cars, we're just awake and realise that in a small, centralised city like Dunedin they aren't needed 100% of the time. 


Wake up gazzamombazza

Gazzamombazza I reckon you (supporting Jeremy Clarkson's statement) are criticising without a solid reason and only thinking about yourself. More bikes mean less polluction, more excercise, more health, better environment and less cars. Less cars mean less traffic, less noise, less smoke, less pollution, less accidents, less stress & less traffic jams. I myself have a good job, a car and a bike. However, I always commute and do most of my errands riding my bike because that is my choice. Like myself, many people choose that option.

So, Cr Thomson

You are partly responsible for the disaster that is our main street. Jutting out bits everywhere that impeed parking and uneven cobblestoning that makes walking and driving an uncomfortable experience.

Perhaps it does look pretty but it certainly does not improve function. This would be the main reason that i no longer go anywhere near the main thoroughfare. 

time to wake up

Why are they not looking at putting cycle routes through less busy areas, resulting in safer cycling and no lost parking spaces ?

A few minor modifications to traffic signals to allow the pompous 2 wheeled brigade to cross SH1 safely, problem solved.

In the words of Jeremy Clarkson, why don't cyclists get better jobs and save up to buy a car.


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