Council cycle plan a 'ludicrous idea'

A storm is brewing in Victoria Rd where some residents say the Dunedin City Council's plan to install a shared walk/cycle path is rushed and a potential disaster.

Residents are angry about the way they are being consulted on the proposed changes and say the option they have been offered is unsafe.

But council staff say the process is appropriate and the purpose of the consultation is to see if they need to reconsider the plan.

In the original South Dunedin cycle network plan, which the council consulted on in 2012, the cycle lane to St Clair was to be on a gravel path along the dunes between Victoria Rd and the beach.

However, residents were informed by letter drop last Friday the route had to be changed because of concerns about the structural integrity of the dunes and sand on the path.

Two alternative options were proposed - either turn the sea-side footpath of Victoria Rd at the St Clair end into a 3m-wide shared walk/cycle path to the Esplanade, removing 38 car parks, or do nothing and end the cycle network at Kennedy St.

The flyer noted on-street parking would remain in the second option, but ''the key destination of the St Clair Esplanade would not be connected to the rest of the cycle network''.

Residents had 10 working days to give feedback and had an opportunity to discuss the proposal at a meeting at the St Clair Scout Hall today.

Victoria Rd resident Rene Lammers said he had spoken to several other residents ahead of a neighbourhood meeting he organised last night, and the general response to the proposal had been one of concern.

''The general feeling is most people think it is a ludicrous idea.''

Already many residents had to back out across the footpath, with regular near-misses. Removing car parks, which many residents used, would increase the number of the cross-path movements.

More cyclists on the path would also cause issues for pedestrians, particularly many mothers with young children and buggies.

There was also concern people only had a few days to give feedback by telephone or email, with no option to make formal written submissions, and even less time before their one opportunity to discuss it with staff and designers, at tonight's meeting.

There was also some concern about what seemed to be a lack of transparency about how residents' feedback or concerns would be collected and evaluated, Mr Lammers said.

Nine extra car parks proposed for Bedford St would be inconvenient for residents.

The loss of parks, where it was already nearly impossible to get one at times, would also push residents and visitors even more into the surrounding streets, although it was not clear if those residents had been consulted, he said.

''They are encouraging more businesses there [St Clair], yet taking away parks.

''It doesn't make sense,'' Mr Lammers said.

People felt they were being pressured into option one, as choosing option two would lead them to be the bad guys because the network would not extend to the popular Esplanade area.

St Clair Surf Life Saving Club committee member James Coombes said the club was also concerned about the many daily movements its members had to make over the path to enter and exit their clubrooms, sometimes towing trailers.

There had been near-misses with cyclists and they were concerned the proposal would make things worse.

A spokeswoman from Little Wonders child care centre said it did not really affect them as it was on the other side of the road and, if anything, would probably make that side safer for children.

Cr Andrew Whiley said he had been contacted by several Victoria Rd residents and had contacted other councillors and Mayor Dave Cull to suggest the council, before going any further, look at a five to 10-year plan for the development of the St Clair waterfront area and how the cycle lane might fit into that. 

Council transportation operations group manager Gene Ollerenshaw said he was satisfied the consultation process was solid.

The purpose of these consultations was to get people's views, which could persuade staff they needed to do further thinking on the plan.

It had not rushed the plan, he said.

The entire network was set down to be completed by June 30 next year, but it was not ''do-or-die'' that the council had to make its decision on this stage at its June meeting, as signalled in the letter.

Depending on what staff found from the consultation, they might have to go back to councillors with an update informing them more work needed to be done, he said.

 

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

Pizzazz...

...asks on what planet would a shared cycle/pedestrian pathway ever be considered. (I've kinda' paraphrased Pizzazz's literal statement.) To answer it: I've seen just those very things in HEAPS of metro centres in Australia. So, shared cycling/ped pathways seem to work OK in... Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Warrnambool, Darwin, Ballarat 'n Brisbane. Can't say I've seen them in Adelaide, but it's been ages since I've been there.

Not suggesting for a second that there wouldn't be the odd bingle between cyclist and other users, but there's always gonna' be a few clashes between folks using wheels to assist their mobility, with those who are ambling around on Shanks' Pony. (Hell, I got whacked over by a kid who was cruising on the footpath on his 10-speed, while I was walking on that footpath on my way to footy training in North Dunedin, way back in the day. I picked up a decent cut to my hand, and he got a hell of a shock to hit me. It happens!)

I think you're asking a bit much

Overit: Cyclists can't manage to cycle a street or two over from the one way system to ensure their own safety. Do you really expect they could walk their bikes a few meters to ensure the safety of others? I'm doubtful.

Victoria Rd cycle/pathway

Seriously? Cycle/Pathway, on what planet (or in which city) would this ever be considered a marriage made in heaven? So let me get this right, cyclists sharing pathways with pedestrians, pram pushing mums and the occassional mobility scooter, running alongside private garages, and increased vehicle traffic with people cruising for parks that no longer exist. What could possibly go wrong?!

 

 

Council disdain for genuine experts

The most knowledgeable expert is the regular user, whether they or the council realise it.

The redevelopment of the Saint Clair Esplanade has been botched in a number of areas and this latest proposal clearly demonstrates the DCC's lack of understanding or experience of how the area is used.

The suggestion of a boardwalk dune track is elegantly simple and effective especialy if it is combined with aspects of dune protection.

The area is used by a large number of young families and mixing cyclists and young pedestrians is a recipe for disaster and so maybe a cycle lane in the area is not a good idea. Maybe cyclists can get off their bikes and walk the last few metres?

They caught it from CST

" I just dont get this obsession with cyclists in a city made up of hills!"  

Please keep up, Dunedin Dave.  It's called "Build it and they will come", a fiscally crippling virus.  But don't gallop off to your GP demanding vaccination lest you catch it and adversely affect others.  You've got natural immunity as long as you spend your own money: there's no threat to your or our wellbeing unless you're in a position allocate the use of ratepayers' money.

Council has no idea how to use money

What another waste of money from the council. This council doesn't know how to use ratepayers money. Prime example - it has just spent millions on the cycle lane on Shore Street, and to date I have not seen one cyclist using it. They are still using the road slowing traffic and double file.

Instead of throwing away more money on cycle ways that no-one uses, why doesn't the council use the money to attract businesses and industry to the region? That would be more productive and benefit everyone instead of a few people.

Wooden walkway for cycleway?

If they're worried about slippage on the dunes could they use a wooden walkway instead of gravel like they do in national parks? For example in this image

Not sure how expensive it would be doing this way.

DCC consulting in the wrong lane

While the concept of bike lanes in Dunedin is a very positive and good idea for the city it seems clear that in many cases it is being rushed through without adequate practical thought for all parties involved.

As an experienced civil engineer, after reviewing the consulting drawings I have serious concerns regarding close proximity of the path to domestic driveways. The eminent danger to cyclists and residents is clear as a cyclist may be moving as speeds from 20-40kph directly adjacent to the exits of many driveways where cars and residents will exit.

These St Clair residents have a right to safe access to and from their property and this proposal along with the removal of parking will seriously compromise this.

As a former St Clair resident and a keen cyclist I look forward to my trips home and safely cycling around Dunedin but not on this proposed lane, let’s hope another option is taken forward and the consulting process works just as it should do? 

Sunny St Clair

I had to laugh at that line - really?

St Clair cycle lane

I think the planners at the council need to rethink their 'mail drop'. Perhaps it would be better if the ratepayers at the properties affected were contacted by mail. This way the people who rent out their properties are aware of what is happening - outside their front door.

More madness

Now the whole 'Free Bell' offer makes sense, as we will now need cyclists to have them in order not to mow us down as we stroll to the beach. What planet are these councilors on? It is clear they live somewhere other than Dunedin. I just dont get this obsession with cyclists in a city made up of hills! 

Cyclists

I am a cyclist and never use the shared pedestrian/cycle paths if I can help it; the only real exception is the ones going to St Leonards and on Portsmouth Drive (but definitely not the shared path from Shore St to the Vauxhall Yacht Club). I have no problem using the cycle lanes that go on the one-way and down the Peninsula; I find the other shared paths too dangerous with dogs and kids jumping out in front of you which is dangerous for them also. I personally have no issues with riding on the road as I have the confidence to do it, but do understand that there are a lot of cyclists and potential cyclists that would like to use the shared paths.

Unsafe and unworkable

This plan was put together by Christchurch consultants with no idea of how people live and visit the beach. The proposed cycle/foot path is a death trap for cyclists/pedestrians, and beach/cafe/pool users in summer will need to get used to parking many blocks away on Albert st, Cliffs Road, Forbury, Hargest Cresent, Kennedy St, Beach St etc - this area is already under parking pressure during summer. How is removing 38 parks going to improve sunny St Clair?

Why does the council manager say "it is not do or die that the council make a decision" when the poorly detailed flyer to residents says "council will make a FINAL decision on June 23"? Madness!

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