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