No stopping cycle plan

Lee Vandervis.
Lee Vandervis.
The arguments of a lone Dunedin city councillor seeking to have the South Dunedin Cycle Network stopped in its tracks fell largely on deaf ears yesterday.

The majority of Cr Lee Vandervis' colleagues instead voted to accept changes to routes, moving the project on to the next stage, although not before some expressed concerns about parts of the process so far.

These included concerns about the information being shared, the consultation process, signs and markings on cycle routes, the cost/benefit analysis used and councillors' being asked to retrospectively approve changes to routes when tenders were already being sought.

On the last point, Cr Richard Thomson was assured by transportation group manager Gene Ollerenshaw routes could still be changed through negotiation with any successful tenderer.

Richard Thomson.
Richard Thomson.
Cr Thomson had expressed discomfort at being asked to approve work already gone to tender.

His particular concern was on proposed changes to the Oval cycleway, originally meant to traverse the fields on the east side but now proposed for the existing path on the west side of the Oval.

That route was less direct and required cyclists to back-track, meaning they were likely to take Princes St instead of the desired route via Vogel St into town, Cr Thomson said.

Councillors asked staff to ask contractors to price both routes and bring the options back to councillors for a decision on which should proceed.

Gene Ollerenshaw.
Gene Ollerenshaw.
They also agreed to seek from the main funder of the network, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), an extension of the project deadline to ensure decisions on the remaining fourth stage of the project - expected to be the most ''sensitive'' in terms of impact on parking and property access - were not rushed.

The entire network is at present required to be completed by July next year to take advantage of NZTA funding.

Other concerns included the fact new information 118 car parks across South Dunedin would need to be removed as part of the next two stages of the project only surfaced after it was sought by Cr Hilary Calvert.

Sarah Connolly.
Sarah Connolly.
Some councillors expressed disquiet the information was not included in the staff update on the project and were concerned about where people would park instead, although Cr Mike Lord said it did not seem too many parks given the size of the area involved.

Crs Calvert and Kate Wilson successfully sought a promise signs would be used during the construction of the next set of cycleways to avoid the confusion caused to road users during the construction of the first set, particularly on Portobello Rd.

Transportation planning manager Sarah Connolly said staff felt the two-week consultation period on each stage was enough, as most wanting to make submissions usually did so in the first few days anyway.

Cr Vandervis argued the whole project should be dropped because the NZTA-mandated cost/benefit analysis only considered cyclists and not other road users.

Also, the value of the lost car parks and loss of ''motorised connectivity'' had not been considered.

For most people, buses and cycling were simply not realistic options, he said.

''The whole cycling plan is utter lunacy and crazy ... I believe the majority of people don't want this. I think now is the time to vote against going any further.''

But Crs Thomson, Chris Staynes and Mayor Dave Cull said the decision was already made and the council was committed to providing options for all road users and improving safety.

''There are some people who don't agree with it, but [the decision is] made and it's going ahead, so now we are having a debate about the implementation of it,'' Cr Thomson said.

Cr Vandervis was the only councillor present to vote against accepting the suggested route revisions, although Cr Calvert abstained because of the lack of a cost-benefit analysis for all road users.

Mr Ollerenshaw earlier confirmed staff also had some concerns the $4.5 million budget for the project ($1.5 million from DCC and $3 million from NZTA) would not be enough, but said that would be clearer once tenders were in for stage 2 of the project later this month.

If the project was going to go over budget, the options would be reassessed at that stage.

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

Maddening

We live within a block of the proposed cycleway along Victoria Road and I find it maddening the DCC have rushed the proposal through. I spoke to a council representative who said they delivered corrospondence to directly affected home owners. Those not "directly" affected were not notified. When the 30 cars from Victoria Road move one street across and so on I will most certainly be affected by this proposal.

For the first time I completely agree with Cr Vandervis that it's being done to appease a few and negate the requirements of the masses. Lets see how the councillors go having to walk an extra five blocks for their lattes on Sunday mornings whilst negotiating the cycle way on Victoria Road.

Mindless waste of money. Show me someone whom will benefit and I'll show you some who lives elsewhere! 

Good investment in infrastructure

Its great to see the NZTA putting money into Dunedin, and funding most of this infrastructure (3 million of 4.5 million). The council are getting triple their investment in this. Cycleways are labour intensive projects that provide jobs in the short term in Dunedin.

The cycleways will also have a long term benefit to Dunedin. Good to see the council was not swayed by one (late) opinion.

Cycle lanes

Vandervis seems to be the only man on council with common sense and a notion that this spending is, as he puts it "lunacy".

Other than him they seem hell bent on spending our money on their pie in the sky agenda items.

Most people I 've spoken to on this cycle path issue think it's nuts. And I agree. 

Secret planning

As tenders for construction are being called now, the plans exist. Rather than keeping the plans secret, how about releasing all the details now and let the public consider the ramifications?

Two weeks consultation is not a joke, it is an insult being foisted upon people by a bunch of insular, protected council workers. And the only conclusion I can reach is they are scared to release the truth of their plans to the people who pay their wages.

Which of the people's representatives, our so called councillors, is working covertly to keep the truth from the public?

Waste of money

Debt $ 600,000,000 and counting, this council still won't listen.

"Its debateable" maybe not even nice to have, certainly not essentual, there is a ground swell of people effected by this madness whom the council simply will not listen to.

Reduce the debt stop your madness. 

Cycle Lanes

As part of the consultation plan have cyclists been involved? I have talked to quite a few cyclists about the proposed changes to Silverton Street. The ones I have talked to have concerns about the shared uphill path which suddenly ends at the top of Silverton Street. Cyclists are then merged into traffic at a busy intersection! They also said as the road is wide enough when they are cycling on the road the traffic is aware of them. This will not be the case as they suddenly drop in on an uphill into accelerating traffic at an intersection. I presume the footpath will be widened therefore the road narrowed. If this is the case it will also mean moving all the power poles. No wonder this may go over budget. This is all to link the shops. The Highcliff shops are an important part of our community but it is hardly a shopping Centre. Finishing the paths down both sides of the Harbour should be a priority. What lovely places to cycle.

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