Cycle lane usage confusion reigns

Cyclists use the new cycleway in Portobello Rd between Andersons Bay Rd and Portsmouth Dr. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Cyclists use the new cycleway in Portobello Rd between Andersons Bay Rd and Portsmouth Dr. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Changes made to accommodate a cycle lane on Portobello Rd continue to generate complaints, but the Dunedin City Council says it will still be weeks before the problem is sorted.

The four-lane section of Portobello Rd, between Andersons Bay Rd and Portsmouth Dr, was reduced to two lanes earlier this year as part of the South Dunedin Cycle Network.

That led to confusion among motorists, some of whom still wanted to drive from Andersons Bay Rd towards the harbour in what is now the wrong lane.

Much of the confusion, council roading projects engineer Evan Matheson said, stemmed from the fact the two lanes that were now a shared footpath/cycle lane still looked like part of the road.

''We thought we'd have a relatively low-cost treatment to the shared path area.

''That assumption was probably incorrect and that area seems to be distracting or confusing people who use that part of of Portobello Rd, so we need to do some changes there.

''I don't know what the cost of that will be.''

He admitted he was fielding calls about ''a lot'' of near misses.

''Obviously it's great people are telling us there is still clearly a problem and we need to do some work there, even with the changes we have made lately, including doubling the number of arrows painted on the lanes, there's something there still confusing motorists.''

It sounded like a simple problem, he said, but it had become more complex because of the need to guarantee access for residents' vehicles, rubbish trucks or emergency vehicles across the shared path.

The priority would be to change the shared path area to make it clear it was no longer a road, but how that was best done, for example with landscaping or road resurfacing or other ways, was not known.

Senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema had been charged with finding a solution.

He said a meeting of staff was planned to discuss options, but that would be weeks away at least, because of other commitments.

At the moment, what was there could be described as an interim measure.

''We've got to make the other side not look like a road, so then you feel actually you are in the correct lane on the road.''

There were plenty of ideas about how that could be achieved, but they needed to be worked through into one staged plan.

It would be at least a couple of weeks before he started looking at the shared path.

''It's not unsafe the way it is, so if it sits like that for a few more weeks I don't believe it will an issue.''

After that, the council would revisit the actual road, to ensure it was as clearly marked as possible.

Mr Matheson said the work was part of the first stage of the cycle network, and was slightly over the $1.55 million budget, at $1.6 million, not including the work needed to define the shared path.

Any funding for that part of the work could come from other parts of the total $4.5 million budget for the network.

He said tenders had just closed for the second stage of the project, the construction of which will affect more residences around South Dunedin.

The work is expected to start next month and includes making Bellona St a quiet street, with some changes to exits/entrances to parts of the street.

It also includes constructing separated cycle lanes the length of Coughtrey and Richardson streets.

The company that won the tender would decide the order in which the work would be done, but there was a communications plan, including letter drops, for affected residents, to let them know when work was planned, Mr Matheson said.

Plans were being made earlier for signs and markings to be installed as soon as cycleways were built, to avoid the confusion that had resulted at Portobello Rd, although there were no changes in stage two as radical as those made to Portobello Rd, he said.

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

Minorities

Err sorry but let's get real here. Cycle lanes however good here in Dunedin will never lead to a sudden increase of the young, old or in fact anybody suddenly leaving their cars for two wheels. We live in a city full of hills that for 90% of the population here will never be on their 'to do list' on a daily commute basis.

What we need is a top class bus service that has easy to understand route maps and ticket prices that make using them cheaper to get to town than taking the family there in the car. We need roads that when wet don't lose the lane markings or in the sun don't have more repair markings visible than the white lines we are meant to pick out for a safe route. Don't get me started on the lack of a rail service from here to Christchurch.

Bumps in the road - but towards the right goal

To those that think we don't need this cycle network, you may not be aware that young people, creatives, and millennials want other transportation options in addition to driving. There is considerable evidence from across the world, in places colder and hillier than Dunedin, that building cycle paths stimulates more cycling among the non "hard core" users - mums and bubs. There is also evidence that walking and bicycle commuting networks stimulate economic development - mainly because the young and innovative want to live there. Sure, there are going to be bumps in the road, and the council may not get everything right, but we should support their efforts to bring Dunedin into the 21st century.

Muppets

OK, could the planners please explain how with computer modelling, surveys and site visits they can still stuff up something as simple as a cycle lane? We don't need them. and in a city that is slowly dying I can think of plenty of better ways to spend our hard earned. I am sick of cyclists who ignore every road rule possible yet scream foul at motorists at every chance they get. Cycling is only for those who live on the flats, not the hills unless you are an athlete) so why waste money on such a small road rule breaking minorities? I take it you can guess I am not a fan!

Failed green experiment?

Fuel costs $2.30 a litre, and not everyone can afford that. Cycling is not a choice for everyone that does it.

Was this done to undermine public support?

There are plenty of places cycleways are needed and would be welcome. Finishing the Port Chalmers cycleway should be a priority, with the harbour section of the Portobello Road one a close second. A cycleway on this section of Portobello Road was never needed - the road was wide and underutilised. It has been handled so badly that it makes me wonder if this section (and others in the area) were done so that the above two projects have to be cancelled due to "lack of public support", thus saving money.

The failed green experiment takes hold

The failed green cycle experiment is taking over the city leaving chaos in its path. Hold in mind that this is just the South Dunedin part of the plan. 

Would the staff in the planning department care to tell us their plans for the rest of the city? I'm assuming Highgate and the rest of Maori Hill will also have to suffer like the residents and visitors of South Dunedin.

Why did Greater Dunedin not make their cycle agenda clear when they campaigned for office?   A transparent mandate should have been sought before such radical schemes were rushed through. This mess will take years to clean up.

Confusing and dangerous

It's confusing, dangerous and, as a local to the area, completely void of use.

The intersection near the BP garage is attrocious and I've personally had several near misses from people who have no idea what the new layout is.  

There is a serious issue with the council's insistence on installing these cycle corridors to the detriment of normal traffic flows. It would appear from the outside that no significant research has been made into the on going impacts of other road users. The consultation process is a joke, the unneccessary expenditure from a council struggling to keep rates rises to 3% is a joke and probalby most importantly the total lack of use by 'cycle commuters' if frankly farcical. 

I'm sure looking back this will be another entry into the DCC Hall of Shame for stupid ideas. 

Cannot be tolerated

This road was always an enigma. One of the best road layouts in the city. A wide and beautiful ride mostly unused. It must have cost a fortune to make as it was on a par with a motorway. Perfectly made and used without incident. Now ruined and more dangerous. Another "easy fix" which lo and behold doesn't work without more money being spent on something which didn't need fixing to start. This kind of project mishandling cannot be tolerated in the current climate of the city's finances. If it requires more money it should come from the planners' pocket. Why is there is no accountability at all in this city? [Abridged]

No money

The reason there is no money to fix it is that the money to improve our city is being sucked up by the white elephant Forsyth Barr Stadium that the city apparently "needed to move forward"

Why don't those people that jumped on that wagon head down to this area with their picks and shovels and take ownership of their problem? 

Cycle lane confusion

So - there are "a lot" of near misses, but "it's not unsafe the way it is."

Go figure.

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