Cycleways 'a bit more difficult'

Works on Portobello Rd this week. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Works on Portobello Rd this week. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The Dunedin City Council says it is taking stock of the South Dunedin cycle network and reviewing the way forward as project costs and complications start to mount.

The review may result in changes and/or delays to what has already been described as an ambitious plan.

The council wants to build the network of cycleways criss-crossing South Dunedin over 18 months, for $4.5 million.

But after completing one stage of the four-stage project, a third ($1.6 million) of the budget has already been spent, even with one of the routes bumped to a later stage, and with the most complicated stages still to come.

Transportation group manager Gene Ollerenshaw said staff, who had not done such a project before, had to estimate costs.

But after the first stage of the project was completed and tenders received for the second, it had become clear the $4.5 million budget for the overall project might not be sufficient to complete all the remaining routes, as per the high-level network plan adopted by the council.

Staff were now ''re-forecasting'' the project budget to find out what it would actually cost.

As the council got into the detail of building the cycleways, it was finding things were ''a bit more difficult'' than the original lines on the cycle network map suggested, Mr Ollerenshaw said.

''For example, [putting a cycleway in] Macandrew Rd is much more complex and challenging than what we understood when it was first drawn as a line on the map. You go back to the strategic cycle network [previous name] and they were pretty big fat lines on a high-level, low-detail map.''

Some things had sounded simple, for example quiet streets, but staff were finding they required many build-outs and it was ''quite complicated'' to keep them safe.

It was prudent, rather than imperative, to do a review at this stage, he said.

''We haven't got a cost blowout or anything like that. We just don't want to get ourselves into that position.''

The situation was not unexpected; it had just evolved, as it tended to with such big, complicated projects, he said.

''As contract prices come in, you have to take stock of where you are. So, now we are looking forward, to see whether we still can do all the things we set out to do two years ago.''

Although tenders were in for the project's second stage, the contract would not be awarded until the review was complete.

The review would look at options for the remaining stages of the project, which at present included cycleways on some of South Dunedin's busiest streets, including Victoria Rd where residents recently got upset about a cycleway proposed for their street.

Asked if those stages could be delayed or changed, Mr Ollerenshaw said ''potentially''.

''We're just working through those at the moment. We haven't got any more details yet.''

Staff would complete the review over the next few weeks and present the options to councillors next month.

If substantially more money was needed to complete the project, the council would have to make a new application to the next national land transport programme round.

If it was a minor amount, it might be found within existing budgets.

A staff member working on the project last month called it ambitious for the time and budget given it.

Infrastructure committee chairwoman Cr Kate Wilson said Dunedin was one of the first cities to build such a network and there was no textbook on how to do it.

Estimating costs was always fraught, and it had been flagged to councillors there might be a problem with the budget once the tenders came in.

The council now had to think more strategically about how it finished the project. It may not be able to deliver ''absolutely everything'' in the time frame, but it had to be usable and up to standard.

''The worst thing would be having something that no-one wants to use.''

She did not think there was much will at the council to spend any more money on the project, so it was likely compromises would have to be made to see it achieved.

''We'll have to make savings elsewhere, or do it in a cleverer way.''

She said it was something the council wanted to finish.

''There will always be people not wanting to see change, but I think it's time this city realises that if it wants to grow, there has to be some change to attract people looking for a certain lifestyle.''

South Dunedin cycle network
Project budget: $4.5m (funded two-thirds by NZTA, one-third by ratepayers).
Spent: $1.6m on cycleways in Portsmouth Dr, Portobello Rd, Royal Cres, Victoria/Tahuna Rds, Shore St.
Left to spend: $2.9m.

Left to do:
Stage 2 (pre-tender estimate $1.1m): Cycleways in Auld, Marlow, Tedder, Fingall, Broughton and Waverley Sts, Coughtrey, Richardson, Bellona, New and Rugby Sts; Neville, King Edward and Princes Sts (along the Oval), Wilkie Rd. (Routes agreed).

Stage 3: (no cost estimate): Cycleways in Law St, Bathgate Park, Kirkcaldy and Moreau Sts; Musselburgh Rise, Silverton St, Tainui Rd, Cavell St. (Routes agreed).

Stage 4: (no cost estimate): Cycleways in Forbury, Macandrew, Hillside Rds, the remainder of Victoria Rd, South Rd, Wharf St, Gordon St and Vogel St. (Routes still to be agreed).

Timeframe: All cycleways to be built by July 2015.


A way forward

I'm a little surprised at some of the comments below.

The positive aspects of this spending- it will not just benefit cyclists, but calm traffic and provide shared walkways too, e.g. a wider path by the harbour.

This 1.5 million of city money to get 3 from NZTA. Can't be bad. Not comparable to the stadium.

Dunedin (and some commenters) need to look positively toward a sustainable future, not bash changes.

If people have objections send them to the council. Plans or paths can be improved if needed.



Of course you can

Thing is, Rob, most would rather not. Feel free to go for a drive today and see for yourself. Better yet, get on ya bike.

Statistics in Mornington

You can (just don't pedal fast)
You can (Get a bike trailer)
You can (You repeated your second point).
You come up with the statement that "most people with few resources prefer cars" and have the gall to lecture us on statistics?


It is a proven fact that 86.7% of all statistics are unreliable. I suspect that those quoted here are every bit as good.

I forgot to mention further some further reasons why bicycles are of limited utility:

  • You can't use them wearing decent clothes
  • You can't carry much on them
  • You can't go shopping using them. Try loading a family's groceries. DINKS and similar: no problem, of course.

Essentially, they are an indulgence for the middle class and a necessity for some with fewer resources. Take out the indulged middle class, and there would be few users. Even most people with few resources prefer cars.

We need common sense urgently

The difference with the overseas examples used below is that each community had $US25 million to spend over four years and they had the critical mass, engineering and planning skills and world-class infrastructure to make it work. The DCC is telling us they can't achieve their poor yet ambitous plans with the $NZ5 million LTSA/ratepayers' funds they have!

One thing Dunedin does not have is money to throw around to mindlessly dig up the roading infrastrucuture that has taken decades to build. In fact, each ratepayer in Dunedin is liable for $15,093 each due to the debt hole the Council has dug us all into. 

I am not anti-cycle lanes. If  they can be safe,  in the right place so everyone (pedestrians, cars etc) can get to their destinations conviently then they have merit. But the reality check is that they take a huge capital investment that this town is not going to have for many debt-laden years to come. 


I'm still waiting to see the thousands of cyclists they are building all these cycle ways

The majority of them may not appear until the cycleways are built. It's like wondering where all the cars are on a motorway that only has a couple of unconnected sections partly finished.

Once a creditable and safe cycleway infrastructure is completed, a lot more people will feel comfortable and get on their bikes to use them. At the moment you're only really seeing the 'road warriors' (~ 1% pop.) and a few of the 'enthused and confident' (~ 7% pop.).   The 'interested but concerned' group (~60%) won't appear until then.

Meanwhile the remaining 'no way, no how!' group (~32%) will continue to decry the cycleway initiatives as a waste of money.

Is is a waste? Well, please listen to this presentation by a Canterbury Geography lecturer before coming back to comment. 

Cycle lane

Was out at South D today GSV. I'm still waiting to see the thousands of cyclists they are building all these cycle ways for. City infrastructure - drainage water roads etc - you must come before cycle lanes for the minority and a small one at that. It's time for the DCC to get their act together and stop commiting stupidity with the ratepayers money.[Abridged]

Yes, they will come

Fernfrond, look at other examples.  Stadia around the world are money pits and Farry was arguing Dunedin's would be different.  Cycleways around the world are proving to be huge economic, health, and transport successes

Are you now saying, like Farry, that Dunedin would not follow the gobal experience? We need a properly developed cycleway infrastructure, and we need it urgently.

Will they really?

''There will always be people not wanting to see change, but I think it's time this city realises that if it wants to grow, there has to be some change to attract people looking for a certain lifestyle.''

Cr Wilson's comment sounds an awful lot like Mr Farry's build it and they will come. And we all know how well that worked, don't we..


Cycleways will be great

I think the cycleways will be great, and the network needs completion. Half a network is not very useful.

Still a good amount to spend, fortunately. Mainly NZTA funds.

Good to see the progress. I hope that the funds will stretch. Perhaps some of the new paths are a little overbuilt, wider than needed?



Cycleways in Dunedin

We now have a lot of cycleways, but where are the cyclists? They are almost non-existent, so why spend so much money?

Why won't it be used?

1. Most of Dunedin is hilly. It makes bicycle use less attractive.

2. Despite the best attempts of the Council it is still possible to obtain reasonable parking in the city.

3. The weather in Dunedin is not generally conducive to transport use that involves being in the wind, cold and rain.

4. Bicycles offer riders no protection in a collision with another vehicle (be it a car or bike) or on meeting the road at speed.

Mind you, because the laws of the road don't apply to cyclists - or so riders and the police think - and because they are a noisy minority,and because they do not have to pay for the huge costs involved in providing facilities to them, it may  make bike travel enticing to some.

Why wouldn't people use the cycle way?

People sure are down on the idea of a safe route for cycling. It would be good to know how many residents in Dunedin might potentially use it. Do we have this data? Perhaps some people are privy to secret squirrel information the rest of us don't have as they seem convinced no one will use it.

Why wouldn't people cycle if it is safe, flat and good exercise, saves money, the environment, the planet and our souls? Too much effort perhaps - what hope have humankind got in that case? Aw go on give it a go, you know you can do it!

Money? Who cares.

Go on. Spend up big. The financial benefits to Dunedin from a scarcely used cycleway will be huge. Well worth the expenditure.

Tourism? Economic development? Who needs it.

Go Council!

Colourful lines on maps

Now the Council are realising that hastily drawing pretty lines on maps to access NZTA funding, doesn't transform Dunedin into a green cycle commuting Nirvana, perhaps they could also publicise the full long term cycle network plan. Residents of the hill suburbs will not be immune from the lunacy being forced on South Dunedin rstepayers. I suggest people look carefully at the proposed cycle network detailed sub routes on the DCC website. See what lovely coloured lines the council planning employees have been drawing on Kaikorai Valley Road, Kenmure Road and Highgate for example and be afraid. Be very afraid!

But worth the investment long term

NZ study suggests up to 20 times return on the dollar for cycle friendly transport policy - >>Link<<


Here's what to do

Cancel it.

Cancel the whole thing. It's a frivilous waste to pander to a minority being driven by a select few individuals at the expense of  the Dunedin ratepayer. Almost nobody is using the stupid things, there is traffic chaos around the new and poorly thought out road alignments and now we're being told that there is a budget overspend. It's pretty obvious that the whole process has been poorly conceptualised, planned and is now being poorly financially managed. 

Maybe all council staff should be relegated to cycling to see how well suited it is to Dunedin commuters. 

It's time to take this back to a public consultation with all information (plans, budgets and known issues) made readily available to all instead of being pushed through dishonestly. The plan is a shameful agenda driven waste of public funds with zero benefit to the cities growth and they know it. [Abridged]

'Something no one wants to use'

It's scary to hear this finally said by Kate Wilson. 

You would expect due diligence would have been done to establish useage before the town is ripped up to create unsafe facilities that only a few people might use. Meanwhile the majority of residents are now realising just how silly these plans often are and how poor the DCC's consultation and planning is. 

Good on the ODT for getting to the bottom of this. Without your coverage we would all be in the dark. 


Hire a consultant

Once again, contractors and consultants can see the DCC coming from a mile away. The naive are about to get fleeced again.

Dunedin is not by a long shot the first city to build a cycleway network. There are many examples, some of which have even been visited by Councillors themselves!

The magnificent word "boondoggle" applies.

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