Businesses opposed to cycleway

Lined up opposing a cycleway on Wharf St are (front, from left) Tony Grubb (Realcold), Roger Fewtrell (Southern Hospitality), Paul Gell (Southern Hospitality), Nigel Broad (Plato), Tony Cooke (Ellison's Aluminium) and Christine Young (Cylinder Testing Services), with employees at the rear. Photo by Gerard O'Brien. A group of Dunedin businesses is the latest to take a stand against cycleways in the city, getting together to oppose a route through the harbourside industrial area.

Representatives from five businesses in Roberts St say a proposal to run a cycleway along Wharf St will promote a dangerous mix of cycling and industrial activity.

They say changes to an intersection resulting from the proposal will make it more difficult to access their businesses, which are already struggling in a tough economic environment.

The criticism is the latest outcry in a series of negative reactions from residential and business groups of the council's cycleways.

The Dunedin City Council responded the proposals for the area had come after consultation with representatives from harbourside businesses, the Automobile Association, cycling advocacy group Spokes, KiwiRail, police, the NZ Fire Service and council staff.

But the businesses say they did not know about the consultation.

And despite communication from council staff recently, they feel they were not being listened to.

The proposed stretch of cycleway would take the South Dunedin cycle route through to the Jetty St overbridge.

The proposals for the area were put together after strong opposition to plans to close access to Robert St from Wharf St to accommodate the cycleway.

A preferred option involving taking the cycleway along Wharf St and making some layout changes at the Wharf St-Roberts St intersection, rather than closing it off, was one of four routes on which the group sought feedback.

But the businesses said the restrictions on access would still be a problem for them.

Asked why that was, when there were two other access roads from Wharf St to the area, Southern Hospitality's Roger Fewtrell said any added difficulty of access made it easier for customers to use competitors' services.

Plato's Tony Broad said businesses chose their locations because of access.

He said there was no complete plan for cycleways across the board - instead the system seemed to be going ahead in ''an ad hoc way''.

Cylinder Testing Services' Christine Young said the group was ''providing local jobs for local people, and trying to look after the local economy''.

''What do we get? - Just s***.''

The businesses wanted the cycleway that already runs along Kitchener and Birch Sts to be the preferred route. They said Portsmouth Dr and Wharf St were not well used by cyclists, particularly when compared with the thousands of vehicles that used them.

Council senior transportation planner Lisa Clifford, who has been communicating with Mrs Young, said consultation was continuing and no decision had been made.

She said one business in the area, Dive Otago, and a real estate agent for landowners, had been part of a consultation group.

Mrs Young said she had known nothing about the consultation.

Ms Clifford said the businesses' proposal for the Kitchener St cycleway to remain was not possible, as there were too many trucks parking on, and crossing, the cycle lane. The Wharf St route was shorter.

''As much as cars want to go the short way, cyclists want to go the short way, too.''

She said there would have been changes at the Roberts St entrance without the cycleway, as it was not safe.

A report and recommendation will go to the infrastructure services committee on July 24.

Mayor Dave Cull said he could not understand why the group was going to the media while consultation was still under way.

Mrs Young said it was because the businesses felt they were not being listened to.

A petition asking the council to return two-way access to one end of Marlow St, which was reduced to create a ''quiet street'' for cyclists, has attracted 460 signatures so far. Organiser Trevor McStay said he planned to present the petition to councillors at the infrastructure services committee meeting.


Stick to the facts

"A group of Dunedin businesses is the latest to take a stand against cycleways in the city."

This is doing them more than a small disservice ODT. They are not "taking a stand against cycleways", they are opposing a specific route for one cycleway. Stick to the facts.


I am personally very grateful and excited we are moving forward into the future of public transport and cycleways.  Owning and running a car will inevitably become too expensive for most.  DCC, please improve your consultation process and keep the public and businesses informed. 


Fact check.

The cycleway is already there. The changes address a dangerous intersection on the existing cycleway. Business have been, and continue to be consulted and represented.

Even the ODT discussed the options being investigated weeks ago




Consultation on cycleways

Dave Cull cannot understand why businesses would go to the media whilst consultation is in progress. There is a very good reason for this. As the building of the stadium demonstrates, the council's version of consultation is to go to meetings, listen to the public and then go and do what the planners and council staff have previously determined. Consultation is only worthy if the views of the majority are considered more valuable than the views of the minority.
The majority of Dunedin citizens are car users - I don't see them included in consultation.

Are you kidding me?

I bike along there everyday to and from work and that stretch of cycleway including portsmouth drive would be one of the most used cycleways in Dunedin. Yet the most dangerous parts of the cycleway are the business accessways and the intersections.

I have had too many near misses there, especially since the cycleway stops and start at each intersection and cars/trucks roaring around the wide corners at near 50kph. Also vehicles think it is acceptable to illegally block the cycleway while they are trying to get onto Birch St (I include the carparks behind the railway station in this too).

It is so bad I don't use the cycle lane heading towards the peninsula between the overbridge and just short of strathallen st. I ride on the road instead because their I have the same right as vehicles and don't have to give way to turning vehicles.

Close the intersection, it is a hazard for not only cyclists but vehicle turning onto Birch St and a little bit more education for drivers wouldn't go amiss too!

Is 5 a group?

Only five businesses in the photo

Dangerous roads

The Wharf-Kitchener and Wharf-Roberts intersections are incredibly dangerous on a bike. Many cyclists (myself included) riding into town via Portsmouth drive are already turning right onto the sealed path at the molars sculpture, then right into kitchener, left into french, right into buller, left into birch - as we are legally entitled to do. It adds about 30seconds to my commute. Since I have started taking this route into town (rather than continuing along portsmouth into wharf) I have had no near misses with bad drivers, nor have I felt unsafe. Establishing this as a formal cycle route would, in my eyes, be beneficial to all parties.

p.s. when riding out from town I choose to stay on the road on wharf st rather than use the shared pathway with its ambiguity around right-of-ways at intersections. I leave the road on to the cycleway at the pullin to the carpark at the molars. This is because I feel more likely to be seen and treated as a legitimate road-user when riding this stretch on the road rather than on the footpath (shared cycleway).

Cycleway suggestion

Why not advance the West Harbour shared path, which I feel would be univerally welcomed?

What is there already is truly great facility, widely used and a great safety improvement.


Not used much?

"The businesses wanted the cycleway that already runs along Kitchener and Birch Sts to be the preferred route. They said Portsmouth Dr and Wharf St were not well used by cyclists, particularly when compared with the thousands of vehicles that used them."

Portsmouth and Wharf aren't "well used by cyclists" because the shared use bike/walking path ends at every cross street before being picked up after. So bikers and pedestrians are at their own risk to see vehicles coming from all sides as they try to scurry across the streets. It doesn't take a very clever person to figure out that running a shared bike/pedestrian path in punctuated 200m stretches is going to get poor results at best. Bikers, at least, are slightly safer riding around the back side and contending with vehicles parking and pulling out of the various businesses along the marked bike lane on Kitchener and Birch, which adds significantly to the biked distance.

On a related note, I wonder what the ancestors of all these forward thinking business people had to say when the horseless carriage was introduced. The City Council really does have a lot of balls to juggle in this situation, but some people, like a recent driver up on Highcliff, won't be happy until everyone on two wheels has been put on four, in one way or another. I just don't know who's going to pay for all the extra autos and wheelchairs, in that scenario... 

Invisible cyclists

They said Portsmouth Dr and Wharf St were not well used by cyclists

Really?  During the morning and afternoon on the way to and from work, there are constantly cyclists going past. I know because I look out for them when leaving the Kitchener Street reserve carpark.

Maybe it's a case of nobody can see them, same as when they pull out in front of them or run them over. Invisible cyclists..

That Roberts Street intersection is a nightmare anyway in a car at busy times-  the heavy traffic coming off the bridge combined with the low visibility around the corner by the Dive Otago building makes it one to avoid.

They choose not to see them, because it doesn't suit their argument. 

'Not being listened to'

My my, doesn't that sound familiar. Can't have business, common sense or the majority of citizens standing in the way of your beloved cycle lanes, can we Dave?

It's a free society

Mayor Cull's remarkable contribution to yet another bungled cycleway consultation is that he cannot understand why people are going to the media while "consultation" is on.

I don't know these frustrated business people, but I fully understand why they have gone to the ODT. It's the only way to get good information about what the DCC is planning on their door step. The DCC's planning, consultation and commnications is poor. Their silly decisions have a huge impact on how Dunedin citizens live, play and work. Can the Mayor not understand this, or is he happy sounding like a dictator who thinks the media has no place in how our town is run?  

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