$30 million cycleway network supported

Syd Brown
Syd Brown
A proposal to build a network of strategic cycleways through Dunedin - costing up to $30 million - has won initial support from city councillors, and prompted a warning.

The proposal was presented to the Dunedin City Council's planning and environment committee yesterday, where it won approval from councillors to proceed to public consultation.

However, Cr Syd Brown, chairman of the council's finance, strategy and development committee, stressed the need to communicate the project's timeline.

It was intended the project, if confirmed, would be built over 20 to 30 years to help minimise the cost to ratepayers.

Cr Brown told yesterday's meeting he fully supported the project, but was concerned the timeline would need to be "stressed".

Otherwise, those with an interest in one element of the network - perhaps not scheduled to be built until near the end of the construction timeline - might expect their component to be completed sooner, he said.

Instead, he suggested linking the development of different parts of the network to funding allocations in the council's long-term council community plan, which covers 10-year periods.

"We need to be quite clear that this is a 20-year vision and it's looking at achieving it over a 20-year period," he said.

Cr Richard Thomson said he accepted the need to spread the work over a longer period, but believed the council's commitment to the project should also remain flexible and not be locked in to a 20-year timeline.

That would allow the council to accommodate the impact of rising petrol prices, which he believed would continue, and encourage a greater shift towards alternative transportation.

Their comments came after the Otago Daily Times on Monday reported the project envisaged a mix of cycle lanes, separated cycle lanes, shared and exclusive cycle paths, tunnels and overpass bridges built along the city's key cycling corridors.

Dunedin City Council transportation planning manager Sarah Connolly said the project was in response to public calls through annual plan submissions for cycle facilities, and aimed to address cycle safety issues.

The project was a 20-to-30-year vision, costing between $12 million and $20 million, with a 50% contingency to cover the cost of tunnels, bridges and underpasses and some other costs not included in the budget.

The work excluded the harbour circuit already being funded, and the Mosgiel to Dunedin route, which was being considered separately under the council's southern cycleway initiative.

The costs did not include the possibility of New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) funding, which it might attract, she said. Work could also be done alongside other roading work, lowering the cost considerably.

Also yesterday, Cr Andrew Noone suggested new wording to stress the aim of reducing fatalities and serious injuries on the cycleway network.

Cr Teresa Stevenson also received an assurance submitters would be able to raise the prospect of cycleways running through the University of Otago campus.

Consultation would run until next month, leading to a final report presented to the committee.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

 

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