AA says road change could snarl traffic

AA Otago District Council chairman Malcolm Budd says his organisation is opposing proposed...
AA Otago District Council chairman Malcolm Budd says his organisation is opposing proposed changes to Dunedin’s one-way state highway system. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
If planners get proposed road changes wrong, they could bring Dunedin city centre traffic to a standstill, the New Zealand Automobile Association says.

The AA is critical of a proposal that did not give any information on how the options might affect traffic flows, but which the association says could halve the capacity of major roads and lower speed limits in the city centre.

The NZ Transport Agency, Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council are looking at changing the one-way north-south pair through the central city, and other roading changes, as they work out how to keep people moving around the central city, where a new hospital is due to be built over the next decade.

AA Otago District Council chairman Malcolm Budd said without evidence-based decision-making, the proposed changes not only could make traffic in Dunedin "substantially worse", but Dunedin could be headed down another failed transport project like the 2015 South Dunedin cycleways.

"And then they’re going to have to turn around and say ‘Oh, we’re going to have to rethink all of this.’ They’re going to have to rip it all up and start again."

The AA has made a four-page submission as part of a public online survey being done by the project group.

The mistakes in the South Dunedin cycleway network cost the city council hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove after a public outcry when they were installed five years ago, Mr Budd said.

The multi-agency group behind the current $450,000 "programme business case" under way is soliciting feedback on proposals to either keep the two one-way state highways through the central city, and introduce a slow-speed zone on both, or turn the southbound Castle St one-way state highway into a 50kmh two-way highway and the Cumberland St one-way state highway into a two-way 30kmh local road with cycle lanes.

Transport agency regional relationships director Jim Harland said at the start of the consultation "even the cheapest" options under consideration would cost more than $100million.

The AA criticises the "poor process" that had not presented any evidence of analysis of the potential impact on traffic for public consideration.

"Transport modelling demonstrating the impacts the changes would have on the transport system should have been completed before options were put to the public for feedback, with the results made publicly available," the submission reads.

"The public is being asked to give feedback on options based on streetscape images, without any information on how the transport system would perform."

It also opposes changing Dunedin’s city-centre to a two-way system, and calls for evidence to be used in decisions on any future speed-limit, or parking, changes.

However, it supports the proposed upgrade of Wharf and Thomas Burns Sts, a "harbour arterial" route so the road could handle more heavy vehicles.

Mr Budd said a growing city would produce more traffic travelling through it, and "the arterial route is the only option to get the traffic out of that one-way street system".

"We’re not looking five, 10 years, we’re looking 20, 30 years down the track," Mr Budd said.

Last week, the project’s joint client lead, and city council transport strategy manager Nick Sargent said only about a third of the 290 responses so far were in favour of doing away with the one-way system and moving to a two-way system.

The information the group had on how the changes to Dunedin streets might affect travel times through the city, or which intersections might get traffic build-up due to the proposed changes, would only be made public "at the post-engagement stage".

The consultation closes tomorrow.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

Comments

The DCC did exactly the same thing with their waste futures survey. No data or costs to base any decision making on. Have they completely lost the plot - rhetorical question really.

And if they went back to a two-way street that would still cut the city in two, how would the ambulance, fire and police be able to respond to emergency calls from their current base facilities !!!
These so called planners, show all the hallmarks of ideologies wanting to pedestrianise the city with NO consideration as to how it operates.
These so called 'plans' are a pathetic place to start a critical decision for the cities future. The establishment elite have created a position for themselves that is untenable for the city and they show NO signs of reconciliation.
They have to be removed from the process.

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