AA upset it was not consulted over lane

AA Otago has grave concerns about a separated cycle lane on State Highway 1 through central Dunedin and is disappointed at a lack on involvement in developing the proposal.

''In our view, heavy trucks and cyclists don't mix well,'' AA Otago district council member Hudson Biggs said.

''In our view, the arterial routes on alternative roads should be investigated.''

The proposal has been developed by a working party led by the New Zealand Transport Agency and including Dunedin City Council staff and cycle advocacy group Spokes.

The aim is to improve cycle safety over the long term on the two one-way roads, following cyclist deaths.

Mr Biggs said AA Otago represented 33,000 members.

''We are disappointed the NZTA has had little contact with us on developing the proposals and we're also concerned, given the ageing population of Dunedin, that many people are becoming dependent on their cars, and the loss of car parks in that critical area, particularly around the hospital, is of serious concern to us.''

Its primary concern, however, was about having more cyclists on the same roads as heavy trucks.

Although the proposal outlines separation could be achieved in various ways, including by planter boxes or concrete kerbs, and the lane would be installed where parks were, Mr Biggs said the AA wanted to see how the actual separation would look, and were concerned about how narrow the lanes already were.

Council staff said the idea was first to have a proposal that the stakeholders cpould use for consultation.

Working group member Ron Minnema, the council's transport operations senior traffic engineer, said the AA had been approached about some short-term changes already made to improve cycle safety on the road but had made no comment on those.

It was not appropriate to involve AA Otago and ''all the other groups out there'' at the preliminary stage. Everyone else would become involved once the council had approved a proposal for consultation.

Cycling advocate group Spokes was included because the work was part of the development of an overall city-wide strategic cycling network, which Spokes was involved with.

Mr Minnema said he and NZTA project manager Simon Underwood had been to one of the AA's board meetings early in the piece to talk about possible changes.

''We have told the AA they will be consulted on the proposals, but the reason they haven't yet is because we needed the approval to go out and do the consultation.''

Consultation is expected before the end of the year.

- debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz


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