Council confident of cycleway plans

The Dunedin City Council has been accused of putting cyclists first, but remains confident of winning over businesses upset at roading changes in part of Portobello Rd.

The criticism from CSL Containers director Philip Chapman came ahead of a meeting to discuss revised plans for Portobello Rd, between Andersons Bay Rd and Portsmouth Dr, next week.

The meeting, to be chaired by an Automobile Association Otago representative, would see council staff presenting a revised road layout to business owners.

Council infrastructure services committee chairwoman Cr Kate Wilson said the changes would include extra provision for site access for businesses along the road.

However, the revised plans would not include the reinstatement of a second northbound lane - something businesses had called for late last year, she confirmed.

The road was reduced from four lanes to two last year, to accommodate the new cycleway, prompting public criticism the new layout was confusing and unsafe.

The council agreed to review the layout after meeting affected businesses and other parties in November, and Mr Chapman said at the time he hoped a second northbound lane would be reinstated.

That would leave enough room for large trucks to enter and exit industrial sites along the road without turning into oncoming traffic, while also leaving one lane for the cycleway.

Cr Wilson said yesterday reverting to a two-lane road for northbound traffic, while leaving a single southbound lane in place, risked creating more problems.

''If you've got a two-lane road on one side, and not on the other, it actually confuses people.''

Instead, council staff had contacted ''every single business'' and revised the layout in other ways, based on their current and future site access needs, she said.

The results would ''better meet the business needs there'', and they would be ''very pleased with the end result'', she predicted.

Mr Chapman said businesses in the area wanted two lanes, and anything less than that would be ''just nonsense''.

''We are not going to be happy at all,'' he said.

''Big trucks need two lanes. It just doesn't make sense ... They are focused on cyclists. That's the problem. They are not focused on safety or industry.''

Council transportation operations group manager Gene Ollerenshaw yesterday

confirmed the road would remain one lane in each direction, but said ''there's more to it than that''.

He was reluctant to divulge details ahead of next week's meeting, but said the northbound lane would be widened to create more room for vehicles entering and exiting the business sites.

He would not say by how much the lane would be widened, but was ''optimistic'' the changes would meet business's needs.

AA Otago district cycling spokesman Hudson Biggs said he had seen the revised plans and was ''comfortable'' they would satisfy the concerns of business owners and road users.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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