Crossing worries cycling group

Spokes committee member Heike Cebulla-Elder navigates the busy Portsmouth Dr bicycle crossing...
Spokes committee member Heike Cebulla-Elder navigates the busy Portsmouth Dr bicycle crossing yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Cyclists are worried that somebody could be killed at the Portsmouth Dr cycle crossing, but the Dunedin City Council says there are no plans for changes.

Cycling advocacy group Spokes Dunedin has starting an online petition calling on the council to make safety improvements at the crossing.

Spokes committee member Heike Cebulla-Elder said the crossing, at the Portobello Rd end of Portsmouth Dr, had no traffic controls beyond a yellow roadside barrier marking the crossing point.

She said she had nearly been hit there in the past and two weeks ago had met a schoolboy, who she thought was about 11 or 12 years old, trapped on the island in the centre of the crossing.

‘‘For him it was clearly super scary. In the end I went across and helped him to cross the street because I think honestly otherwise he would not have crossed.’’

The group understood that measures such as introducing traffic lights at the crossing would be very expensive, and were interested in cheaper controls that were easier to install, such as more signs to improve driver awareness of cyclists in the area.

The road has a 50kmh speed limit, but motorists frequently drove faster than this, Ms Cebulla-Elder said.

Another potential solution was lighted speed limit signs to operate during morning and evening peak hours.

Spokes was hoping to gather 1000 signatures on its petition, and invited city councillors on a bike ride with its members to show them the danger first hand, she said.

Council transport strategy manager Nick Sargent said the council was aware of challenges at the crossing, particularly during peak traffic periods.

He confirmed council staff had met Spokes representatives earlier in the year to discuss the safety issues in the area, but said the council had no immediate plans to change the crossing.

Improvements would need to be part of a wider upgrade of the intersection, which would be a major project.

There were no plans to start such a project before 2024, but it had been identified as a potential project for the NZ Transport Agency’s 2024-27 national land transport programme.