Cycleway development divides the pundits

A cyclist passes the North Ground, where the new cycle lane will result in the removal of most of...
A cyclist passes the North Ground, where the new cycle lane will result in the removal of most of these car parks. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery.
Dunedin's $8 million cycleway on the city’s one-way system has the support of educational, motoring and cycling interests —  but it has been given an overwhelming black mark by many Otago Daily Times readers.

Motoring advocate the Automobile Association said yesterday while it was concerned about a loss of parking, it was pleased to see the project going ahead.

Cycling advocate Spokes also supported a project it said should increase the number of cyclists on a safer route.

That came after two affected parties in the first stage of the cycleway, the Otago Museum and University of Otago, yesterday got behind the project.

However, the ODT Facebook page attracted plenty of negative comment.

Of the more than 350  comments,  the vast majority opposed the project.

The responses included everything from suggesting the money should be spent on  Dunedin Hospital, to those who thought cyclists should pay registration fees.

Many bemoaned the loss of 258 car parks. One even suggested it would be "cheaper to buy all Dunedin cyclists a car".

The NZ Transport Agency this week confirmed work would start in May on the separated cycleway on Dunedin’s one-way system, with two routes running north and south on the State Highway between Queen’s Gardens and the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

The project was intended to provide safe cycling on a roading system over-represented in fatal and serious crashes involving cyclists.The first stretch of the project, funded by the NZTA, would be built between the botanic garden and Albany St.

Final details, including the exact number and placement of parks, are still to be finalised.

AA Otago District Council deputy chairman Alan Race said the organisation had been involved as the project was developed.

"It’s good to see it happening," Mr Race said.

The cycleway had been  on AA’s agendas "for several years".

The organisation  was initially concerned about a cycleway on State Highway 1.

"But it’s inevitable that’s where it has to be, and so if that’s where it has to be, as long as best practice standards are followed, we can’t ask for more than that."

The AA’s "big concern" was contact between cyclists and motorists.

"Certainly, we can’t have cyclists in contact with vehicles. It’s just got to be safe."

Compromises had been made with the latest plan having added parking, but there was still a loss of parking.

"We would be looking to the Dunedin City Council to address that need as much as possible."

Mr Race said all types of transport had to fit on Dunedin  roads.

"Somehow we’ve got to all fit."

Spokes chairman Jon Dean  said the group was "pretty excited" the project was getting close to the construction phase.

"In general we think it’s going to be a really good asset for the city, and especially for cyclists to get from North Dunedin to the university and to town.

"It’s going to be a real change to how cyclists get from the north to the south."

Lanes protected from traffic mitigated all the risks cyclists had to face in the past, risks that resulted in the deaths of four cyclists in the past few years on the one-ways.

Spokes  wanted to be involved as the final details of the first stage were put in place before construction in May.

Both the AA and Spokes said they were happy with the consultation they had had with the NZTA.

A spokesman for the Alhambra-Union Rugby Club, which could lose most of  more than 50  parks either side of  its North Ground home, said the club did not want to discuss the matter until after its next meeting early next month.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

Comments

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The cycleway does not divide Pundit Nehru, it exercises him. I am unhappy if the cycleway somehow encroaches on the Alhambra. Yes, users have to learn to get along. Vehicles are not conduit hegemonic now.

Losing car parks? Just because you buy a car does not mean the council has to give you a place to park it. I just bought a dishwasher... does the council now have to provide a kitchen?

Your article says the plan has added parking. This is just an alternative truth. (The Trump effect arrives in Dunedin) This plan removes fewer car park spaces, it adds nothing.

And your choice of photo is interesting. It indicates a lycra clad biker. Lycra clad riders being typical of the type of cyclist that drives most other people nuts. The type who think cycling is always a race, they need to be first and all too often ignore road rules whilst doing so. Not saying for one second that this particular rider is such a person, but to many of us, the attitude fits the clothes.

Here's the whole sentence Keith: "Compromises had been made with the latest plan having added parking, but there was still a loss of parking." No alternative truth, it says exactly what you did. Nice to see you prioritise parking over lives.
Lycra, or more accurately, tight fitting stretch clothing, happens to be the most comfortable clothing to wear while cycling. Especially on longer rides. So you'll often see the most experienced and confident cyclists wearing this gear. They'll know when to take a lane so they don't get squeezed out on a corner. They filter to the front of the lights so they don't get run over by turning traffic. They'll probably have experienced close calls with car doors and avoid riding in that zone if possible. If they are doing 45-50kmh or more, they'll not be riding in the gutter. And they'll still have cars try to overtake them on roundabouts, break check them for not doing 50 coming up to a blind corner marked 35kmh, yell abuse at you for just being on the road, fail to indicate when turning, overtaking, or pulling into park. Cyclists not following the rules may be annoying, but motorists not doing so will get you killed.

"Build for the traffic you want, not for the traffic you have". Other cities has proven that safer cycleways + reduced parking do encourage (or force) more people to cycle AND improves car traffic too. It's also a cheaper option.
This is not popular but the only possible long term solution if Dunedin wants to grow. From one hand: there's no room for one-ways to expand and accommodate more cars, terrain is unsuitable to build fast highway around the city (and budget would be astronomical). From the other hand: there's almost no real winter i.e. snow/ice on roads so cycling can be made safe all year round. You don't like chilling wind and rain? Proper gear will fix it. Not fit enough for hills? E-bikes will come to rescue.

KeithMcC
In my experience, it is not the cyclists who insist on being in front, it is cars. Assuming a cyclist should travel slower than a car in a built up area is ludicrous. So is assuming they should behave like second class road users. The Lycra clad cyclists are perhaps more likely to have the same strong sense of entitlement as drivers do and, like it or not, the law gives them the same rights, so if it's ok for drivers to have a sense of entitlement, why shouldn't cyclists?
The anger and frustration should go toward the NZTA for roads that don't accomodate the equal rights of both cyclist and driver well. Hence, this plan for change is a fantastic solution to a genuine problem. It deserves the support of both cyclists and drivers alike.

Millions and millions of dollars spent in the interest of a small group in a city unsuited to bicycles either topographically or climatically. Students rarely, if ever, use the facilities. People in hill suburbs cannot use it.
At the same time, when the city should support the re-building of the cable car up High St, which would benefit the city enormously, it is wasting money on cycle facilities that are unexceptional and rarely used. What an appalling waste. The Council should be ashamed.

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