Cycleway tops list of Dunedin roading issues

Traffic passes a cyclist on State Highway 88 near Blanket Bay yesterday afternoon. Photo by...
Traffic passes a cyclist on State Highway 88 near Blanket Bay yesterday afternoon. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Judging by the number of submissions from the public, the completion of the Dunedin to Port Chalmers cycleway is the roading issue of the moment in Otago.

Of 196 submissions to the new draft regional land transport programme, 85 specifically address the need to complete the cycleway.

The programme contains a figure of $4,903,212 for the cycleway over the next three years.

However, all the funding is listed as "national" funding and still requires government approval.

The cycleway is part of the Otago Regional Transport Committee's $530 million programme of spending over the next three years.

The public was consulted on the programme and the committee will begin hearing submissions next week.

Many of those who made written submissions said they were prompted to comment on the cycleway because of a suggestion government funding for it was not assured.

Diana Rothstein, of Dunedin, said it would be "very disappointing" if the cycleway was not completed.

"The completion of this project has already taken far too long."

Andrew Last, of Aramoana, said he had been lobbying for the cycleway for four years and the slow progress was disheartening.

Hugh Davidson, of Port Chalmers, noted that it had taken 10 years to complete the first 2km stretch but, like all other submitters, he praised what had been done.

"The present cycleway is probably, dollar for dollar, one of the greatest investments this region has made in itself."

Regular cyclist Selwyn Yeoman, of Dunedin, considered State Highway 88 between Dunedin and Port Chalmers as "one of the most dangerous and un-cycle-friendly places I know", Lani Evans, of Port Chalmers, said there were "frequent, terrifying near-misses", Liana Machado, of Port Chalmers, wrote of "extreme stress" and David Barnes, of Dunedin, said the experience was "frankly, terrifying".

Most concerns were about sharing the highway with heavy vehicles travelling to and from Port Otago.

Steve Walker, of the 350-member Harbour Cycle Network, considered cyclists who used the highway took their lives into their hands.

"Surely, this road must rate as one of the most dangerous in New Zealand."

Blair Kennedy, of Port Chalmers, said cycling on the highway filled him with dread.

"There are so many places where trucks cannot pass cyclists legally."

Sue Heath, who commutes daily to and from Purakaunui considered motorists drove far too close to cyclists.

"I see motorists continually disregarding the safety of cyclists."

Dr Phaedra Upton, of Dunedin, noted that the 2006 census showed 1.5% of people cycled to work in Dunedin, down from 2.3% in 2001 and 2.7% in 1996.

"The reality is that Dunedin presents an unfriendly and potentially hazardous environment for cyclists."

Other issues addressed in the included upgrading SH1 from the Oval to Lookout Point in Dunedin, the need for more roadside stopping places, improvements to SH1 north of Balclutha, improving access to the harbour basin, the establishment of commuter rail services north and south of Dunedin, improvements to the Kawarau bridge, a new highway from Dunedin to Central Otago, the need for free buses, improved bridges across the Clutha River at Clydevale and the Manuherikia at Omakau, improvements to Queenstown public transport and to Riccarton Rd, Mosgiel.

The committee will hear submissions in Dunedin on May 19 and in Alexandra on May 22.

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