Disputed road, cycleway layout to be revisited

Plans for more work on a new road layout on part of Portobello Rd in Dunedin have been put on hold.

Council infrastructure services committee chairwoman Cr Kate Wilson and council transportation group manager Gene Ollerenshaw announced the decision on Friday night.

The work, which was intended to clear up what has been a confusing new layout constructed to accommodate a cycleway, was scheduled to begin in the next few weeks, but the plan will be revisited after a meeting between councillors, Dunedin City Council staff and representatives from the Automobile Association (AA), cycling advocacy group Spokes, local businesses and leaseholders this coming week.

Business people along the stretch and the AA welcomed the move, saying they are happy the council appears to now be listening to their concerns about the road's new layout, width and what is perceived to be an inappropriate camber.

The decision comes after a meeting on Wednesday chaired by the AA following feedback from businesses, leaseholders and the public that recent changes to the section of Portobello Rd between Andersons Bay Rd and Portsmouth Dr to incorporate a separated cycle lane were dangerous and confusing.

Cr Wilson said a preliminary design to clarify the new layout was developed in consultation with AA, Spokes and residents and businesses in the area, though some businesses say they were not consulted. However, after further feedback and ''conclusions we have drawn ourselves'', further consideration was needed of the options to address issues concerning the look and feel of the road, access to industrial properties and safety concerns at the Timaru St end.

''We take seriously the concerns raised and following this week's meeting we will seek further inputs from the affected businesses and leaseholders so we incorporate their concerns and needs into the options.''

The director of one of those businesses, Philip Chapman, from CSL Containers, said he felt the meeting was positive and people were listened to.

He said he left understanding council staff were going away to ''cost up'' different options, including a favoured one of creating two northbound vehicle lanes allowing large trucks to access and exit depots on the road, and one southbound lane, leaving the remaining lane for the cycleway.

There was no timeline for when the council would come back to people with the new options, but Mr Ollerenshaw said it was aiming to complete the construction of a new layout by July 2015.

In the meantime, interim improvements, such as signs and road marking, particularly at the Timaru St end, would be investigated ''with urgency'', he said.

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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