Streamlined network is on the way

A streamlined, higher-quality South Dunedin Cycle Network is on its way after Dunedin City councillors voted yesterday to endorse the plan.

The route effectively joins Wharf St to St Clair, via Portsmouth Dr, Portobello Rd and a warren of St Kilda streets.

While that network would be considerably smaller than original plans for South Dunedin, the quality of what did get built would be far higher, Dunedin City Council infrastructure and networks general manager Ruth Stokes told the infrastructure services committee yesterday.

The changes were the acknowledgement of mistakes that had been made, and a reaction to realising the cycle infrastructure Dunedin people wanted and used most was of a higher quality than much of what had been planned in the area, Mrs Stokes said.

''We have learned a number of lessons through this and we have well acknowledged that mistakes have been made and we have made changes.''

Those mistakes were ''on us, on me, and my team'', she said.

''Today, we are looking for a line in the sand and a future direction so that we can improve on all fronts, including the consultation and the delivery.''

The difficulties encountered by council staff in planning and building the infrastructure was not an issue specific to Dunedin, she said.

''There's been a lot of issues for a lot of councils around New Zealand.''

The ''higher-quality'' cycleways would be built within the network's existing $6.07 million budget.

Of that, $5.5 million was joint-funded between the DCC and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). The NZTA's 66% ''co-investment'' came to $3.63 million.

The rest of the network's budget came from a $570,000 Urban Cycleways Fund grant.

Councillors engaged in a heated discussion on the merits of the cycleways and the cost spent, and re-spent, on them to date.

Cr Lee Vandervis said he did not believe the cost-benefits for cycleways warranted any more council spending, while Cr Hilary Calvert said the council should pause and determine exactly what was planned and how much it would cost before proceeding.

Other councillors were more supportive of the infrastructure, including Cr David Benson-Pope, who said the bulk of the community supported cycleways, as long as they were done well.

''I think that when we put in place a higher standard of fitting, the sort of thing we're seeing in the [plans] now, people will be delighted with what they see.''

Cr Neville Peat echoed the sentiment of most councillors when he thanked Mrs Stokes for fronting up and addressing the mistakes that had been made in the cycleway rollout to date.

• The committee also voted to let work begin immediately on the section of Portobello cycleway between Portsmouth Dr and Andersons Bay Rd.

Council network development and operations manager Mike Harrison said the result of that decision was that a ''construction tender'' for work in Portobello Rd would be put out before Christmas, with an expectation work would begin in the new year.

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