Parking a major worry for businesses, residents impacted by Harewood Rd cycleway design

The city council’s proposed Wheels to Wings cycleway. Image: CCC
The city council’s proposed Wheels to Wings cycleway. Image: CCC
Parking is a hot topic for many who voiced their opinion on the city council’s Wheels to Wings cycleway design, which would see Harewood Rd reduced from four lanes to two in some parts and some on-street parking removed.

Throughout the 1348 public submissions on the $19 million cycleway, the word "parking" appeared 935 times.

The cycleway will link people in Harewood, Bishopdale, and Papanui to destinations including schools, shops, businesses and recreational facilities.

Feedback for the design closed on March 15, and an overview was due to be presented to the hearing panel last Wednesday, with public information days following on Thursday and Friday.

The events were postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, but further public feedback on design alterations would be sought, the council said.

Another important theme of the submissions was safety for both cyclists and drivers, with the word “safe” or “safety” appeared 866 times.

Business was also a concern, with the word appearing 486 times, while “environment” “carbon” and “climate change” appeared just 73, 43 and 28 times, respectively.

The issue of parking was often linked to concerns that businesses would suffer.

Resident Bernadette Bowe said she had witnessed crowds of people parked on both sides of Harewood Rd to visit the Copenhagen Bakery.

"[It] will be severely affected once on-street parking disappears and patronage will drop as a result through no fault of theirs," she said.

Gavin Blackwell was against the change, stating "the cycle lane will have too big a negative impact on the on-street parking for residents as well as business."

Others such as Maureen McCloy believed the support of cyclists could offset this.

"I do take my wallet with me when I go cycling; bakeries are a speciality!” she said.

The current Wheels to Wings cycleway plan would see Harewood Rd reduced from four lanes to two in...
The current Wheels to Wings cycleway plan would see Harewood Rd reduced from four lanes to two in some parts. Image: CCC
Bruce Thompson suggested installing bike parks and said affected businesses would be smart to consider how they could embrace the change.

Parking was also seen as an issue beyond the business sphere, with Johanna De Beer stating it was already in high demand due to heavy use of the Canterbury Charity Hospital and sport facilities at Nunweek Park.

However Colin Woodhouse was in favour of the change, stating that it would lead to a reduction in the demand for parking.

"If more people cycle there because they feel safe to from Papanui then there will be fewer cars battling for parking spaces."

Safety was another big issue among those who gave feedback.

Some, like Nancy McGoverne, said cycleways made them feel safe enough to take to their bikes when they would otherwise drive.

Hamish Forbes, who often biked along a stretch of Harewood Rd in off-peak hours, said the area was dangerous for cyclists in its current form.

"Despite the short distance and low-traffic time of day, I’ve had a close call at least once a week."

The Wings to Wheels cycleway submissions included feedback that the cycleway would encourage...
The Wings to Wheels cycleway submissions included feedback that the cycleway would encourage people to bike more. Photo: Supplied
The safety of young cyclists was also an issue, with as highlighted by submitter Vicky Southworth.

"As a mum I feel much happier encouraging my children to cycle when they can use separated cycle lanes," she said.

A year 9 student at Papanui High School stated they would like to cycle due to climate change concerns.

"I would like to bike to school but I can not because it is too dangerous . . . I have a brother and sister who will be going to [cycle] also if the cycleway is done."

However, some believed the cycleway would present its own safety problems.

Cameron Duncan said he found aspects of the plan unsafe, such as the two-way cycleway design.

"Often people seem to forget to look both left and right and when walking or driving through them," he said.

Belinda Lansley said cars crossing the cycleway to access houses or businesses could find it dangerous.

This was already a problem she encountered when living near the Featherstone dairy.

"It used to take me at least three minutes some days to safely back onto the road . . . I can’t see how anyone will be able to back out anymore with the large cycleway bang up against the footpath."

Some thought the plan should be altered so that the cycleway ran along the middle of the road, such as Angela Bachop.

"[This] eliminates all the issues of danger to cyclists from cars getting in and out of driveways, buses and rubbish trucks stopping traffic whilst operating,” she said.

Jennifer Christall-McRae criticised the design and offered another suggestion.

“Take out the berms, turn them into a cycle lane next to the footpath and use the on street parking as a buffer.”

In spite of differing opinions, an area of broad consensus among those who submitted was the benefit of having traffic lights installed at the intersection of Harewood, Breens and Gardiners Rds.

Hilary Rose said the intersection was dangerous, especially in rush hour.

Although Zara Roberts called the design “the most ridiculous plan in roading I have seen in a long time,” she supported this one aspect of it.

"The only good thing about it is the much-needed lights.”

Business was also a buzzword in the submissions, often tied to the issue of parking.

Some submitters said the cycleway would lead to businesses struggles in the area.

Environmental impacts of the cycleway were less commonly mentioned.

These were sometimes thought to be negative, with Martin Cudd stating the reduction of Harewood Rd to two lanes would cause “massive congestion”, increasing carbon output from cars spending more time in traffic.

However, more submitters believed they would be positive, such as Mark McKinstry, who cited the need to address climate change and air pollution as the reason why he supported the cycleway.

"Cycling more, and driving less, is an important step in the right direction," he said.

The cycleway will form part of the network of 13 major cycleways weaving throughout the city.

At its western end, the cycleway will connect with the Johns Rd cycle and pedestrian underpass, linking through to the commercial areas surrounding the airport, and to McLeans Island Rd via the Johns Rd shared path.

This will be a good connection route for the roughly 7000 people who work in the airport area.

At its eastern end, it connects directly to the Northern Line cycleway and the planned Nor’West Arc cycleway.

About half that cost is expected to be met by Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency.

 

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