As details are awaited about the Wellington City Council’s ever-so-slow process for considering cycleways, the Dunedin City Council is showing how this planning could (and should) be making rapid progress. They consulted at the end of last year, they have agreed on the need for separated cycleways, and work could be completed early next year.
News from Dunedin City Council and NZTA
The next step in a proposal to improve both cyclist and driver safety by introducing separated cycle lanes in the central city will be discussed by a Dunedin City Council committee next week.
Late last year, the Dunedin public was consulted on two separated cycle lane proposals:
• Option 1 – a separated cycle lane along each of the one-way streets between the Dunedin Botanic Garden and Rattray Street.
• Option 2 – a separated cycle lane on Cumberland Street which would be used by cyclists travelling in both directions.
Overall, there was support for a separated cycle lane option to improve the safety of the one-way system.
DCC Transportation Planning Manager Sarah Connolly says following public feedback, the NZ Transport Agency/DCC Working Group developed another option, known as Option 1A. Under this option, there would be a separated lane along each of the one-way streets, but on some blocks the footpath and the cycle lane could be narrowed to enable car parking to remain on the right-hand side. The cycle lane would then be between the footpath and the car parks. Loss of car parking was a key issue raised through the consultation process and this layout provided a further option for consideration.
Options 1 and 1A are the Working Group’s preferred options, but it is recommended that all three concepts proceed to the next stage, where a business case would be developed. Option 1 is the option preferred by cyclists.
The DCC’s Infrastructure Services Committee, which meets on Tuesday, is being asked to support the Transport Agency as it seeks to include the further development of this project in the current Regional Land Transport Programme.
If successful, this would mean funding would be granted to do more work on the cycleway proposal. That work would look at the three options – 1, 1A and 2, and provide detailed drawings and costs. That would lead to a preferred option being identified, with related costs and benefits detailed.
Transport Agency Projects Team Manager Simon Underwood says, “The next stage would be to further investigate and undertake preliminary design and detailed cost estimation of the options. There would also be further consultation – particularly with directly affected property owners and tenants.
“At the end of that process, a recommended option would be identified which, if supported, should then be progressed to construction.”
If funding for the business case is granted, that work would be complete by early next year. If an option is supported by both organisations, and funding obtained, it is possible construction could start in mid-late 2015.
Infrastructure Services Committee Chair Cr Kate Wilson says, “This is a case of looking for the best available option for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, ensuring safety for all.
“It is clear cyclists are not well provided for, which means other users are also less safe, including truck and car drivers.”
Ms Connolly says in terms of parking, if the project proceeds to the business case stage, a draft Parking Plan will be developed and there will be further discussions with affected parties.
Early indications are it may cost the DCC between $270,000 and $350,000 to provide alternative car parks for those removed so cycleways could be installed. There could be extra costs if Option 1A is selected as footpath changes would be required.
In November 2012, the Council asked the Transport Agency to identify short-term measures to improve cycle safety on the one-way sections of State Highway 1 and develop a long-term plan to improve pedestrian and cycle safety.
Ms Connolly says the short-term changes to improve cycle safety, which include changes to parking and minor physical works, are largely complete.
A draft Central City Cycle Network, of which the State Highway 1 routes are a key part, was developed early last year. This will be presented to the Committee later this year, for consideration for public consultation.
For details on Dunedin’s separated cycle lane options go to www.nzta.govt.nz/dunedincyclesafe.