Bloody $tupid cycleways and Cull’s electioneering . . .

Dunedin cycling, detail [odt.co.nz]

### ODT Online Thu, 4 Jul 2013
DCC propose to close Roberts Street
By Carolyn McLean
OPINION Once again the DCC is bulldozing over strong public opinion to push through a proposal, which will only benefit a minority of people.
DCC are proposing to close Roberts Street at the foot of the overbridge on Wharf Street to allow a cycle track to be installed and improve safety in the area.

This proposal will have an extremely adverse affect on all businesses in this area and it appears that the needs of business owners are being sacrificed to the needs of cyclists.

At present there is a perfectly adequate cycle track, which follows the harbourside and avoids the Portsmouth Drive/Wharf Street traffic, but DCC thinks that an alternative route for cyclists should be a reality and seem prepared to ignore the opinions of affected businesses to pursue their goal. At least two meetings have now been held between DCC representatives and local business owners but still the DCC seem hell-bent on pursuing their objective of more cycle lanes with no consideration of how it affects anyone else. Dunedin city is already in the doldrums with businesses struggling in the wake of the world-wide recession and flow on affects from that. DCC should be encouraging local businesses instead of putting more obstacles in their way. This proposal needs to be stopped.
ODT Link

Dunedin Cycling Routes [see map]
Proposed Cycle Network [see maps and related information at this link]

Strategic Cycle Network Overview (detail) 1

Related Posts and Comments:
28.3.13 DCC DAP 2013/14: Portobello Harington Point Road Improvements
26.2.13 DCC binge spending alert: Proposed South Dunedin cycle network
22.2.13 DCC: Council meeting agenda and reports for 25 February 2013
31.1.13 Who? 2010 electioneering

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: odt.co.nz – Dunedin cycling (detail); dunedin.govt.nz – Strategic Cycle Network Overview (detail)

28 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

28 responses to “Bloody $tupid cycleways and Cull’s electioneering . . .

  1. Ray

    Thing about cycle tracks or lanes is that they are hardly used in the winter. We counted 4 cyclists on Sunday from Pine Hill to Grants Braes at 9.20am to 10am, so I suggest the lanes be removed in the winter by means of the moveable lane dividers we now see on our one way system. And about the one way system, I understood it was under the administration of State Highways and not the DCC so does that change anything?

    • NZTA, DCC and other agencies have worked together in the attempt to make cycling safer in the CBD, in the aftermath of recent cycle deaths on SH1 (one way system).

  2. Paul Prince

    The changes in the North End in particular are to be commended. The lanes are wider, safer and the road condition is improving. I look forward to more of Ray’s reasoned wide-ranging evidence but as a cyclist I feel safer. I hadn’t seen the Roberts St plan, and a closure seems overkill, but I would hardly describe the current lanes in that area as perfectly adequate. They are an abysmal, tacked-on afterthought. There are very few in town that reach the standard of a safe, well-planned route. I also struggle with the animosity towards cycle-lanes; better cycleways means everyone wins, cyclists are safe, and motorists have less to look out for on the road.

    • Agree about road safety. Far safer and more practical to drive a car given the deplorable standards of driving in this city, at least you get an airbag… (well, let’s not mention the number of old cars and vans still on the road that crunch up like aluminium cans under impact…)
      Cycleway COST is OUT OF THIS WORLD for a council sitting on +$600m consolidated debt – look at the sum of DCC cycleway cost projections provided at the DCC website. Excruciating!
      For how many cyclists… relatively few.

      [DCC] Prioritisation of Strategic Cycle Network Routes – Prioritisation Matrix (PDF, 86.4 KB)
      This table details the Prioritisation Matrix for the Strategic Cycle Network

      As Paul Pope from Otago Peninsula points out, DCC hasn’t even stuck to its priority schedule in proceeding with the Portobello Harington Point Road Improvements Project. Hello (electioneering) Mayor Cull and the Tourism Dunedin ponies.

  3. Paul

    Central to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians is the continued use of the CBD and other routes by heavy traffic. There has been for many years discussion about re-routing heavy traffic out of these areas and it makes considerable sense for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. It makes greater sense and would be better for the ambience and safety of the city to do so.
    In regards to the Peninsula, one of my principal concerns is the ecological damage reclamation will do to the habitat of the harbour. The current plan will reclaim 12-15 hectares of principally rocky shore habitat over approximately 13 kilometres of roadway. By taking the road width out further into the intertidal zone the habitat will be permanently lost. Even with the best of intentions you cannot mitigate or restore that loss. Some areas that would normally be dry during low tide are likely to be inundated permanently meaning the habitat that supported bird or marine life will no longer be available to local biodiversity. That’s a significant loss to the harbour especially when our entire tourist industry is based on avian biodiversity (albatross, blue and yellow-eyed penguins) along with marine mammals such as seals and sea-lions. Other species add to that industry also which the rocky shore habitat plays a critical role in supporting. Dr Abby Smith reported recently the value of avian biodiversity to the city and it seems crazy to permanently damage many of the feeding and roosting sites of rocky shore bird and marine species currently on the harbour’s edge.
    The other issue is the “urbanisation” of the Peninsula landscape with the loss of the individual character to the various settlements on the Peninsula. The current design imposes a “cut and paste” approach to the landscape that creates a monocultural road-scape that does not distinguish between the urban or rural character of the region. By imposing such a design on the landscape character of the Peninsula the Council could very well damage the wildlife and landscape brand the city wishes to promote. We need to maintain and complement natural wildness and individual scenic values rather than covering them over with a dominating basalt revetment.
    There are issues with the Peninsula road and pedestrian and cycling accessibility does need improvement, but a far greater level of design, landscape and ecological sympathy is required before making a nearly $90 million investment of both ratepayer and taxpayer funding. If the Otago Peninsula is a cash cow that the Council wishes to milk feed her lucerne hay, not chaff, because this design is not lucerne hay.

  4. Paul, are you saying that the Peninsula is no place for cyclists? It is a case of either intertidal zones or cycle lanes. There can’t be both. That road as it is does not make for a safe happy place for cyclists.

    • Calvin, I prefer the harbour ecology to be protected and enhanced, along with the marinescape generally – and that people be made to curb their fixation with generating suburban-commuter sprawl at the Peninsula thus necessitating a high-speed road (or if not one, then tailgating each other and travelling in high gear over the centre line on blind bends to ‘cut travel times’, they think).

      What few people seem to realise is that our small-scale historic coastal communities are unique, and becoming increasingly rare in New Zealand. Cycling and walking can exist without the motorway.

  5. Paul

    I walk, run, cycle and drive the road almost daily and have seen my share of interesting behaviour from a variety of users. If you look closely at the road there is actually a lot of width, but its used poorly, often unmaintained and badly designed. Open drainage channels is one of the biggest space killers on the road, which with better design could be utilised for vehicles creating more width in the road. The second point is the current design creates lanes on both sides of the road which requires 5-8 metres of reclamation. If a dual directional shared cycle/pedestrian pathway (Portsmouth Drive) were built you could cut the reclamation to 2-3 metres. It would create the desired recreational access with a significantly reduced cost and ecological impact. Its also a heck of a lot safer because the pathway would separate non-motorised traffic from vehicles. The other issue with the design is that presently it resembles a promenade the whole length of the road (seats every 20 metres, dubious landscaping etc). The problem with this aspect of the design is it fails to recognise that each village (Broad Bay, Pineapple Rock,Portobello) are township destinations in their own right. So rather than spending money spreading those amenities across the entire length of the road it would be better to concentrate them at the known population areas where they would be used more effectively for the community and users. If you look at the Vauxhall areas there is a plethora of seats where it blows like 40 bastards or is constantly in shade. That’s not good design. Good urban planning and design integrates new structures into the landscape seamlessly where there is demand and where they complement the lie of the land. The other issue is how the projects links to existing roading networks. If you look at Portsmouth Drive, Broad Bay and Portobello there has been no definitive design work around how the pathway links into those areas. That’s poor because it creates bottle-necks and creates further issues of safety. As I’ve raised here and in a number of submissions the central problem is about the quality of the design and its impacts. With more thinking and better statistical information (there’s a real paucity of that here) a far better option could be developed.

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    Paul, you write with great sense and sensitivity to the values of the area.

    Overseas there is no shortage of examples of narrow winding roads that the locals – and presumably visitors – navigate regularly. Because the roads are narrow and winding nobody expects to be able to travel fast. Blind corners, parts where you’d have to pull right over and might even have to back up to a wider part – and this is Scandinavia and Europe, not the remote mountain regions of Asia where those “worst road” trucker TV shows are filmed. Safety is probably best achieved by NOT improving ANY parts of the road to allow maximum open-road speeds. People who can’t handle the slow commute and having to pay attention all the way, would be unlikely to choose to live down the Peninsula. Does this matter? I don’t think so, it’s not as if Dunedin is short of areas to buy existing houses, and build now. It’s not Auckland, Dr Ropata.

  7. Tomo

    Elizabeth
    July 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Cycleway COST is OUT OF THIS WORLD for a council sitting on +$600m consolidated debt – look at the sum of DCC cycleway cost projections provided at the DCC website. Excruciating!
    For how many cyclists… relatively few.

    Agreed.
    The whole notion for this project is absurd given the present level of council debt. It smacks of an opportunistic ‘make work’ scheme devised by the city council’s transport planning people to skim NZTA funding off the back of the government’s cycleway policy. Where are the cyclists? What is the demand for this scheme? Where is the money coming from? Quite apart from that Paul has pointed out the environmental downside for this. And here we have this scheme that will add a further $27m council debt. Where is the cost benefit analysis?

    Robo

    • ### ODT Online Thu, 11 Jul 2013
      ‘Minor’ improvements for rail crossing
      By Vaughan Elder
      The Dunedin City Council is to improve safety at a rail crossing on Dunedin’s harbourside walk and cycleway after investigating concerns about the crossing’s safety. Ravensbourne Boating Club Commodore Warwick Graham told the Otago Daily Times in May someone could be killed if nothing was done to fix the crossing on the Ravensbourne section of the shared track. Following those comments, the council carried out its own investigation into safety at the crossing, and based on video surveillance in June, found an average of at least 421 cyclists and pedestrians crossed it each day.
      Read more

  8. Another point, but ‘bloody stupid’ all the same. Was it serendipity that Michael Guest was aired on TV3 on Wed night poncing around promoting himself at the time of the first David Bain trial? Then we see him mentioned on page 36 in Thursday’s ODT cited in an unholy arrangement with his fellow crooked siblings. The crook can’t help himself.

  9. Phil

    Pedestrians, bicycles, parking, moving traffic. In that order. How many times need we go through this ?

    • ### ch9.co.nz July 11, 2013 – 7:42pm
      NZTA extends cycle lane widening
      Plenty of work on Dunedin cycle lanes is under way on city state highways.
      Video

      ****

      ### ch9.co.nz July 11, 2013 – 7:33pm
      New draft transport strategy released
      The latest process to plan Dunedin’s transport future has begun with the release of a new draft transport strategy. The document lists more than $30m worth of projects already planned in the next few years. It also lists a social cost of crashes that is far higher.
      Video

      • Phooey!
        ”It’s a starting point for a conversation, really.”

        ### ODT Online Fri, 12 Jul 2013
        Road safety top priority under plan
        By Chris Morris
        A multimillion-dollar blueprint for Dunedin’s transport future aims to lift the city off the bottom rung of New Zealand’s road safety ladder, the Dunedin City Council says. Council staff yesterday unveiled the draft transportation strategy that is to go before councillors next week, before being released for public consultation later in the month. The strategy – which has already been two years in the making – outlined possible projects designed to tackle road safety and other transport issues in Dunedin over the next three decades.

        Cycleways also featured prominently on the projects list, including plans – already under way – for a central city network costing up to $5 million, jointly funded by the council and the New Zealand Transport Agency. All up, there were 22 projects pencilled in for the first 10 years to 2024, together costing at least $40 million.

        Council transportation planning manager Sarah Connolly said the top priority was improving the city’s flagging road safety record. Dunedin had the poorest road safety record of any major urban centre in New Zealand, based on New Zealand Transport Agency figures, and crashes since 2008 had an estimated total social cost of $581 million.
        Read more

        ****

        16 July 2013 DCC Planning and Environment Committee
        Report – PEC – 16/07/2013 (PDF, 4.9 MB)
        Draft Transport Strategy

        • DCC advertising a new senior position in the ODT today (page 19):

          Group Manager Transportation (490/12300)
          As part of “the Council’s Senior Leadership Team” the GMT will “lead a team of transportation professionals and will provide leadership to the planning of the City’s transport network and to the delivery of the maintenance and operations outcomes”.
          Total annual expenditure: $40 million.

          See the new Transportation Strategy.

          Is this the chosen route to the Avery’s demise ?
          (his budget used to be +$70M)

  10. Councillor thinking that supports expensive cycleways comes from the same place as voting for the stadium construction project to proceed. Like bloody Lemmings – they do not have ratepayer interests at heart, only their own self-serving political agendas.

    Where is the cost benefit analysis? Why isn’t that analysis in full public view?

    Mr Cull recommended approaching the Government for extra funding, given the city was leading the way within New Zealand by piloting ”quiet streets” in the network. […] ”This is not a big spend. It’s quite modest given what we are getting for it.”

    ### ODT Online Wed, 17 Jul 2013
    Worries of businesses hit cycleway
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin’s multimillion-dollar cycleway plans have hit a speed bump after opposition from a group of businesses forced part of the new network to be put on hold. And the plans hit a second bump yesterday when debate over the network turned into a political stoush, as Mayor Dave Cull and Cr Lee Vandervis locked horns and other councillors weighed in.

    Cr Vandervis criticised the project yesterday, saying the council was already heavily in debt and facing another bill, of unknown size, for repairs to the St Clair sea wall.

    The exchanges came as councillors at yesterday’s infrastructure services committee meeting considered two updates from council transportation planning manager Sarah Connolly on the South Dunedin cycle network.

    Ms Connolly told the meeting opposition from businesses in Roberts St had prompted a rethink, after 17 opposing submissions were received.

    The businesses worried about reduced trade as a result of the change, and a series of meeting failed to reach a compromise. As a result, the section would be delayed while council staff reconsidered their plans and continued discussions with the business owners, although the rest of the Portsmouth Dr route would be widened as planned.
    Read more

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    I’ll believe this: ”This is not a big spend. It’s quite modest given what we are getting for it.” (Dave Cull) when it looks OK according to this: “Where is the cost benefit analysis? Why isn’t that analysis in full public view?” (Elizabeth).
    Unsurprisingly, Lee Vandervis said sensibly: ”the idea Dunedin can lead New Zealand … is an ideology that’s not practical and certainly not affordable”. Funny guy, he’s certainly not stuck in the past – probably the least dinosaurish councillor we’ve had in many long years – but he’s somehow avoided the woo-woo “visions” that capture those who think they are looking toward the future when they’re dreaming with the utopia-fairies: “Cr Fliss Butcher looked forward to a cycle-friendly city free from the fear of ”getting run over or tooted at” “

    • ### ch9.co.nz July 17, 2013 – 7:09pm
      Cycle network endorsed by Council
      The South Dunedin cycle network has been endorsed by the Dunedin City Council, despite concerns by some on the route, and others in the council. The decision means $2.5 million of work this calender year. But a meeting to make the decision did not pass without an ideological clash.
      Video

  12. Anonymous

    Previous applicants need not apply.

  13. I think the chosen route to Avery’s demise might be via Frederick St and SH88 diversion. If of course he gets the green light.

  14. Anonymous

    Funny you should mention cycleways and SH88. The original plans show that SH88 was to be the access from Port Chalmers for everything. Cycleways both sides across the bridge. Of course, if you have a carriageway that wide, you can’t fit it into the space that was available at Frederick St.

  15. Anonymous

    Just wanted to relay an episode I watched unfold along Portobello Road this afternoon. Traveling from Macandrew Bay to Dunedin I came across a line of vehicles – a tourist van, followed by three cars, a fourth car with a trailer and a motorcyclist. The vehicles were bunched up and traveling between 20-35km along the 50-70km stretches. I originally thought the tourist van was holding up traffic and wondered when it would move aside. Actually after several minutes it turned out to be a cyclist riding in front of the tourist van and whom was sticking to the centre of the lane.

    This is where it really got uncomfortable. The cyclist made no attempt at moving aside and passed several laybys without giving any room. While everyone has a right to ride on the road it is generally considered polite to make room if you’re traveling slower than the vehicles behind you.

    After a few minutes of this the inevitable started to occur and the driver of the tourist van – who appeared to be acting patiently – pulled out and passed. The maneuvre required half of the opposite lane, where there is no room for error on that stretch of road, but no oncoming vehicles were involved. The first and second cars did the same with the second driver having just enough room to avoid an oncoming car. The third car then pulled out and started passing but had to pull in abruptly to narrowly avoid an oncoming car. At this maneuvre the cyclist gave that driver the finger. Keep in mind though the cyclist had still made no attempt at pulling over was riding at 26km on a 50km stretch.

    The driver of the fourth car was clearly quite frustrated and appeared to start driving aggressively to make a point, closing the gap between himself and the cyclist. While the cyclist wasn’t been very accommodating, if she had fallen off it would have been directly under the following vehicle. The driver then appeared to lose control briefly as the vehicle caught loose gravel on the edge of the road and veered in towards the cliff face. His reaction was to accelerate briefly to pull out of the slide and lurched forward. The cyclist appeared to panic briefly and, for a frightening moment, wobbled in front of the vehicle.

    Both cyclist and the driver of the vehicle probably had a pants packing moment. The driver of the car and trailer shot off while the cyclist continued to ride down the center of the lane.

    The motorcyclist and myself passed without further ado.

    • Elizabeth

      Abysmal ‘skills’ shown by that cyclist.
      Pity we can’t identify these individuals at a glance so to call *555 (rather than follow them to their destination). Microchipped cyclists and vehicle scanners!? On-board cameras with auto-record at least to visually identify bike and rider, will tech get to this one day….

      [Hmmm, just read that in April 2013 Police received an average of 700 calls a day through their *555 service – allows motorists to report bad behaviour of other drivers. Nationally, about 250,000 calls are made each year. Impossible! – via Timaru Herald]

  16. Anonymous

    While parked up Mornington on Monday afternoon I watched a cyclist turn onto Mailer Street from Kenmure Road. Nothing unusual until he reached Jubilee Street and then started passing cars down the left side. Putting energy into peddling he passed at least three cars in the space between them (they were in motion) and the line of parked vehicles beside Countdown supermarket. That space was less than a metre wide. He didn’t slow down for a person who was already getting into their driver’s side and only just missed colliding with the door as it was closed moments before passing. Anyone could have opened a door from any one of the other cars. The speed and proximity would have contributed to the person not seeing the cyclist and would have resulted in a very nasty door collision. In my opinion he also fluked the gap between vehicles turning in and out of the supermarket entrance. None of these things seemed to cause any change in the cyclist’s riding and I was left feeling somewhat stunned by the utter stupidity of it.

    I’m not against cycling and very much enjoy it. But each day I see both vehicles and cycles driven in a manner about Dunedin that makes me cringe. There also seems to be an alarming increase in the number of drivers running red lights as though no one else existed on the road, or driving in front of or towards a pedestrian who has right of way to cross.

    What really gets me some days is just the lack of common courtesy. If you’re first to an intersection, waiting to turn, inevitably some big brute will pull up at your side, pull forward and block your view. Funnily enough it does make me laugh when they have that expression of “I don’t see you” on their face.

    • Elizabeth

      Since NZ Police are so thin on the ground for traffic enforcement maybe we need volunteers on the road (in the manner of volunteer fire fighters, that is, highly mobile and very visible) – rather than at the front desk of police stations!

  17. Anonymous

    And further to that anecdote on Dunedin driving – today about 3:15 two drivers ran red lights within two minutes of each other. The first involved a blue station wagon turning from George St into Hanover St. That car was a couple of seconds after the red and must have been moving at 20-30km. It appeared to be a young fella in a hurry to get to the driveway beside the former Smiths City. Then a woman stopped for a red at York Place but decided to jump through the intersection to Saint Andrew St for no apparent reason other than to fill the available space ahead. That was five seconds after the red and she just managed to slip between two vehicles entering the intersection. Needless to say there was some honking and braking involved. The driver who ran the light didn’t seem to notice the severity of her decision.

    The thing is I see this daily. Sometimes two, three times each day. There must be some bloody serious near misses going on all around town based on my sampling of the data.

    • Elizabeth

      We’re all seeing it and despite Police saying they’re having a binge on bad driving – frankly, they’re totally invisible. Hopeless.

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