SPOKES has recently received a letter from the NZTA’s Simon Underwood describing the proposed short-term “quick wins” to be implemented and/or investigated for implementation on Dunedin’s one-way system. These proposals were presented in a recent report to the DCC’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISComm) chaired by Councillor Noone (and comprising essentially all of the city’s Councillors).
In our last post on this subject we questioned NZTA’s decision to make permanent the temporary Anzac/Castle intersection layout rather than implement the cul-de-sac option, which we not only understood to be the Committee’s preferred option but was our own recommendation based on recent observations of traffic at that intersection. The ISComm meeting of March 5th, where NZTA’s report was given, was characterised by intense questioning of the Anzac/Castle issue by Councillors and thoughtful debate within the Committee.
SPOKES still advocates for the cul-de-sac option but there were enough mitigating factors that the Committee agreed with NZTA’s recommendation as an immediate treatment and we agree that removal of the third lane and the added stop sign has slowed traffic somewhat. However, the Committee wants the cul-de-sac option to remain on the table as work progresses on the long-term vision for the one-way system. Overall, it is encouraging to see solid support for cycling infrastructure within the Council and it is important to let the Councillors know that we appreciate their ongoing support.As you will read in Mr Underwood’s letter, the main focus of the quick-win solutions falls into four categories: increasing the cycle lane width, better control of motor vehicles crossing the cycle lane, improving parking discipline, and changes to parking including targeted removal of parks.
You have probably already discovered the wider cycle lanes on the Northbound block between St Andrew and Hanover, and the Southbound block between Dundas and St David. This is a great start and a dramatic improvement of the cycle lane width up to modern standards. However, these two blocks were already scheduled for resurfacing before the one-way review began. Unfortunately, it is not yet clear how quickly this important step will be implemented to cycle lanes through the rest of town, which remain below NZTA guidelines. Local NZTA staff are looking for funding, but it could be several months before we see more of this overdue change on the ground.
Aside from the wider cycle lanes, the most effective quick wins may come with changes to parking. Obviously the MOST effective measure would be to simply remove parking from one side of each one-way, thereby completely eliminating the dooring risk, giving more room to both cyclists and motor vehicles, and increasing visibility for cars pulling out of driveways. Anyone living in Dunedin knows that on-street parking has been a hot potato, but NZTA-commissioned research shows that eliminating parking can reduce mid-block cycle crashes by up to 75%.
DCC is currently investigating targeted parking removal that can result in immediate moderate improvement. For example, the entrance to the hospital’s parking garage has notoriously poor visibility for cars egressing onto Cumberland St. A car is already completely blocking the cycle lane before the driver can see whether there are any approaching cyclists, and removing one or two car parks could greatly improve visibility at that spot.
At this stage, most of the quick wins given in the list are ideas that require further investigation before implementation and there is no definite time-line for implementation. We will be closely following as work progresses and keep our members informed.
The next phase of the one-way review will be to develop a long term vision for the City. SPOKES will continue to push for fully separated cycle lanes on the one-ways that are useful and usable for all cyclists whether they be commuting, training, or just going for an ice cream at the corner dairy. If you haven’t yet had your voice heard, tell NZTA that you want functional, usable, safe, separated lanes on the one-ways. It doesn’t need to be long, one sentence will do, but every message counts! Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org right now!