Take Action – The District Plan

The consultation on the Dunedin City Council’s (DCC) 2nd Generation District Plan review ‘issues and options’ phase closes on Sunday 31st March, 2013.

It’s early days in the development of the District Plan so SPOKES hasn’t put a call out to its members for submissions but has put in an organisational submission – see below.  SPOKES will keep you informed as things develop and will put out a call for submissions later in the process when they can have the most impact.

If you want to find out more about the review of the District Plan, click here.


SPOKES Dunedin submission on the Second Generation District Plan, March 2013

SPOKES Dunedin is a local affiliate of the nationwide CAN (Cycle Action Network) and advocates for everyone in the city who rides, or wants to ride, a bicycle. We see great potential for Dunedin to become one of the world’s great small cities, where cycling is a common, safe, and enjoyable way of getting around.

As part of the Economic Development Strategy, one of Dunedin’s key goals is to attract and retain world class, talented entrepreneurs and innovators who are able to contribute to the City’s economic development. In this increasingly mobile and global workforce, liveability and lifestyle are important factors in attracting talented people who have the freedom to live and work virtually anywhere.  Great cycling infrastructure is the type of ahead-of-the-curve City planning that will be vital in enhancing Dunedin’s economic, environmental, and social well-being in the years ahead.

The District Plan can put in place the practical framework to make this happen, and we’re glad to see that the ‘issues and options’ set out in the preliminary phases of the Second Generation District Plan recognize the importance of active transport (e.g., cycling and walking) in local planning.  We fully support the move to develop provisions that will help realize the goals for liveability and sustainability articulated in the Spatial Plan.

We’re not planners and we can’t advise you on what provisions and wording will achieve a city that is great for cycling.  What we can do is tell you what does and doesn’t work for us currently, and then put our trust in your expertise and skill to translate this into concrete measures and policies to improve the conditions for cycling in Dunedin.

SPOKES offers the following comments on specific areas of the preliminary plan to begin dialogue with you as you and your team move forward with this work:

1.  Spokes strongly supports a revised road hierarchy that recognizes alternatives to expensive and resource-intensive motorised vehicles, and we are glad to see cyclists as second priority on the proposed new road hierarchy.  We want to work with you to ensure that this involves real steps to provide safe facilities for cyclists on all roads, from state highways to local roads, and is not just about ticking a box of empty considerations.By safe, we generally mean separated cycling infrastructure.  Recent fatalities on the one-ways should be enough to show that a painted line does not count as safe infrastructure for cyclists.  It is important to include provisions on the one-ways because if cycling is to be supported as a transport option then significant sections of the City’s road network (especially its main corridors) cannot be unavailable to cyclists.  We reiterate that placing cycle routes on little-used, inconvenient back streets is likely to create little-used, inconvenient cycling routes.

We would like to see an approach to road improvement and new road design everywhere in Dunedin that treats active transport as an integral component rather than an afterthought, and which creatively uses elements such as plantings[1] to create separate cycleways and footpaths to strengthen safety, aesthetics, and the wish to live differently.

2.  SPOKES supports the steps being taken to concentrate development (residential, commercial and industrial) around a network of centres connected by a multimodal transport system.  Facilitating active transport by limiting sprawl is critical.  Spokes supports policies that encourage infill and residential development close to existing centres, along with measures that would require new residential developments to provide safe active transport infrastructure and good public transit connections from the outset. Such facilities are much easier (and cheaper) to include at early stages than to add through later remediation.  If well designed (e.g., by providing access via walking and cycle paths separated from motorised traffic and attractive in their own right), such infrastructure will also help developments meet requirements of access to open space and recreational opportunities.SPOKES calls upon the DCC to be visionary and have cycling as a key component in all future plans.  Any new roads should have cycling as a built-in, separated component.  There are also more ambitious ideas out there!  For example, separated cycling infrastructure doesn’t always have to mean just a concrete kerb.  Landscaping of plants and trees can make cycling far more appealing than riding trapped in a car, and places like Hamilton are using these tools to really encourage cycling.  Dunedin could do this!

3.  We support moves to ensure that any new development – residential, commercial, industrial or amenity development – contributes to or gives effect to a sustainable transportation network, including safe and efficient pedestrian and cycle routes and a framework for transport (not just vehicle) movement that reinforces community connections.  As the District Plan takes shape, we would like to see specific policies and requirements put in place that facilitate cycling access to business and retail premises, including requirements for safe, secure, and accessible bicycle parking (at least commensurate with facilities provided for car parking), and shower and changing facilities for employees who travel by bicycle. (The LEED building standards provide examples.)  In addition, access points (particularly driveways and car park entrances) for new or redeveloped commercial premises should be kept to a minimum and designed to minimize friction with footpaths and cycleways on adjoining public roads.

4.  Some suggestions in this initial ‘issues and options’ phase may lead to an impractical environment for cycling, now and into the future.  For example, with regard to parking provision it is stated:

A new garage or carport in the front yard of your property usually requires resource consent at present. This rule may be changed to allow single garages and carports in front yards in some areas, subject to their size and where they are in relation to neighbouring properties.

We’ve recently been told by the Council that the number of access points along Andersons Bay Road makes it too difficult to build separated cycling facilities.  It is clear that numerous access points across pavements are a key problem when it comes to developing separated cycle infrastructure.  Access points should therefore be kept to a minimum and where necessary should be designed with priority given to the cyclists or pedestrians whose right of way is being crossed.

5.  We think it’s good that a number of key issues for cyclists are being explored e.g. the need to control visibility at road intersections, reconsideration of where reversing onto/off roads should be allowed, and different road surfaces for different transport modes.  It’s encouraging to see that introducing cycle parking requirements for certain activities will be considered.  SPOKES suggests that these are put in place, and that safe and easy access to cycle parking (for example across a car park of moving cars) is added in to these requirements.

We understand that it’s a hard road when you plan for the future, but putting in place a framework that supports, amongst other things, a more active lifestyle will have multiple benefits for the city long-term.  This kind of forward-thinking is what we urge you to do for Dunedin.  There are myriad reasons why cycling is good for Dunedin, and allowing cycling as a viable transport choice open to everyone will take us into a better future.

SPOKES has many members, and rapid growth in recent months underscores the value that Dunedin’s residents place on being able to bike in the city.  We’re looking forward to good times ahead for cycling in Dunedin and to engaging with the planning process to make Dunedin’s streets sweet for bikes.  To discuss any aspect of our submission, please get in touch with us at spokesdunedin@gmail.com

[1] Such as have been put in place by Hamilton City Council where cycling work is continuing apace.


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