One of the most significant highway cycle safety projects seen in Dunedin has moved to the detailed design stage.
The NZ Transport Agency says a start is about to be made on designing cycle lanes that will physically separate cyclists from traffic on the State Highway 1(SH1) one-way system through central and north Dunedin, from Queens Gardens to the Botanic Gardens. It’s expected to take six months to complete this design work.
Southern Business Unit Manager Ian Duncan says this project is first and foremost about improving safety for cyclists, who are over represented in fatal and serious crashes on this route, including two fatalities since 2011.
Several long-term cycle safety options for the one-way system were assessed by the Transport Agency and consulted on in November 2013. Following evaluation of these, including consultation feedback, a separated cycle lane on each of the one-way streets, was chosen. This offers the greatest cycling benefits which could be effectively integrated with the other traffic demands of the one-way system, said Mr Duncan.
He said the one-way system is preferred by cyclists and is a route they would use, because it’s the most direct to the central city. The lanes will improve safety for all users of the State Highway one-way system between central and north Dunedin, not just cyclists.
“The one-way system must safely cater for all road users, including cyclists, who are all entitled to the same levels of safety. Keeping cyclists and traffic separate dramatically reduces the potential for fatal or serious injury crashes.”
Mr Duncan says while car parks need to be removed to accommodate the new cycle lanes, as many of these as practical will be retained in high parking demand areas. There should be adequate car parking on nearby side streets to the one-way system to off-set a number of the parks required to build the separated cycle lanes.
The safer side for cyclists
Relocating the new cycle lanes to the right hand side of the one-way highway, is expected to increase safety for cyclists by positioning them on the right-hand side of heavy vehicles, where they are more visible to drivers.
Another benefit of siting the cycle lanes on the right side of the highway is reducing the conflict between cyclists and buses at bus stops, as the majority of bus stops are currently on the left side of the one-way system.
Mr Duncan said the separated cycle lanes would help traffic flows and provide more reliable travel times on the one-way system between central and north Dunedin, with fewer vehicles manoeuvring in and out of car parks.
The cycle lanes will be built to the latest design standards, which will safely provide for increased numbers of people choosing to cycle through Dunedin. This should help cycling become a safer and more attractive transport choice in Dunedin, further enhancing its appeal as a place to live and work, he said.
The latest information on this project, with details, is available here(external link).