Transport and roading problems

Dunedin hasn’t just been having problems with hospital food, there are ongoing problems with transport and roading.

The city’s transport group manager has just resigned, five months after replacing the previous manager who resigned while on holiday amidst controversy over a botched cycleway project that had to be redone at considerable expense.

This picture of mayor Dave Cull was posted on Facebook yesterday:

ODT: Second manager departs

The Dunedin City Council has lost its second transport group manager in less than six months.

Ian McCabe has resigned, citing personal reasons, just five months after replacing Gene Ollerenshaw in the role in November last year.

Staff in the council’s transport department have been in the spotlight over mud-tank maintenance failings, which followed the botched roll-out of South Dunedin cycleways.

An election is coming up with current mayor Dave Cull standing again, but he must be under pressure. This was posted on Facebook in the weekend:

CullCycling

Mud tank maintenance (or rather, the lack of maintenance) has been a big issue since the South Dunedin floods last year.

But cycle lanes promoted by a green leaning council are an ongoing issue and have been of great annoyance to many people.

Some cycleways have been popular, like the peninsula paths on widened roads and the west harbour walkway/cycleway from the city to St Leonards is well used, to a large extent by recreational users.

Botched South Dunedin cycleway project that blew up when it was discovered fire engines were hampered by redesigned intersections.

But cycle paths tacked on to central city streets have also been very contentious. Car parks on both sides of Anzac Avenue were converted into cycleways that are hardly used – I use Anzac Avenue almost daily and while cyclists can be spotted occasionally they are rare.

More contentious is the proposal to convert car parks along both one way streets through the city (state highway 1) into cycleways. Safety of cyclists is important, but so is the needs of motorists.

The green council seems to think that if better cycleways are provided the city’s commuters will suddenly start biking to work. Some of them may, some of the time.

But the weather in Dunedin isn’t always perfect for cycling, and there are days, especially during the winter, where the bike lanes will be virtually empty (already that’s true of many days) and the traffic will clog up more than ever.

Making the centre city more cycle friendly is actually likely to be counter-productive to green ideals – people are more likely to drive their cars to retail options outside the CBD that still provide good parking.

I hope the city council manages to recruit a new transport manager that understands all of this.