Council has again designed a “Kill Zone” for people on bicycles. Buckleys Road by the Eastgate Mall to feature deadly design. Council needs to prioritize completing safe local cycle networks to support the Major Cycle Routes and to give all who would like to cycle the chance to do so and live.
Please, make a submission, even just a few sentences to let Council know that people who ride bikes lives matter.
Draft Sub updated 29.11.19
Spokes does not support either option. This is dangerous infrastructure for people who drive, cycle, walk, bus and for residents. There is simply no excuse for this. It is homicidal design.
Neither option offers speed limit reduction. Considering resident’s access and safety concerns, safe pedestrian crossing and cyclist safety and the need to encourage motorist to drive to the conditions speed reduction is clearly needed.
For years residents have complained of buses and cars blocking driveways, blocking vision when entering or exiting driveways, close calls and accidents due to the congestion of vehicles and pedestrians.
With the need to increase bus patronage problems will only intensify with the need for more stops and more buses. Currently serving 3-4 buses the need will grow to 4-5 buses. The proposal fails to address road safety or patronage currently, let alone design for future increases.
The Impacts on People Who Cycle
As designed the project does not abide by Council’s own Cycle Design Guidelines.
Section “3.2. Local cycleways through urban commercial centres
Local cycleways through commercial centres ideally will be separated cycle paths to provide a comfortable and safe environment for cyclists. …
Where there is limited street space available other options such as wide cycle lanes or a slow street environment can be considered.”
Section 3.2.3 “The cycle lane ideally needs to be …(…1.8 to 2m). A wider lane also gives cyclists more protection from traffic movement and car doors opening into the cycle lane.”
Option A has people on bicycles given a 1.5m wide lane hard up against stopped buses. Average handle bar widths for upright cycles are at least 0.60m wide. A cyclist would have about 0.45m of buffer between buses parked hard up on the kerb and moving vehicles on the carriageway. The bus stops are 2.7m wide. Buses are between 2.4m and 2.7m wide.
The NZ Road Code recommends a safe distance when passing bicycles of 1.5m for moving vehicles. This is the third busiest PT hub in Christchurch. Buses will be moving in and out of stops regularly. Vehicles on the carriageway may or may not practice safe passing.
Buses have well known blind spots, drivers can be distracted and traffic congestion lead to quickly taking to the carriageway when a break appears. Buckleys at Eastgate is both a timing point and bus driver change stop, increasing bus congestion and support vehicle parking.
People on bicycles would be wise to forgo the bike lane and take the vehicle lane, if drivers put up with it, or notice them.
The proposed designs do not reflect NZTA’s draft guidelines for bus stops. “Key consideration 9: Public transport operational requirements Operational aspects to consider in order to provide a fail-proof environment with room for growth/change in vehicle specification include: vehicle conflict areas should be avoided or engineering controls put in place, and reasonable allowance for growth in bus numbers and type using the interchange in the future.”
Spokes would be happy to sit down with residents and Council staff to redesign this project. Staff sat down with those opposed to cycling on Ferry Road, High Street, Victoria Street and other projects. It is long past time for fair treatment for people on bikes and for non-commercial rate payers both in Council planning and on the road.
- This is the responsible option. The bus stops need to be taken off of Buckleys Road. Options need to be explored. S/W bound buses could turn into Eastgate at Russel Street using the loading and parking area in front of The Warehouse. Council could purchase 61 Buckleys Road to provide N/E bound buses with off street stops and an easy return via Rhona St. Pedestrians using the signal at Russel St would also stop traffic allowing buses safe easy return to the carriageway. Alternatively McLean Street could become a cul de sac for providing a wide traffic free entry into 69 Buckleys Road being bought for stops and easy return. In either instance the existing signalized crossing at Russel Street provides pedestrians a safe crossing point. A big improvement over the non-signalized crossing now provided and proposed.
- The 4 traffic lanes are each 3.2m. The centre median is 3.5m wide at its narrow point by the pedestrian refuge.
Reducing the carriageway lanes to 3m and median widths to 2.5m frees up 1.8 meters. As the median is wider than 3.5m alongside the bus stops, even more space is available.
Council needs to sit down with the wider community to get this done right both to deal with current issues and to future proof. Doing things once and well is more economical of money and lives.
Alternatives to Buckleys Road for people on Bikes
Buckleys Road offers the most direct route to New Brighton and surrounding areas. Buckley’s Road offers on again off again cycle lanes. There are no direct or contiguous cycle friendly alternatives. It desperately needs improvement.
The two alternatives to Buckleys Road offer on again off again on road cycle lanes which add 3-4.5k’s to an otherwise 6k trip from Eastgate to the New Brighton Mall. The 8-80 year old cyclists Council wishes to encourage are abandoned and discouraged.
A young woman, Fyfa Dawson, was recently killed by a truck crossing her lane. It was a needless, horrific and tragic death. People who cycle had repeatedly alerted officials to the risk. They were ignored. NZTA has responded that all adopted practices and safety audits had been applied. The status quo of transport design is not fit for purpose. Let us learn from our mistakes.
Reviewing this project and too many others it seems that outside of the Major Cycle routes Council is not addressing the needs of people who cycle. The local cycle networks are under developed with broken connections where they exist at all. The transport needs and choice for interested but concerned cyclists and even many experienced cyclists continue to be unmet. In what way is this equitable? In what way is it even moral?
Numbers at counters outside the MCRs are falling, Buckleys Rd has seen a 3.0% decrease in average ridership in the last year, even though there is no MCR alternative that could explain the decrease. If the Council wants to be serious about reducing car traffic (increasing safety, reducing emissions), we need more separated infrastructure. This will also lead to further increases of people cycling both on MCR’s and the local networks.
Some at Council may argue that cycling has received more than its share of funding. To assert this ignores decades of cycling receiving 0.05%-1% or less of the transport budget. At least 7% of commuters are on bicycles in Christchurch. Even at the historical low point 2%+ continued to cycle.
With hundred plus million dollar projects in the central city some local residents feel that their need for simply safe infrastructure is being neglected. Their rates benefit others, not themselves.
Uptake of the new cycling infrastructure has been unprecedented. The need and demand for safe cycling infrastructure is clear. It also reduces congestion, lowers capital and maintenance costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improves public health. None of those are benefits of motorized transport.
The uptake of public transport in Christchurch has not improved. Most measures find it in decline. Public transport is important. Central government still applying the Fare Box Recovery requirement of 50% of expense to be met via fares and ECan’s broken “Hub and Spokes” routes are unlikely to lead to an increase.
People want the freedom and better health which cycling provides. People who ride or would like to ride bicycles have been neglected and endangered for far too long. It is time to focus on completing the networks which allow us all to safely choose to cycle when it meets our transport needs.