Anyone who has travelled around town lately can’t help but notice the immense amount of roadworks going on. The rebuild is in full swing, repairing pipes and roads, and that means a lot of temporary traffic management. Unfortunately that could also mean a lot of angst for those on their bikes.
We’ve griped a little bit in the past about whether cycling is being remembered while all of this work is happening. If it feels like cycling is forgotten in much of the rebuild work then this sends a bad message to both existing and would-be riders about their perceived priority in the world. Given the amount of traffic congestion around the city at present (due to the double whammy of the current reconstruction work underway and the dramatically changed travel patterns), it would seem like an ideal opportunity to encourage more people to cycle instead of drive.
Recently Spokes Canterbury had a meeting with Chch reconstruction agency SCIRT and the traffic management staff from their main contractors. The topic of discussion was how to provide for cycling in temporary traffic management at their worksites around the city. As many of you will appreciate, this has not always been well done! The most common complaint is of course the classic “signs in the cycle lane”, but other issues such as provision through road closures or sharing traffic lanes & footpaths have not always been thought through properly either.
SCIRT contractors have to follow specific procedures for temporary traffic management, and abide by the NZTA Code of Practice for TTM. The Code does include guidance on how to provide for cycling (and pedestrians) through worksites but, like any guidelines, they’re only as good as how they are implemented in practice. The contractors have agreed to pay more attention to how they provide for cycling; particular issues to focus on will be sign placement and appropriate widths of shared traffic lanes to better manage speed.
You can also help by letting them know about any problems you encounter when travelling through work sites. Most sites should have an information board somewhere giving 0800 contact details for the contractor involved; that is the best way to get prompt action. Please let them know too if they are doing things well! For more information about how to provide feedback on maintenance works, see our earlier post (and if you have an actual crash, make sure you report it). Spokes will be meeting again with SCIRT in ~2-3 months time to see whether things have improved.
It pays to keep informed of traffic issues around the city; things change pretty quickly. Look out for traffic information on the Transport for Christchurch website, which shows major works, road closures and events via their interactive map. This information will help you find the quickest and safest route around the city, avoiding the biggest problems. Note though that they don’t tend to provide specific information about where pedestrians and cyclists can get through road closures.
Compromises will of course need to be expected; sometimes there’s simply not enough room and you will find yourself sharing a path with pedestrians, a traffic lane with (slow) traffic, or having to go the long way around. Have patience, follow the signs, and be courteous when sharing a path. We’ll all get there in the end…
NB: not every project around town is a SCIRT reconstruction project; CCC and NZTA are also continuing with their normal works programmes. Check on-site signage; if you’re not sure, contact the City Council and they will pass on any message to the appropriate party.
What’s your biggest bugbear about riding through roadworks sites?