Ferry Road a link or a gauntlet for the Heathcote Expressway?

This project was already consulted on in late 2016. While a real improvement, it fell short of CCC’s own Cycle Design Guidelines for a Major Cycle Route. Submissions received provided strong support along with requests to improve what was on offer. Business owners on the Ferry Road section complained that they would lose much needed parking.

In response to business owner’s concerns CCC has revisited the section of Ferry Road from Fitzgerald to Wilsons Road. Spending considerable resources to assess various suggested routes, the actual on street parking use and need. The original route is found to be best for safety for all road users and to have the least impact on area businesses and on street parking.

CCC found that the majority of the existing on street parking spots on Ferry Road appear to serve as employee parking provided by the ratepayers.

CCC also considered alternatives to the preferred option of separated cycle lanes on each side of Ferry Road (Route C). Variations on a bi-directional cycle lane on one side of the road and shared paths were considered and found wanting as were other routes. Safety issues were the primary hurdle followed by costs for some of the variations.

There are several overall questions which can help to frame this project.

  • What is the purpose of the city’s investment in roads? To serve transport modes and needs or to provide ratepayer subsidized parking for business owners?
  • Should ratepayers sacrifice road safety and tolerate increased congestion to supply that parking?

There is no doubt but that the business owners require some parking. In the central city where onsite parking is scarce there are parking districts which develop parking off street. CCC and the business community should pursue this option for parking on Ferry Road. It removes the ratepayer subsidy while redeploying existing carriageway space to meeting actual transport needs.

This consultation offers a number of options, but the preferred option is what was originally offered with a bit of modification increasing on street parking by 3 spots.  The 2.1m wide separated cycle lanes are 0.3m narrower than CCC’s Cycle Design Guidelines call for. Provision for widening should be planned. With frequent driveways and side streets it will be important to educate and enforce motorists to prevent the cycle lanes being used as a queuing area to access Ferry Road.

There is no discussion as to who will have to give way at the Ferry Road/Nursery Road intersection. East bound traffic on Ferry Road turning north onto Nursery Road will need to cross the east bound cycle lane. This is a major potential conflict point and safety issue. Leaving issues such as this one unaddressed is in stark contrast to the wealth of resources devoted to addressing business owners concerns over the loss of rate payer provided employee parking along Ferry Road.

The consultation document goes on to describe the project on Wilson’s Road and the alternative options.  As the preferred option is clearly far superior these alternatives are not discussed here.

CCC will need support from many people to advance the preferred option. A simple submission clearly stating support for the preferred option is needed. Adding in the concerns raised here will strengthen the project:

  • Please prevent blocking of the cycle lanes at driveways and side streets
  • Make clear that people in the cycle lane have right of way over cars turning onto Nursery Road
  • Plan to widen the cycle lanes to comply with the Cycle Design Guidelines
  • CCC and business community to pursue a parking district

It is clear from CCC’s response to the business owners on Ferry Road that the ‘squeaky wheel gets the grease’. It is up to people who cycle to make submissions in support of safe and adequate cycle infrastructure required to meet the needs of all road users.

Submissions must include your name, address, phone, organisational affiliation if commenting on their behalf. Send to cycleways@ccc.govt.nz

Project link: http://ccc.govt.nz/assets/Documents/The-Council/HYS/2017/MCR/MCR-Heathcote-Expressway-Consultation-Booklet-Further-consultation.pdf

Submissions due in by Friday 14 April

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