Call for crossing lights for cyclists

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Shared space . . . Pedestrians wait at the crossing in Thomas Burns St as cyclists head south on the footpath by the overbridge. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Push-button crossing lights would allow safer access for cyclists trying to get across Portsmouth Drive near the peninsula map layby area, Spokes Dunedin chairman Jon Dean says.

It was difficult for cyclists to cross there as the area was increasingly busy, with traffic coming from Portsmouth Dr, Portobello Rd and Shore St, and visibility was poor.

One of the issues with the existing arrangement was the narrowness of the cycle bay in the median area where cyclists wait to cross the remainder of the carriageway.

Dangerous crossing . . . A cyclist waits to cross Portsmouth Dr near the Otago Peninsula map lay-by area on Tuesday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

This was a problem for those who had bike trailers with children on board.

Dunedin City Council transport strategy manager Nick Sargent said he was not aware of any collisions in the area, but was aware it was getting busier for vehicles, including buses, and cyclists.

The area had been monitored for some time and the council would be looking at options.

He said it was too early to say what these might be, but added that whatever was to be done would be scheduled in the council’s 2021-24 transport programme.

Responding to questions about the risk of collisions between pedestrians and cyclists as pedestrians emerged from the pedestrian overbridge in Thomas Burns St, Mr Sargent said the council’s road safety team was not aware of any issues, including collisions.

Recent work upgrading the Thomas Burns car park had widened the shared path and realigned the entrance to the car park to make it easier for people to enter and exit the car park from the overbridge steps.

Mr Dean said he was not aware of collisions either, but could see the potential for that.

It was not particularly easy for cyclists travelling south to see pedestrians coming from the overbridge and pedestrians might be hurrying to catch the green crossing light near the overbridge exit.

There is a high cyclist/pedestrian sign jutting above the car park and visible to pedestrians on the overbridge, provided they are not looking down as they descend the steps.

The only sign for cyclists heading south is also high up and not likely to be readily seen by a cyclist.

Signs warning cyclists to slow down when travelling south and some type of road marking on the footpath area to remind pedestrians of the risk might be helpful, he suggested.

These areas highlighted that pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders and scooter users were all crunched into footpaths about 2m wide, and that created tensions, Mr Dean said.

Mr Sargent said the council had recently run a Share the Space campaign, aimed at all road users.

It encouraged people to use shared road space in a careful and considerate way, no matter what their mode of transport.