29 Parking Spaces To Turn Into Cycle Lanes

Nearly 30 parking spaces along Masterton's busiest stretch of road are about to be rubbed out to make way for cycle lanes.
The new lanes, running on both sides of the street between the town's northern and southern roundabouts, have just been signed off by the Masterton District Council. They will go in next month as part of a $200,000 Masterton cycling initiative by the New Zealand Transport Authority.

Aside from the loss of spaces, medians will be readjusted in different parts of the street and the green seal near the Waingawa Bridge will also be laid in different sections.

Parking spaces being culled include nine near the southern approach to the Renall St roundabout, six outside the Masterton Club, three outside Shell, seven outside Caltex, and four south of the King St intersection.

While developing the proposal to install cycle lanes, NZTA consultants found that without removing those parking ''pinch points'' the lanes would typically be 1.2m wide, falling short of the 1.5m minimum recommended width.

Council officers reported last week that in a survey of all sites taken at 3.30pm last Friday - which they considered a ''reasonably typical snapshot'' - 18 cars were observed occupying the spaces.

Nine cars were seen at 2pm on the Monday before.

The officers reported that was consistent with a parking survey undertaken in December that indicated that in all areas the morning and afternoon peak parking demand was less than 85 per cent of the available supply.

''Only in the spaces outside Shell did the individual peak parking demand ever reach or exceed the available supply,'' their report said.

In a letter delivered to affected business owners on Thursday, council roading services manager Hamish Pringle said most spaces requiring removal were close to free all-day off-street parking, ''easily capable of accommodating displaced vehicles from the spaces lost''.

He said the Essex St carpark's 119 spaces averaged 25-50 per cent occupancy, the Wrigley St carpark's 55 spaces averaged 25-50 per cent, and the Horseshoe carpark's 67 spaces averaged 0-25 per cent. ''Implementation of a safe cycling environment in Masterton has long been recognised as needing a balance between on-street parking and cycling interests.''

Asked why the Masterton District Council's Chapel St spaces had escaped the cull, Mr Pringle said that was because there were no spaces on the other side of the street.

Four Chapel St spaces outside the Times-Age are being lost to allow room for a turning bay into the Farmers carpark. Masterton Cycling Advisory Group and district councillor Chris Peterson believed the lanes were ''just a start'' of a network being conceived in a cycling strategy for the town.

''This will be critical section of that network.''

Mr Peterson believed most people using the lanes would be adult commuters rather than schoolchildren.

Asked if there were enough cyclists in the town to justify the lanes, Mr Peterson said research had shown a ''chicken and egg situation'' where the number of cyclists did not grow until there were adequate facilities.

Avid cyclist Rob Irwin, who is helping develop a cycle trail for the region, believed people ''wouldn't rush out'' to use the lanes but they would make motorists more aware of cyclists.

''Anything that improves safety for cycling in Masterton is good. Masterton has the highest rate for cyclist injuries in Wairarapa,'' he said.

From Wairarapa Times-Age