I sent the following letter to Steve Harte and Paul Barker at WCC, suggesting a site visit to Riddiford St. Paul is available most of the times suggested - just waiting for him to confirm Steve's availability.
Let me know if you're interested in coming along for the site visit. We only need 2-3 people from CAW, and want to keep things constructive.
I've also included below a draft letter Nick has prepared to follow up on the visit. Comments on the letter are welcome. Word version also attached so you can see the photos.
Dear Steve & Paul,
It's great to see the Advance Stop Boxes go in on Riddiford St. I've already made much use of them! Congratulations and thanks to WCC for this initiative. I hope we see lots more of them around the city.
A group of CAW members had a look at the Riddiford St layout changes after some concerns about their impact on cycle safety were raised with us.
If possible, we'd like to spend an hour or so looking at the road with you so we can discuss these concerns.
Please let me know which of the following dates/times would suit you. I've still got to confirm these with a couple of others in CAW, so some options would be great.
Wed 14 April, after 3:30
Thu 15 April, any time
Fri 16 April, any time
Mon 27 April. after 3
Tue 28 April, after 3
Wed 29 April, morning
Head of Urban Development & Transport
Wellington City Council
Re: Road safety along Riddiford St
Several members of Cycle Aware Wellington (CAW) have recently contacted us about the redevelopment of Riddiford St in Newtown. They were seriously concerned that this route has become dangerous for cyclists as a result of these changes, which contradicts the Council’s Cycle Policy (2008).
Several members of CAW visited Riddiford St to investigate these concerns and examine the behaviour of cyclists. They observed a high volume of people cycling along this route (see Photo 1), which highlights a need to give high priority to cyclist safety.
Photo 1: High volume of cyclists
CAW confirmed that changes to Riddiford St have made it more dangerous for cyclists travelling South, for the following reasons:
- Road users previously had one wide lane to travel in, with additional space for parked cars. This gave cyclists a large space to travel between moving traffic and parked cars. The road has since been widened to two lanes, with additional space for parked cars (but no additional space for cyclists).
- Cyclists have no obvious place to ride on this road (see Photo 2). They must choose to ride in the middle of the road, or risk being ‘sandwiched’ in the limited space between fast moving cars and parked cars (from which a door may open at any time).
Photo 2: Cyclists have no obvious place to ride
Traffic speeds appear to have increased along this road since it was widened. Cyclists have reported feeling more vulnerable due to this.
Cyclists travelling South across the Mein St intersection now need to move across a wide lane of fast moving traffic (see Photo 3). While Advance Stop Boxes have now been painted on the road at the front of this intersection, cyclists have difficulty reaching these boxes safely.
Photo 3: Cyclists need to move across a wide lane of fast moving traffic
The footpath has also been widened. Ironically, this may have increased the potential for conflict as many cyclists are now choosing to ride on the footpath instead of risking the road.
Riddiford St therefore needs urgent attention to make it safe for all road users. We are requesting the Council to make the following changes to Riddiford St between the John St and Mein St intersections:
1.Provide a safe lane for cyclists heading South
The Wellington City Council Cycle Plan (2008) supports this, as Policy 3.1 is that “On main corridors [including Riddiford St], cyclists will have an option of riding free of general traffic by using dedicated cycle facilities where practical or by using dedicated bus lanes.”
This could easily be achieved by removing 20 car parks that have been painted on this section of the road. This would send a clear message that cyclist safety is more important than providing space for a small number of parked cars. These car parks do not service any businesses along Riddiford St, as parking spaces are already provided by all shops. While some hospital visitors may use these spaces, the hospital already provides its own parking facilities. The hospital recently increased its parking facilities by 20% (to 1,564 carparks). This is 96 carparks more than the hospital estimated was necessary to meet demand growth (REFERENCE?). Removing 20 carparks on the road is therefore unlikely to have an adverse impact on hospital visitors. We also understand that none of the car parks at the Adelaide Rd end of Riddiford St are shown on the Resource Consent plans for the redevelopment.
2.Paint a bright green ‘feeder lane’ from the cycle lane to the advance stop box at Mein St
This would make it move obvious that cyclists need to be given safe space for traveling across this lane.
3.Manage traffic speed
Riddiford St would become safer if traffic speeds are limited to 40 km/h along this route. This is consistent with the speed limit further down Riddiford St by the Newtown shops.
We also request the following changes to be made along Riddiford St at the John St intersection (for cylists travelling South):
4.Reshape the pedestrian extension by the traffic lights
This currently forces cyclists further out into traffic than is necessary.
5.Remove two parking spaces
Two additional parking spaces have been painted on the road at a point where the lanes veer left. This creates a dangerously narrow space for cyclists and cars to negotiate (See Photo 4).
Photo 4: Lane narrows dangerously at one point
6.Adjust traffic light timing for traffic heading North
Most cyclists heading North at this intersection do not have sufficient time to reach the end of the intersection (where it joins Adelaide Rd) if they start crossing just before the lights turn amber. This could easily be resolved by addressing the timing of the phasing.
We trust that Wellington City Council takes the safety of cyclists seriously, so we look forward to hearing your response and working with you to improve road safety along this route.
Cycle Aware Wellington