Submission to Wellington City Council
Safer Roads Newtown and Berhampore Proposal
14 July 2008
Submitted by Patrick Morgan
The best ways to reduce the number and severity of road crashes are to
reduce the volume of traffic, and
reduce the speed of traffic.
Mode shift as a result of rising fuel prices and climate change concerns is helping to achieve number 1. Travel demand management programmes will also help.
A combination of methods is needed to achieve number 2. These include legal, environmental, engineering, education, encouragement and enforcement.
Review by experienced engineers
All safer roads designs should be reviewed by traffic engineers who are familiar with road design for cyclists and walkers. These proposals do not properly address cyclists' needs. I am concerned that some of the interventions will reduce safety and level of service to cyclists.
The evidence shows that we can reduce crashes by reducing traffic speeds (www.20splentyforus.org.uk/, Down With Speed, ACC).
We should reduce traffic speed to a 30 km/h maximum on non-arterial roads and the main shopping route (Riddiford St), and a maximum of 40 km/h on arterial roads.
Arterial roads include Adelaide Road, Russell Terrace, Mt Albert Rd, Manchester St, Hornsey Rd, and Constable St.
I support the removal of on-street parking in order to make space for cycle lanes. As traffic volumes decline there is less demand for on-street parking.
Safety ought not be traded off for the convenience of people who want to park on public property.
Traffic lanes should either be 3.0 metres wide, to prevent motorists passing cyclists, or 4.2 metres to allow safe passing.
Source: New Zealand supplement to the Austroads guide to traffic engineering practice, part 14: Bicycles (http://www.transit.govt.nz/content_files/technical/ManualSection42_FileN...)
Lane widths between 3.0 and 4.2 metres creates uncertainty - " Can I squeeze past here?" - and I believe is the prime reason more people do not cycle in Wellington. I was hit by a car whose driver told me they were trying to pass within the centreline. The lane just wasn't wide enough.
The proposed 1.2 metre cycle lane on Adelaide Rd (NSR1) does not meet the Austroads guidelines, as illustrated below. It needs to be at least 1.8 metres wide, while the parking lane should be at least 2.1 metres wide. Traffic lanes should be 3.0 metres wide to prevent dangerous overtaking as above.
City Council exposes itself to a serious risk of liability if it builds cycle facilities which do not meet Austroads guidelines.
A cycle lane that meets Austroads guidelines should be built heading north on Adelaide Rd between Island Bay and Stoke St. It is a popular cycling route with high traffic volumes.
I would like the proposed kerb extension on the western side of Adelaide Rd just before Stoke St to be removed from the plans, as that is right at the place where cyclists going to Hanson St would be slowing to turn at the same time as they are vulnerable to being 'squeezed' by traffic from behind.
I am opposed to angle-parking on Wilson St (beside Daniell St) as it is lethal for cyclists. It is unacceptable to compromise cyclist safety to accommodate parking.
These are a hazard for cyclists in the way they are currently proposed.
Extensions should not stick out any further than would allow for a 1.2 metre marked cycling space plus a 3 metre traffic lane between the extension and centre line.
All central islands should be removed in places where these widths are not achievable.
Where a cycle lane crosses side streets, it must be well-marked with cycle symbols and coloured asphalting, to alert drivers entering or exiting the side streets to the fact that cyclists may be there.
A comprehensive 'share the road' campaign, to educate motorists, cyclists and walkers to be aware of each other's needs is a high priority. A 'don't burst my bubble' campaign aimed at drivers, to show them how to behave around cyclists, should be run each year.
Bus drivers in particular need an education and awareness programme. Bus drivers are professionals, and should behave better than the average motorist.
Campaigns to remind drivers and car passengers to look before opening doors should be run as part of this Safer Roads programme.
Cyclists also need to be educated about issues like riding predictably and not skimming alongside parked cars.
The variable message signs are a good idea, but speed cameras and red light cameras also need to be an integral part of the Safer Routes programme.
Provision for cyclists at signals
Advance waiting boxes for cyclists at all traffic signals (with a lead-in cycle lane) should be installed. These markings are also better for pedestrian safety, since they pull the cars back further from the pedestrian crossings.
Along with the advance waiting boxes, there should be a cycle-specific green light that gives the cyclists a few seconds lead time to get through the intersection ahead of the motor vehicles. Intersections are a particular danger point for cyclists, and anything that makes them more visible to motorists and gets them out of the way of turning vehicles is good.
At all traffic signals, the detector loops should be sensitive enough to pick up the fact that a cyclist is waiting.
Speed control measures
We agree that just putting up signs to reduce speeds is not a good idea - speed reductions need to be encouraged by better design. Making it clear that roads are shared by cars, walkers, trucks, cyclists and buses and educating all to use the space responsibly creates a safer environment.
Speed humps are often an effective way of slowing motorists, but speed cushions (e.g. Scorching Bay) are preferable to speed humps for cyclists.
Notes for oral submission:
WCC Safer Roads oral submission
4 September 2008
Good morning, introduction.
I'd like to make just 6 points in support of my written submission.
I'm going to offer 2 forms of evidence,
the advice of experts
1. I strongly support the Council's efforts to improve public safety by reducing traffic speeds.
2. However I think we can be bolder in our efforts.
3. I believe we ought to take a risk management approach to this problem, and seek to reduce risk at source.
4. Specifically, walking and cycling expert Dan Burden was in New Zealand last month. He told us that the best ways to reduce the number and severity of road crashes are to
reduce the volume of traffic, and
reduce the speed of traffic.
He said 50 to too fast for residential streets, and here's the good news:
5. He told us that streets carry as much traffic at 40 km/h as they do at 60 km/h, as intersections tend to limit flow. Take Constable St, for example.
So the case for lower speeds is strong.
6. Anecdote: Adelaide Rd close shave
To sum up, I strongly support the Council's efforts to improve public safety by reducing traffic speeds, but think we can be bolder.