Otago Daily Times
Assurance over school routes feedback
FEEDBACK from residents on trials to make school routes safer in Mosgiel is being taken on board, the Dunedin City Council says.
The council received 280 submissions on the MosgielTaieri Safer School Streets project, which involved the installation in October of temporary ‘‘crossing points’’ and planters on narrowed sections of streets, speed calming and speed limits, among other things around schools in Mosgiel and Outram.
People had a month to give feedback on the trials.
A council spokeswoman said people talked about a range of topics, including crossing points (locations, dimensions and type and the impact on cycling), the need for cycle lanes, road and intersection width, speed calming and speed limits, loss of parking, impact on bus stops, the look and use of planter boxes, education of parents and children and the engagement process.
The council has not released the submissions, but has issued answers to some of the more common matters it says were raised in feedback.
Those included whether the changes made on the streets would stay that way, to which it responded they would be adjusted according to feedback and impact.
On why the installations looked the way they did, the council said it was because it used lowcost and easily movable materials in testing. When a final layout was selected, they would be replaced by permanent items that would look different.
It was installing crossing points instead of zebra crossings because the latter were not as safe as people thought because drivers often did not look or stop for them, and at crossing points people crossed only if it was clear.
The trials did not make it more dangerous for people on bikes and in cars to share the road, because cars and bikes needed to share the road and people cycling in the parking lane now needed to come into the vehicle lane as they cycled around the kerb buildouts, just like they needed to when cycling around parked cars, the council said.
In response to a common question about how many crashes there had been on the roads involved in the trials, it said ‘‘there have been serious crashes on some of the roads involved’’, but more importantly the council wanted to prevent more crashes, and speeds around school routes were too high.
On whether intersections people believed were now too tight to turn safely out of could be fixed, it said the width of the roads was still within minimum best practice requirements and ensured the intersections had enough room for rubbish trucks to turn, but vehicles needed to slow before turning to safely navigate the intersections.
On why people were not consulted before the trials, the council said the trials were its way of consulting. The design was based on input from pupils and parents from Mosgiel and Outram schools and the MosgielTaieri Community Board. Schools even helped design the trials infrastructure.
Council staff would analyse the feedback and discuss it with the project working group, which was made up of community board and school representatives, the spokeswoman said.
Speed counts, site observations and other information sources would also be considered.
The feedback would then be used to help refine the design of the work and define the next steps of this project, she said.