Otago Daily Times

As­sur­ance over school routes feed­back

- STAFF RE­PORTER Dunedin

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.

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