Path panic

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - JA­NINE RANKIN

Palmer­ston North cy­clists are dis­ap­pointed with the de­sign of two new un­der­passes on the Man­gaone Stream shared path­way.

The most ad­vanced of the two projects at Botan­i­cal Rd fea­tured two tight hair­pin bends each side of the bridge that Cy­cle Aware pres­i­dent Matthew McKen­zie said would be al­most im­pos­si­ble to ride around.

Two-thirds of the money for the $600,000 un­der­pass projects is com­ing from the New Zealand Trans­port Agency’s ur­ban cy­cle­ways pro­gramme, with the bal­ance of $200,000 com­ing from rates.

McKen­zie said it was great to have un­der­passes so cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans did not have to cross the road at points that had poor vis­i­bil­ity.

‘‘But good in­fra­struc­ture should be eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and con­ve­nient, and these are nei­ther of those.’’

The zigzag de­signs were also crit­i­cised by Peo­ple on Bikes Fo­rum mem­ber Lei Meisen.

He said the hair­pins were too dif­fi­cult and the slopes were too steep, and urged the coun­cil to in­clude cy­clists in de­sign­ing bike lanes and paths.

An­other sub­mit­ter on the coun­cil’s pro­posed an­nual bud­get, To­mas Behrens, also crit­i­cised the use of hair­pin bends that many cy­clists would strug­gle with.

City coun­cil road­ing team leader David Lane said in light of neg­a­tive feed­back, the new un­der­passes and others around the city would be re­viewed.

He said they com­plied with stan­dards, but if im­prove­ments were rec­om­mended, they would be con­sid­ered.

Lane said there were some con­straints on what the coun­cil could do be­tween the stop­banks.

There was also a phi­los­o­phy about en­sur­ing the safety of

‘‘Good in­fra­struc­ture should be eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and con­ve­nient’’ Matthew McKen­zie, Cy­cle Aware

pedes­tri­ans on a shared path.

‘‘We need to take into ac­count the rel­a­tive speed dif­fer­en­tials, the width of the path, vis­i­bil­ity, and the de­sir­abil­ity of cy­clists hav­ing a high-speed ap­proach to a con­strained part of the path.’’

McKen­zie said he un­der­stood the safety con­cerns, but thought the bal­ance had tipped.

‘‘One per­son I know car­ries a baby on their bike, and to go around that hair­pin seems like com­pro­mis­ing one per­son’s safety for an­other’s.’’

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Cy­cle Aware Manawatu’s Matthew McKen­zie says the new Man­gaone Stream un­der­pass at Botan­i­cal Rd is too steep with a hair­pin too tight to ride.

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