Parking ban to create clearway for cyclists

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 03/12/2012

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Peak-hour parking is set to be banned on the busiest parts of Te Awe Awe St in Palmerston North to create clearways for the safety of cyclists.

The plans follow a plea for improvements at "pinch points" along the busy commuter route from "utility cyclist" Simon Loveday.

He said the plans before the city council's planning and policy committee tomorrow would be "a fantastic step forward".

They were the outcome of a plea he took to the committee in August.

He said that even as a confident and experienced cyclist, he sometimes felt he was risking his neck on Te Awe Awe St.

"Clearways are smart, low-cost measures that could be easily implemented within weeks, and they would make a huge difference for cyclists on Te Awe Awe St.

"I'm excited to envision a ride to work in which I can stay out of the traffic flow for the entire length of the street, a ride that doesn't require veering around parked cars every 10 metres, and a ride home that doesn't involve quietly praying for my safety as I approach the Victoria St intersection."

Dr Loveday said the council had already done some great projects for recreational cyclists, and he was delighted to see something happening to help commuting cyclists.

In the past 12 years, 19 cyclists had been involved in crashes along the street, with 14 of them injured. Most of the crashes involving cyclists were at or near intersections, with two at driveways. Most happened on weekdays, in the dark.

About 60 cyclists an hour use the route at peak times.

Senior transportation engineer for roading Glenn Connelly completed consultation with residents about the planned clearways, and some of them were worried about the loss of on-street parks outside their houses.

Mr Connelly said it was a matter of striking a balance between the safety of cyclists and the convenience of residents and their visitors.

The proposed clearways would be in place on the southern or Massey side of the street from 7.45am until 9.15am on weekdays, and on the northern or city side of the street from 2.45pm until 6.45pm, Monday to Friday.

On-street parking would be allowed outside those hours and at weekends.

Mr Connelly said the clearways were a low-cost solution that could be implemented in the near future.

The impact on residents would be relatively low, but the situation would be monitored and inset parking bays could be an option in future.

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- The Manawatu Standard

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