Parking bays to go in plan for cycleway

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 08/11/2012

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Proposed changes to St Vincent St could mean the loss of up to 135 car-parking spaces in the street, as the Nelson City Council moves to encourage a culture of walking and cycling in Nelson to help ease traffic congestion.

Changes are also proposed for Vanguard St to discourage vehicles from parking in the area, as part of a multimillion-dollar package to upgrade cycling and walking routes around Nelson city.

The targets of the recently confirmed $13 million Walk, Cycles, Schools package are that 25 per cent of all journey-to-work trips would be by walking or cycling by 2018, and that average peak-hour travel-time delays would not be more than five minutes above uncongested times.

Plans for the St Vincent St upgrade include the removal of angle parking on the road's eastern side and the creation of a three-metre-wide two-way cycle path between the footpath and a new parallel parking lane.

There are currently 239 parking spaces along the southeastern side of St Vincent St, which would be reduced to 104 with the proposed layout. The 140 parking spaces on the northwestern side of the road would remain unchanged, meaning the total available spaces would be reduced from 379 to 244, a council report said. It might be possible to keep 29 angle parks adjacent to Victory Square. A staff assessment found that most parking in the area was long stay.

St Vincent St is considered an important link to a regional cycling route, but the city council has acknowledged its importance as a future transport corridor.

Proposed changes to Vanguard St include measures to discourage vehicles from turning and parking along or beside the shared path.

Traffic counts in 2009 showed 9000 vehicles a day between Gloucester and Parere streets, which suggested that the shared pathway was necessary, a council report said. It added that there was high demand in Vanguard St for parking spaces for businesses, and it was a busy area for vehicles accessing residential, commercial and industrial premises.

The council agreed at last week's policy and planning meeting to support the proposed improvements to St Vincent and Vanguard streets. It also acknowledged agreement would be needed with affected property owners to vary resource consents with conditions related to the road reserve, which would require alteration.

Some developments along these roads have existing resource consents with conditions requiring specific road layouts in these locations. A council report noted it was unknown what the cost or timeframe might be to alter the conditions, but they could be "potentially onerous".

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The council has also earmarked a project to assess the three roundabouts at the intersections of St Vincent and Gloucester streets, Vanguard and Gloucester streets, and Vanguard and Hardy streets.

A council report said plans were made in 2001 and 2002 to realign Vanguard and St Vincent streets, but only minor changes were made because of uncertainty at the time over the status of the proposed southern link. Completion last year of the Arterial Traffic Study has removed the uncertainty, the report said.

The council-driven study, completed last year with input from independent advisers, recommended keeping the Rocks Rd peak-hour clearways and southern transport corridor options open. Based on the weighting and analysis of each option, the council considered it best to leave only the southern transport corridor option for the future.

St Vincent St has been highlighted as the road that will provide the cycle link from the central city to the south via the Railway Reserve.

The council recently bought the fire-damaged Globe Hotel on the corner of St Vincent St to protect space required for the possible construction of the southern arterial route.

The council said recently that in the meantime the land would be used for footpaths and cycle lanes and to give extra room at the "narrow pinch point" on a busy road.

Council staff acknowledged that the proposed changes to the road layouts and their impact on parking were often sensitive to the affected community, which had the potential to prevent the project from progressing.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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