The Sand Cycle

The Dunedin City Council is presently consulting on the next stage of its cycle network for South Dunedin in Victoria Road. The project has raised the ire of residents in the area because of a loss of parking, dangers to pedestrians due to the shared design of the proposal, a loss of business and the timeframe of the consultation process. The City Council has already changed the proposed route away from the sand dune area of St Clair/St Kilda because of the stability and safety of the foreshore due to on-going erosion concerns. Despite that, the notion of a cycle track in the dune area seems etched in the public’s mind to allay other effects of the proposal. For the Society, the protection of the dune areas of St Clair and St Kilda remains paramount to the long-term protection of the city, its coastal environment and its associated landscape. As a city Dunedin and its residents have been fortunate to be able to enjoy the recreational opportunities that the sand dunes have afforded them over the years. This, despite the continued pressure being placed upon dune and beach health due to pressures from land use, mixed management practices and continued erosional forces over the last 150 years.

St Clair 1939

St Clair 1939

Infrastructural development, such as the proposed cycleway must be mindful of the need to protect and promote the sustainable management of dune health for the welfare of the city and its residents. This is particularly pertinent in the face of recent erosion events along the Dunedin coastline and in the predicted sea level rise scenario’s promoted by various bodies including the City Council. From both perspectives and within the historical context the sand dunes are under extreme pressure that has continued with widespread human modification and destruction of dune habitat. The Society has repeatedly requested the City Council undertake major initiatives such as change in land use and restorative management to ensure the dunes are protected and nurtured into a productive ecological and landscape entity. The cycleway issue means that the City Council must find appropriate measures that allay the community fears over the management and design of the project. However, to achieve this it must utilise good design, consultation and common sense so as not to impose expensive infrastructure on a precarious and fragile dune habitat that protects and provides for the benefit of our city.

St Clair Emergency Repairs

St Clair Emergency Repairs


2 thoughts on “The Sand Cycle

  1. Hello all
    I understood from a recent ODT articles that the cycleway along the sand dunes was not viable for the reasons in this article’
    Quote from the article in ODT Monday 26th of May:

    “But organisers of last night’s meeting found little support for part of their petition, which called for an alternative cycle track along nearby sand dunes.

    There was clear support for safe cycleways, as well as arguments the loss of parking might not be such a bad thing.”
    This indicates of public or council support for any sand-dune cycleway.
    The proposed alternative to a widened, shared footpath is concerning to me. Discussions I have are that the risk of serious injury are much less for the shared footpath option. My brother Nigel Weston a CCC civil engineer and proponent of cycleways (and attendent of international conferences on cyclist options in urban areas) has shared many of the ideas and projects he has investigated and applying to Christchurch. I personally believe that the mixed use of a footpath will generate many accidents and near misses and will reflect badly on this city or at least look haphazard. This belief is based on observations of the various type of users and how they use the carriageway(path/road) that is assigned(or not) to them. For instance; skateboarders and scooters weaving or slalom habit in order to maintain momentum, cyclist continuing at a speed more suited to the main carraigeway, prams and buggies pushed by mothers or grandparents, elderly persons stopping starting, joggers and sometimes with a prams. All these types of users on the same lane is a recipe for disaster to me and I firmly believe in 3 carriageway models of suitable width is the answer. Off street parking is also an issue and needs an approach reflected in the budget of any proposal.

    Daniel Weston

    • Hi Daniel
      Thanks for your well thought out comment. I tend to agree that mixing pedestrians and cyclists in the same lane has issues and design needs to be appropriate to ensure safety and resolution of any likely user conflict. What concerned the Society was that the Council are yet to make up their minds over what configuration is likely in the area. So does this mean the dune option was still a possibility? I think you’ll agree that dune stability is and will continue to be a problem at St Clair and St Kilda for some time and investing in cycling infrastructure is not sustainable in the dune area. So the issue comes down to good design and good consultation that creates something that works appropriately for the city and residents. Thanks for your comment.


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