More crazy roading decisions down in ‘Nam’

Blenheim’s craziest cycle route.

You will no doubt all recall my recent post about the crazy new ‘shared arrows’ that the ‘Nam’ Council (Blen-Nam, get it?, sorry, blame Nige!) have put down the middle of Blenheim’s Beaver St.

The upshot was that by putting a cycle lane down the middle of the road, it would encourage Blenheim’s lycrists to ‘claim their position in the lane, to presumably, somehow, make cycling life safer!

Claim your lane for safety!

Well, it turns out that forcing cars and bikes onto the same piece of road wasn’t enough. Now the council have completely altered one of the intersections to, and I quote here,

“improve the comfort and travel times of cyclists along Beaver Rd, as they would not have to stop for traffic.” End quote.

So how do traffic engineers think cycling comfort should be improved? Well by completely reversing the time honoured tradition of having the side road give way to the road with the greater traffic flow!

So I sent our intrepid Nam roving reporter Nige out to survey the damage. He advises, quote.

“Because of the lay out of Blenheim (Because it is reclaimed swamp land) Dillon St is considered the thoroughfare to bypass town. It has always been an unimpeded route to get between the south part of town and Springlands. So it’s really really really weird having to give way at Beaver Rd.

Even weirder is driving on beaver Rd and two points (Dillon St being one of them) which used to be give ways are now thoroughfares and it’s is very very hair raising.
Even when I took this photo people approaching were audibly braking at the last moment!” End quote.

Major road now has to give way to little used side road, for the “comfort” of cyclists.

Oh well, new signage, people will get used to it I suppose. Well perhaps not.

For decades, the good folk of Blenheim have been driving down this bit of road, safe in the knowledge that the other good folk on the side street, will give way to them, just like it happens in the rest of the country.

Habits are hard to change. Perhaps that’s why one of the residents recently commented in a Stuff article, titled ‘Crashes likely if confusing give-way switch-up not put back’, that, quote.

 “there had been at least three car accidents at the Dillon St and Beaver Rd intersection in the weeks following construction.

“It’s become a speed track, with the new switches, despite the 30kmh speed limit. I’m dead against the way they’ve done it,” end quote.

It seems that the council’s own people can see it’s now an issue. Quote.

‘Changes to two intersections along a Blenheim road as part of the council’s masterplan to encourage cycling have been identified as a “serious safety concern”.

An independent post-construction safety audit of the new Eltham-Beaver Cycleway said the giveway changes along Beaver Rd had made a “fundamental alteration” to the way the intersections had operated for decades.

The current intersection layout is resulting in failure-to-giveway type crashes and there is the potential for a car versus cyclist conflict that will have serious consequence with regards to injury,” the audit said. End quote.

So another slow clap for the roading engineers who like to make things better by making things way worse.

As another concerned resident put it, quote.

“It was an absolute waste of money. This road is bad enough without the council adding to it.” End quote.

So how has it come to this? Big deal if the cyclists have to stop for a moment to comply with the road rules? Are they better than you sitting there in your gas guzzler?

The above-mentioned audit found that the side road has four times less traffic on it than the main road so clearly, there is an agenda within the Nam council to promote cycling over normal road traffic.

Shame about all the crashes it’s been causing though.

I wonder what JAG would say about this?

Is it better to have more crashes, even if more cyclists and motorists get hurt, but still be able to say that we are a nation that loves lycra?

It seems that the Gunts like cycling maybe more than life itself!


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ExPFC, ex lots of things. Husband to a great woman. Father to great kids. Traveller, teller of tall tales, wannabe capitalist property magnate. I’m a passionate user of fossil fuels, a proud Kiwi, Ford over Holden, Indy over F1, V8’s over everything else.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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