Blunt, brutal, bland — the new cycle-slowing barriers in Nelson have received a scathing review.
But although the feedback on the new safety staples at the Songer St crossing is less than complimentary, Nelson City Council says they appear to be working to slow people down and reduce accidents.
The permanent barriers were installed late December to replace temporary brightly-coloured concrete blocks along the popular shared path.
The staples, and the “brutal” blocks before them, aimed to slow path users after several safety incidents were caused by cyclists and scooters crossing the road at high speeds.
Signs telling people to slow their approach were already in place.
Bicycle Nelson Bays convenor Bevan Woodward acknowledged the council had to make the crossing a safe, a difficult job where several different modes of transport interact.
However, he described the newly-installed staples as overengineered and bad urban design.
“We think that the response is very blunt, brutal, or bland.”
Woodward said the raised crossing was a great facility, but it was “a shame” the staples were installed.
“It could have been handled differently, it’s not fair [that] people who are in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters have to deal with these kinds of obstructions.”
He likened the layout to a “sheep run” and said its industrial aesthetic didn’t fit with the “lovely” Railway Reserve.
“It’s just so ugly.”
Woodward believed the council should have trialled rumble strips along the section of the shared path, similar to what can be found on the Maitai River path that travels underneath State Highway 6/Queen Elizabeth II Drive, before installing the barriers.
“We think they work really well. They’re just an alert to cyclists and scooter-users that you need to slow down.”
But it appears the staples are working to slow path users down.
“Since installing the new barriers at the Songer St crossing there have been no reported crashes or near misses,” said the council’s group manager infrastructure, Alec Louverdis.
He added that Stoke has a high population of older people and that rumble strips could impede walkers and motor scooters.
“Council has to consider the conflicting needs of all users – making the area aesthetically pleasing, making it easier and more convenient for active transport, while also meeting the safety requirements for a variety of different modes of transport,” Louverdis said.
“Council prioritises safety above all, even when we anticipate this may be unpopular with some users.”
Artwork and messaging to encourage safe travel speeds were planned to be added to the staples in the coming weeks.
The new layout will continue to be monitored.
It cost $20,500 to install the blocks and staples at the crossing.
By Local Democracy Reporter Max Frethey
Local Democracy Reporting is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air