Pinch points are a real hazard as they force cyclists into the path of a vehicle where neither party has room to manoeuvre. The consequences can be severe. Let’s review a case study – I recently found time to trawl back through my emails to Auckland Transport.
As the photo shows, there’s a pinch point on Victoria Rd in Devonport. A parking space is situated adjacent to a raised central median traffic island, leaving no space for safe passing or evasive action. The parking space is also blocking access to the bus stop, forcing buses to clip the raised median before cutting in to the stop. So it seems pretty straightforward for a couple of broken yellow lines to be applied to resolve this situation.
How long would you expect this to take to be resolved. A week? A month at the outside? Let’s have a look at how it panned out.
6 Dec 2011
Complaint logged via the AT website and acknowledged. The following italicised responses are from AT.
9 Feb 2012
“We agree that there is a pinch point for cyclists due to parked vehicles and the median traffic island. In order to remove the parking and replace it with broken yellow lines, we have to go through a lengthy process of consultation with all affected residents and then reporting to the Traffic Control Committee. If the committee approves the proposed broken yellow lines restriction, it could take a month for the lines to be marked. In total we expect the whole process to take between 3 and 6 months to complete.”
Great, AT agrees it’s a hazard. But why so long? And why is so much consultation needed for an obvious safety issue?
22 Feb 2012
We agree that it seems a significant time before the change in on-street parking restriction can be processed and approved.
However, because the new restriction is enforceable by law, there is a regulatory process which we must follow. We have no choice in this matter. Consultation is a compulsory part of this process. If we agree that this change is a matter of traffic safety rather than an operational issue, then progressing this change after consultation will go ahead even if the affected resident objects to it. In this case safety takes precedence over the resident’s need for this on-street space. Also, It should be pointed out that there is a well-marked footpath cycle lane on a wide footpath, running parallel to the section of Victoria Road which has the pinch point. This provides a totally safe alternative to cyclists concerned about the length of time before the pinch point is removed.
I disagree that the availability of an off-road path is a satisfactory alternative. Time passes….
2 May 2012
We refer to our previous correspondence and confirm that consultation has been completed to seek feedback from the most affected parties on the proposal and no objections have been received. We are now proceeding with the resolution process and will endeavour to install the additional broken yellow lines by the 31st of May 2012.
We appreciate your feedback and trust you will see improvements at this location shortly.
Great. Resolution by the end of the month. But time passes…
14 August 2012
As explained in our previous correspondence, prior to the physical installation of a broken yellow line, a resolution must be prepared that becomes the legal document to support the restriction. While we appreciate your desire to have the restriction implemented as soon as possible, there has, unfortunately, been a delay in the resolution process due to the large number of road marking requests received over the last few months. Therefore, we now expect the broken yellow line to be installed by the end of August 2012.
We apologise for this unforeseen delay and hope you will bear with us while we complete the necessary legal requirements.
Oh well – at least in time for spring…
29 August 2012
While we had hoped to provide you with a response by this time, we need more time to look into your concerns and suggestions. We apologise for the delay and you can expect to receive an update by the end of September 2012.
What! More time passes. When is this ever going to be done?
25 Oct 2012
We apologise sincerely for the lengthy delay with marking the above mentioned broken yellow lines. We are pleased to advise that our contractors have now confirmed that the lines were marked on the 17th of October 2012.
At last! Summer is spent cycling past this spot with a smile on my face.
But really AT, 10 months is far too long to resolve such a hazard. I acknowledge it’s not just a matter of dispatching a workman to the site with a brush and a tin of yellow paint, but surely some of these processes can be improved.
Have you had problems with lengthy resolutions to simple safety issues? Give us your feedback – Cycle Action meets frequently with AT and are always ready to provide examples and relay constructive criticism.