Council contractor Ventia began work in Island Bay on Monday, and between now and mid-February changes will be made to all the intersections and bus stops along The Parade.
Improvements include new cycle lanes; four new pedestrian crossings near Dee, Humber, Mersey and Tamar streets; intersections changes; and new-look bus stops with cycle bypasses.
The two zebra crossings in the shopping centre are being raised to footpath height to encourage safer speeds. Work has started at the crossing near the medical centre and will soon be under way at the crossing at the northern end of the shops too.
Both crossings will be altered simultaneously – one side of the road at a time starting on the eastern, or library, side. Work will also start soon on the south-bound bus stop near Avon Street.
The road through the shops will be two-way at peak times, but between 9am and 4pm traffic will be reduced to one lane at the north and south end of the shops for 4 to 5 weeks. Delays are possible at times.
Councillor Andy Foster, who heads the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says the changes to the crossings were recommended by the Island Bay Cycleway community working party.
“We weren’t originally planning to make changes in the shopping centre but the working party was keen to see some modifications to help reinforce the 30km/h speed,” he says. “As a result, we are raising the level of the crossings and installing speed humps on either side, which will make the area safer for pedestrians, drivers and people on bikes.”
Cr Foster says the work in the shopping centre is being done first so it can be completed before the end of November ahead of the busy shopping period before Christmas.
While it happens, people will still be able to park in most of the existing parking spaces, use the footpaths on both sides of the shopping centre at all times, and access all shops and businesses.
The construction team will try to minimise disruption as much as possible, but there will be temporary parking restrictions affecting a few car parks, general construction activity, and some noise and dust at times.
The road through the shopping centre will be resealed in November once the new raised crossings are in place. Speed humps will then be installed on each side of the crossings.