CAW August Meeting: workshop the year ahead and an update on Island Bay

 

Get excited!  We’re going to try out a different approach for our monthly meeting.  We’re going to listen to you..

Last month the CAW committee got together to review our vision statement and the objectives of what we want the future to look like.  We now would like to hear your feedback on what we came up with.  But we also want to workshop with you what our focus should be for the year ahead.

Below is shown an illustration of the so-called ‘motivation model’ that we will use as a framework.  Don’t worry, I’ll explain what it all means. The important thing is that we discuss the content and agree what is right, what should be added, and what can go.   All of this will help to ensure that CAW is effective in making cycling a safe and attractive option for our communities.

CAW new motivation model
Higher resolution copy available here.

We will finish up with some short updates, including the upcoming community re-engagement at Island Bay; what it means and why we should support it.

So looking forward to seeing you all there:

  • When: 6-7:30pm Tuesday 2 August
  • Where: Sustainability Trust, Forresters Lane (off Tory Street)

Ron

2WALKandCYCLE Conference 2016

Light path at night
Auckland’s Te Ara I Whiti/ Light Path

I was very lucky to be supported by CAW and Frocks on Bikes to attend the 2WALKandCYCLE conference again this year. There were some great speakers and events. It was also great to see some of Auckland’s amazing infrastructure close up. They’re fast becoming a bike-friendly city and Wellington has much work to do to catch up.

Some key takeaway messages from the conference are noted below. For more quick snapshots, check out the twitter hashtag 

Keynote speaker Gil Penalosa was super inspiring. His presentations are worth a post on their own (or a visit to youtube) but some key points here –

  • Quality = safety & dignity
  • change is not unanimous (otherwise you end up watering it down to much)
  • When the stars are aligned, do as much as possible! As good as possible and as fast as possible.
  • “CAVE people – Citizens against virtually everything!”
  • When you say ‘no’ to something, you’re also saying ‘yes’ to something else, i.e. if you say no to bike infrastructure, you are saying yes to more congestion, poor health and environmental outcomes.
  • “The forbidden is fun” open streets, open minds
  • “NZ is unique…just like everyone else”

Other speakers discussed a range of topics, including:

  • Auckland has a policy which puts young people first, I am Auckland, which builds a better city for everyone. What does Wellington have?
  • NZTA: Tell the ‘why’ story – make links to what people are passionate about
  • Elizabeth Claridge from NZTA: Cycling makes more sense as part of an integrated transport approach.
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Rebecca Cunniffe, NZTA presents “Building the ‘why’ story of cycling”
  • Debbie Lang from AT: *infrastructure* is the key behaviour change tool.
  • Jodie Lawson from Rotorua Council: low social license is not insurmountable
  • Sharleen Hannon from GHD: Is it true that if you “build it, they’ll come”? No. Well, some might but you *need* to promote it. Lots of work to be done behind the scenes before infrastructure goes in.
  • Liz Beck from Let’s Go, New Plymouth: We consult and consult and consult; it takes far longer than you can imagine
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shared by Chris Bowie from Opus

[If you want to know more, check the abstracts and papers and the presentations from the conference]

CAW Meeting Report – July 2016

We had a very busy agenda!  Apologies for the long list of minutes and no doubt not all of the discussion was captured.  In future we will probably change these meetings to become more action-focused workshops and less of a ‘talk fest’.  So watch this space.

 Updates on initiatives, future activities

    • CBD network plan
      • Some good ideas from WCC
      • Looking at setting up scenarios

      • Feeding the ideas into Getting Wellington Moving

      • Will take a while to happen, although some things can happen sooner particular where it is not part of the bigger transport changes.

      • There is a good picture of what is most needed.

      • NZTA also interested in quick wins for the CBD.  Needs to be pragmatic and sensible.  Similar to some of the recent improvements in Auckland [e.g. allowing cyclists to go both ways on some CBD one-way streets].

      • Doesn’t need big projects.  Can be slower speeds to create better shared spaces, e.g. in Cuba Street

    • Temporary closure of Waterloo Quay
      • WCC has been asked to monitor impact of roadworks on the traffic
      • Can be used as evidence to show that taking part of the road for a cycleway does not in fact impact on traffic
      • WCC said they would look into this
    • Reset of UCP
      • NZTA and WCC working together on the reset of the UCP plan
      • Should not mean that everything stops
      • But may reprioritise some of the routes such as Island Bay to CBD; creating better connections
    • Easter Bay Routes submission
      • Key message was not to focus on big projects alone; small changes will make a big difference too
      • This can be a network quieter neighbourhood street, as well as safer crossing like at the sports stadium
      • Not clear what is next and what timeframes, and action to confirm this at the next meeting
      • Note that UCP money would need to be spend by 2018
    • Rebicycle – Hilleke
      • A great initiative to make bikes, helmets, training etc available in the communities; making cycling more accessible for people on lower incomes, e.g. refugees
      • Needs to be made available in the communities itself
      • People / organisations can donate old or new bikes.  Can be dropped off at the Sustainability Trust building in Forrester Lane < not just yet – working on it!
      • Working with other parties like Mechanical Tempest, Pedal Ready, local bikeshops
      • Great opportunity for CAW to support this and show that it is a community organisation
    • Hutt road improvements – update on CAW survey from Alastair
      • Results submitted to WCC
      • WCC have boosted parking enforcement
      • A couple of different surveys have been done recently over a number of days to observe driver behaviour at driveways and also ask people about their purpose for parking along the shared path and journeys
    • Committee planning day
      • Focus was on updating the vision and objectives statements [where we want to be]
      • Further workshop to be hold to look at the mission, strategy & tactics statements [how we will get there]
    • Go By Bike Day
      • Concern that we have not heard from WCC
      • Time is running out to get the organisation moved to WCC
      • Recommendation that CAW organise the next event but in partnership with WCC
    • Local body elections – lobbying webinar from Alastair
      • Webinar run to talk about how to lobby candidates as part of the local body elections
      • Key points were to research the person you’re meeting with, meet with a small group, don’t lecture, focus on the positive, concentrate on issues not personalities

Island Bay Cycle Way

    • Working together with the Island Bay Residents Association (IBRA)
      • Ron had a very productive get together with Vicky & Jane of the IBRA, facilitated by Justin Lester and Paul Eagle.  We agreed to more collaboratively together and get away from the polarised views
    • Update on IBRA meeting
      • Ron was invited to the June meeting
      • It was good to hear the views from locals and also to hear David Chick from the WCC acknowledge that they got it wrong and about the opportunity to re-consult.  He faced some tough questions though.
    • Recap of the audit reports
      • The report focused on the construction (and not the design) of the cycleway
      • The report noted some moderate & minor improvements such as improving visibility at driveways by removing car parks, and better signs
      • The major concern was that the old road markings had not been removed
    • Our own observations / key messages
      • The overall design could have been done better to make it work as a shared space for walkers, cyclists, public transport and cars
      • Marking for car parks are not clear, particularly in the dark and wet.  
    • What happened at the Council committee meeting
      • We highlighted that the cycleway is already achieving what it set out to do; it has got people young and old cycling who would not have done so with the previous design
      • We urged the council to implement the recommendations made in the report and take some of these into consideration with for example avoiding car parks to close to driveways at the Hutt Road
      • In response to a question about cyclists still using the road, Ron explained that faster cyclists typically do not use a cycle way because it slows them down too much, and that the cycle way is designed and targeted for less confident cyclists
      • The Council agreed to start re-consultation with the Island Bay community asap, but the review will still take place early next year
    • What’s next – review & consultation
      • IBRA and CAW are meeting with the WCC to discuss how to ensure a community led consultation
      • Suggestion that we can do a workshop to get ideas of how to get the right community engagement / representation

Committee items (10-15 mins)

  • Updates from regular and other stakeholder meetings
    • Ron / Timon / Patrick meeting with Dougal from the NZTA
      • CAW/CAN provided very positive feedback on the OPUS consultant (Jessica) that NZTA have used for engaging with us on cycling / transport projects
      • We discussed the opportunity to do some quick / non-controversial cycling improvements in the CBD
      • Recommendation that NZTA get involved in the Hutt City Council cycling steering committee
    • Ron / Patrick / Timon participation in local government authority workshop
      • Had a variety of stakeholders provide input in how the LGA could better assist with transport choices & projects
    • Patrick / James / Ron / Timon meeting with Jessica from NZTA
      • Focused on the early prototype implementation of a cycleway connecting the slipway just north of the Ngauranga interchange to the Hutt Road just past the underbridge (going south)
      • Will be 5 metres wide except for under the bridge where it will be 3 metres
  • Upcoming submissions
    • Open spaces 
      • Main issues are definition of e-bike
      • Possible commuting routes in areas designated to be closed to bikes
      • Further info available on the CAW website
    • Airport runway extension 
      • Chance to talk about concerns how large number of trucks shifting fill for the extension will impact on cyclists, but also opportunity to factor cycling into the design
  • Promoting CAW – logo, name change
    • Hilleke has come up with a fantastic logo and there has been various ideas about changing the name as we have moved on from “Aware”.  Could be simply “Cycling Wellington”
    • Committee will agree and we can then use this to create a flyer and business cards

Rants & Raves (5 mins)

  • Rant about vegetation blocking the path around the bays; needs to be cut back properly, not just a bit of a trim.
  • Rave about Gill Penalosa’s talk about sustainable urban Development and how it spoke very much about the things that are dear to all of our hearts in creating better shared spaces.  A big pad on the back for ourselves that we advocate and help to bring about these changes.

WCC opens spaces to (some) eBikes

WCC eBike ban photo, Polhill Gully
WCC plan to open trails to some eBikes, but not all

When is an eBike not an eBike? When it’s in Wellington’s Open Spaces, and not speed limited to 25km/hr, according to the definition of an eBike in WCC’s draft Open Space Access Plan.

Overall, the Open Space Access Plan has much to recommend it. Wellington is fortunate in having reserves close to the CBD and easily accessible from all parts of the City. From my Aro Valley home I’m minutes from the CBD, but only a hundred metres from a track network that extends from the south coast to Johnsonville. The Plan’s vision of making the The Open Space Network accessible to all is a good one.

Up till now, WCC has regarded eBikes as motorised vehicles, and banned them from reserves, such as the popular Polhill Gully tracks. As part of opening up the Network, the plan will allow eBikes to be used on selected tracks where sightlines, width of path, etc mean that environmental impact and user conflict will be minimised. This is good news – many Wellingtonians are finding that eBikes are the answer to hills, wind, and failing joints. The proposed eBike routes provide a good mix of commuter and recreational riding – for example the Hataitai to City route will enable eBike commuters to go over the low saddle between Mt Victoria and Mt Alfred connecting Hataitai to Majoribanks St and the CBD.

The catch is that an “eBike” is defined as “a bicycle primarily pedal powered by human energy and may be assisted by a maximum continuous rated power of up to 300 watts of battery power, as well as limited to 25km/h”. Most eBikes on sale and in use comply with the NZTA definition “a power assisted cycle has an auxiliary electric motor with a maximum power not exceeding 300W and is designed to be primarily propelled by the muscular energy of the rider”. They aren’t mechanically limited to 25km/hr.

Some higher end eBikes (e.g. with the Bosch motor system) comply with the EU Pedelec standard EN 15194: limited to 250w of power, and speed limited to 25km/hr. So the proposed definition will limit access to those who can afford $4000-5000 for an eBike, rather than the more common $2000-3000 eBikes that comply with the NZTA definition.

Limiting speed on Open Space tracks seems like a good idea. However it’s unlikely that eBikes will reach 25km/hr under power on the Open Space Network. The tracks would not feel comfortable to most people at that speed. Most sections of the suggested tracks have significant gradients. Going uphill, it would be hard to reach 25km/hr with electric assist. Although it might be possible to reach 25km/hr going downhill, this would be through gravity rather than electric assist.

EBikes in general don’t go faster than a standard bike with a fit rider. An informal survey of bike speeds on Wellington shared paths found that on average eBikes were only 2.6km/hr faster than standard bikes, and the fastest bikes were standard bikes. If speed is found to be a problem, this is best addressed through education and track design.

When DOC faced this issue on the Otago Rail Trail, they decided to allow access to all eBikes complying with the NZTA definition, without requiring a mechanical speed limit.

If you’d like to see selected tracks open to eBikes, submit on the plan, saying (use your own words, of course) that you agree with the proposals, but that all eBikes complying with the NZTA definition should be allowed on the tracks, and that mechanically limiting the speed should not be required.Submissions close 13 July.

CAW July meeting: UCP, Island Bay updates, and much much more…

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Another exciting and informative monthly meeting that you don’t want to miss out on. Lots happening and lots to talk about. See you there, 6 – 7.30pm Tuesday 5 July,  Sustainability Trust, 2 Forresters Lane, off Tory St

On the agenda:

  • Update on Urban Cycleways Programme routes: CBD, Eastern suburbs, Hutt Road.
  • Island Bay: audit report, working with residents
  • Rebicycle project –  recycling bikes for the transport challenged
  • Meetings with NZTA, WCC, …
  • Rants and raves – your chance to share

Island Bay Cycleway gets the green light

AlbertStMelbourne
Albert St, Melbourne – physical separation of parking, as suggested by the Safety Audit

WCC have released the Safety Audit (which includes a peer review) of the Island Bay Cycleway. Cycle Aware welcomes the report. There are no serious concerns with the design of the cycleway, and the suggested improvements should help to allay residents’ concerns about the change to their roading environment.

So what issues were raised?

  • The most important issue was the “ghost markings”. The contractors had left some old road markings visible, which could lead to confusion at night. WCC is fixing this issue, which is about the implementation, rather than the design of the cycleway.
  • Parking obscuring the view of cyclists when entering or leaving driveways. In order to keep as much on street parking as possible, the design allowed parking to within 1m of entrances. WCC will consult with residents to keep 3-8m clear at entrances. In effect, residents will have a choice between visibility, and on street parking.
  • Parking too close to the cycleway. Safehit posts have been suggested to ensure that cars are parked correctly, so opening doors don’t intrude on the cycleway. WCC is likely to go for enforcement, rather than physical barriers. In practice, the few poorly parked cars seem an irritant to cyclists rather than a serious safety issue. It’s rare to come across a car that is both poorly parked, AND has passenger doors open. But a physical barrier would provide a greater sense of security on the cycleway.
  • Bus stop bypasses. Advertising on the walls of the bus shelters obscured the view for cyclists and pedestrians. However the peer review argued that this was a good thing, making people more careful.
  • Some inconsistency in use of green surfacing and cycle symbols. WCC will make these more consistent.
  • Directional guidance – the audit suggested that directional arrows could encourage people to bike in the correct direction. However this is not generally recommended on cycleways.
  • Cycle friendly sump grates. At one intersection there is a pair of sump grates that could trap bike wheels. WCC will replace these.
  • Pedestrian crossings. Some pedestrian crossings require remedial work after the installation of the cycleway. WCC is doing this.
  • Lower speeds. The  peer review suggested that since actual speeds in the area had reduced, the 30km/hr speed limit in the Village could be extended to the whole area. This sounds like a good idea.

Hutt Road – what parking needs to change?

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Hutt Road at Kaiwharawhara, 1955 (EP/1955/0379-F, Turnbull Library)

The Hutt Road cycling and walking path is one of the most heavily used cycle routes into and out of Wellington, despite also having a high crash rate. WCC has decided on a staged approach to improving the path, in particular immediate “removal or rearrangement of particularly hazardous or obstructive parking particularly where it obstructs visibility of and from business entrances”. CAW set up an online survey to get your views on which parking is particularly hazardous or obstructive to cycling and walking. We got 129 responses, 72%  from people who biked the route, 20% who walked, and 8% “other”, mostly people who both walk and bike, though a small number used the area for parking. 66% used the route regularly. The survey showed photos of areas along the route, and asked whether the parking needed to be removed or rearranged immediately, could wait for full implementation of the cycleway/walkway, or could stay as is. As with all surveys of this kind, the respondents are self selecting, but the responses provide useful guidance on what concerns cyclists and walkers.

The three areas that got the highest response for “remove immediately” were:

Jeff Gray BMW

Angle parking at Jeff Gray Mini, 138 Hutt Rd (60 %)

Angle parking by Storage One

Angle parking by Storage One, 172 Hutt Rd (57 %)

on verge by airflowe

Verge parking by Aotea overbridge (57 %)

These choices aren’t surprising – angle parking is a problem for people biking, even on roads, let alone footpaths. The verge parking at Aotea overbridge is probably illegal (I gather the nearby business has repeatedly asked for these cars to be ticketed, without result). But the numbers are only part of the story. For many locations, people said that parks close to entrances should be removed immediately, for example at Carters, 176 Hutt Rd, “Some park too close to the gates dangerously reducing visibility of traffic leaving Carters”.

Parking around the childcare centres was highlighted. “parking customers here turn over quickly as they drop off/pickup children” “Young children sometimes run into the cycleway”. While those of us who have done our time dropping off kids at daycare can sympathise, clearly for the safety of these businesses’ young customers, as well as cyclists, there needs to be dropoff parking away from the path.

Many respondents recognised that the scheduled removal of poles from the route will improve the path. However this is definitely a first step, and doesn’t remove the need to remove parking from the route.

Spotlight
Spotlight car park

The area around Spotlight, where car parking has been allowed on the road reserve, and the exit has poor visibility of cyclists coming over the Kaiwharawhara Stream bridge, was a concern, and it’s good that WCC is planning to address these issues immediately. “too narrow as a shared space, too busy. Distracted pedestrians.” “Main problem here is the visibility around the parking exit, especially for cycle traffic heading North. Neither driver or cyclist have good sightlines.” “worst Pinch point along the whole road… Pedestrians and cyclists entering this path from Ngaio gorge”

Although the path is known to be dangerous, it was disturbing how many respondents specifically mentioned crashes “I have personally ended up in hospital because of car movements on the (supposedly protected) cycle lane”

The current path brings cyclists and walkers into conflict “Walking down there is intimidating and it’s not due to the presence of cars. It’s common to have a cyclist yell at you because often they refuse to slow down to adjust to hazards.”

There seemed to be a strong opinion that “Most of these cars parked on the footpath are Wellington workers who walk/cycle into the city”. WCC is planning to survey parking to determine the extent of commuter parking, and business related parking. Although neither of these purposes justifies footpath parking in other areas of the city.

“ENFORCE parking rules” was one comment, and it’s clear that this seems to be lacking. Apart from the verge parking at Aotea overbridge already mentioned, cars commonly park over yellow lines near entrances.

parking on Yellow Lines by Craft House
Car obscuring entrance by Craft House

Parking on the path is not a static problem. The 1955 picture at the head of this post shows few parked cars. Over the years technically illegal parking appears to have been tolerated, and become the norm. Parking seems to be spreading north, for example at Caltex “Cars parking here are a relatively new phenomena”. The WCC Cycling Framework makes it clear that “The movement of traffic [which includes bicycles] will take priority over on-street parking”. The Hutt Road Cycling and Walking path cannot be compromised by technically illegal footpath parking, and WCC needs to move rapidly on its staged approach to improving the path.

CAW meeting report June 2016

Here’s what we discussed at the CAW meeting 7 June 2016.

Submissions:

  • Eastern suburbs – oral submissions on 8 June.
  • Hutt Road – WCC have gone for phased approach, GHW endorsed. CAW survey to see what parking etc is a problem. We also discussed options for a shoreline route from Ngauranga to Aotea Quay, but this will be a long term goal, and there is still a need for a Hutt Rd cycleway for  people from Ngaio, Khandallah etc. Submission led to good collaboration with Living Streets.

Recent infrastructure issues:

  • SH2 – logging trucks at Ngauranga creating issue for cyclists, NZTA / WCC stopped operation
  • Temporary closure of eastern lane on Waterloo quay north of Whitmore. James has referred to Council. Good opportunity to see what a lane on the Quay would achieve?

CBD network planJames is on working group, delayed by Get Welly Moving.

Committee items:

  • Ron Beernink and Timon (from Hutt Cycle Network) met with Paul Barker of WCC.
  • Ron met with Ciclocivica who are to help NZTA engage on Urban Cycling Programme.
  • Bikes on buses is being progressed as part of new bus tenders.
  • James attended Vulnerable Road Users group meeting at WCC. Chat about procedures for reporting incidents.  James will do post for CAW blog.
  • A Committee planning workshop is being scheduled

Review of cycling project implementation in Wellington: Has been interpreted in a number of ways. Best thing is NZTA is more involved. Need to get wins on the board.

Open spaces plan: Call for submissions, could allow eBikes on selected routes, and new tracks for mountain bikes. Wellington MTB club meeting to discuss 19 Jun.

Road User Behaviour: Ben is progressing some ideas.

Local Body Elections: discussed ideas to get cycling on the agenda in a positive way.

2 Walk and Cycle conference. Hilleke, Patrick, and Alastair going. CAW will support financially.

Rants & Raves

  • Ron: Acknowledged James’ efforts as chair.
  • Ben did the the Korokoro walkway.
  • Hilleke: Started Bike KREW promoting kids riding.
  • Frocks on Bikes planning film night, progressive dinner for Wellington on a Plate.
  • WCC taking on Go By Bike Day. Frees CAW up for other events?
  • Patrick: work being done on minimum passing distances.
  • Alastair organising lobbying Webinar for CAN, 28 Jun.
  • Andy: need for garage door Bike Fixup location, UK looking at legislation on passing distances.

NZTA report: “get on with it”

RevWell

The NZTA review into Wellington’s cycleway programme is out. Wellington has ambitious plans and the council is 100% committed. NZTA has shown it is committed to Wellington too – it’s not going to let us miss out.

The report has identified a “loss of confidence” on the part of WCC due to “a community perception that the cycleway in Island Bay is a poor solution” This “loss of confidence” has “spilled over” to other planned projects, “inhibiting councillor confidence to take decisions in relation to further cycling projects”. NZTA is concerned that this will lead to WCC failing to meet deadlines for spending the Urban Cycleways Programme funding. Partnership between the NZ Transport Agency and WCC is needed to get things moving.

Some key points:

  • It’s good to see that there is no reason to delay work on fixing Hutt Road or progress on developing options in the Eastern suburbs.
  • Support for getting moving on CBD improvements is welcome too.
  • It’s great to see that NZTA will support the city council when they do their review of the Island Bay cycleway. Their insight on what works, and commitment to good design, will be very useful.
  • The report itself makes no judgement as to the merits of the Island Bay cycleway, and indeed comments that “Wellington is not the only city to experience adverse community reaction to a delivered cycle way (Dunedin, for example) and international evidence suggests that cycleways are inherently difficult to successfully deliver because of sometimes polarised public attitudes.”
  • The report suggests  putting together “a package of “quick wins” ” such as a Cobham Drive crossing.
  • The report recommends that elected members should “should be careful to make decisions based on sound evidence and advice”. We hope that they take this on board.

CAW June meeting

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Well, it’s been a month of big cycling news items. So expect an exciting and drama-filled monthly CAW meeting next Tuesday where we will talk about what has happened, what it all means, and where we go from here. Don’t miss out. Bring your cycling buddies.

6-7:30pm, Tuesday 7 June, Sustainability Trust, 2 Forresters Lane (off Tory Street)

Some things we’ll discuss:

  • Wins in the last month
  • Updates on initiatives, future activities – CBD network, Eastern suburbs, Hutt Rd
  • NZTA report on Wellington’s cycling programme
  • Committee items
  • Discussion items: Changing Road User Behaviour, Island Bay, local body elections
  • 2 Walk & Cycle Conference
  • Rants & Raves