Sorry for the super-late meeting report and thanks Peter for the notes. We discussed:
The Urban Cycleways Programme cycling improvements for the Hutt Road, CBD, and Eastern suburbs
work done so far by ‘working group’ of stakeholders including resident and business associations
plan to look at routes first (demand, feasibility etc) and then later what type of infrastructure
consultation coming up in late April – and new staff joining the cycling team at WCC to improve the consultation process
overall options the council looked at and why this was the only feasible high-level option
the good and bad in the proposal
work done so far by ‘working group’ of stakeholders including resident and business associations – only as far as important destinations and journeys – no routes picked yet.
Bike Film Festival
Planned by Ngā Taonga for April: http://www.ngataonga.org.nz/about/news/nzbff with special panel session after Bikes Vs Cars.
Planning for the AGM
AGM Tuesday 3 May at our normal meeting place/time, 6pm at Sustainability Trust. We need a new Treasurer (well before the AGM) and other committee roles will be up for grabs too.
WCC will talk us through their Eastern cycleways consultation after the AGM part of the meeting.
Regional groups presented stories, progress and ideas they had encountered. Cycling NZ came along and presented about some of their programmes such as a new one training people to bunch ride safely. They are keen to have a wider role than high performance sport. Good preso from NZTA about the Urban Cycleways Programme.
Winter is coming
We shared tips for safe and comfy cycling when commutes get get dark and wet. Great lights are getting cheaper – worth an upgrade even if yours are not terrible.
The two Council-run community drop-in sessions (held at the ASB Sports Centre) have been rescheduled to:
Wednesday 4 May (4:30pm – 7:30pm)
Saturday 7 May (9am – 3pm)
In addition to this, we are liaising with the Miramar and Kilbirnie BIDs in regard to them hosting additional community drop-in sessions. I will advise when these have been scheduled.
There’s been talk about one of the options involving four sets of traffic lights along Miramar Ave. Obviously, no one would like to see that happen, so it’s important the public check out the options, and any alternatives, and talk to the Council and their community about what they want.
Cycle Aware Wellington will have a presentation from Council officers after our AGM on the 3rd of May. Keep an eye on our facebook group for details about that. The meeting generally starts at 6pm and is held at the Sustainability Trust on Forresters Lane.
Some thoughts on the options for the Eastern suburbs (as a mother, fair weather cyclist/currently frequent driver and sometimes commuter):
Note, these are my personal thoughts not the views of CAW!
there is no one obvious stand out option or route or type of infrastructure
there are certain criteria which the approved designs need to meet. Hopefully there will be more information about this shortly, but my understanding is that the cycleway needs to be part of a network and increase commuter cycling primarily (it isn’t necessarily to improve safety, although it should do that and if it also increases recreational cycling that would be a bonus, but again isn’t the aim).
the airport tunnel route works well on paper, and links both Seatoun and Miramar to Kilbirnie, but in practice, it’s unlikely many Miramar people would take such an indirect route.
the three routes that have most need i.e. go to the CBD, (as agreed by the stakeholder working group) have been ruled out for one reason or another but perhaps this needs reviewing?
Round the bays is too expensive ($10m)
Hataitai has a bottle neck at the Mt Vic tunnel which won’t be resolved until the tunnel is duplicated
A route from Kilbirnie to Newtown works until you get to Newtown, but getting from Newtown to the CBD will be delayed by decisions on BRT and the Basin Reserve, so it doesn’t get Eastern residents to the CBD.
some “easy win” options* include;
building a tunnel (or the more expensive bridge) over Cobham Drive to connect the shared path to the ASB centre and Kilbirnie. WCC is hoping for additional NZTA funding for this.
Widening the shared path along Cobham Drive and Evans Bay Parade (part of the ‘Great Harbour Way‘)
Traffic calming and 3okm/h zones around schools, shops and community/sports centres – schools improvements could come out of a different budget
Providing a completely off-road (shared path or separated) cycle lane from the airport tunnel to the airport, including safe crossings.
Providing wider shared (for ‘slow’ cyclists or children only) footpaths along busy recreational areas, such as Lyall Parade.
Improving safety at roundabouts and intersections. Roundabouts can have tighter ‘European’ designs to slow traffic down (and more education for cyclists and drivers to guide them on correct lane positioning), and intersections may be improved by better visibility, ‘Stop’ signs replacing ‘Give ways’ or traffic calming (speed bumps or textures, narrowing lanes, pedestrian crossings, etc)
Other options I’d like to see thrown in the mix, but not necessarily as part of the main cycleway works, are:
Removing on street parking on the uphill side of Crawford Road, and possibly Moxham Ave and using ‘sharrows’ on the downhill lanes (if separated lanes aren’t yet possible here).
Changing the parking around Kilbirnie Park (Kilbirnie Crescent and Evans Bay Parade) to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Evans Bay Parade already has a shared path but it’s not well marked or well used with plenty of driveway hazards. Kilbirnie Crescent is the main access way for community facilities such as the pool, the library, recreation centre, Plunket, the playground and the sports fields. It has high numbers of families visiting, often crossing the road in heavy traffic. Many of these families are likely coming from out of the area, so not within walking or cycling distance, but many are also choosing to drive because of safety concerns. Parking is in high demand, but this could be reduced if other modes were more accessible.
Miramar Ave is seen as a difficult bit to get through and the Miramar cutting is a blackspot for cyclists, so this area needs careful thought. One option brought up by members of the working group was using Tahi St rather than Miramar Ave. This solves some problems for commuters but not for those wanting to go to the shops. Here’s my idea (NB. not CAW’s!) based on not too frequent peak driving around Miramar. I’d be interested to know what issues I’ve missed and/or if this is a workable idea. It adds a necessary set of lights at the cutting and one set on Tauhinu. Also a few crossings (either zebra or pedestrian refuge islands) and an enhanced slow zone for the shops and Tahi St.
(* By “easy win” I mean that it will be safer or more convenient for cyclists, hopefully also so for pedestrians, and have negligible effects on other modes of transport or parking.)
What other options are there? Or have the Council got it right with one of their draft designs? Are there other problem spots that need addressing urgently? Head on over to the CAW facebook group to discuss, or better yet, get along to a Council open day or make a submission to the council.
Daylight saving is over, and it’s getting cooler. But don’t believe that the summer’s plethora of WCC Communities on Bikes bike events is over. A few years ago I was lucky enough to be in Vancouver for their annual bike film festival, and wondered if the same could happen in Wellington. Well, thanks to the dedicated film buffs at Nga Taonga Sound and Vision, it is. Two weeks of pedal oriented pictures, centrally located at the cosy theatre on the corner of Ghuznee and Taranaki, comprise the inaugural NZ Bicycle Film Festival.
The Festival launch was on Tuesday 5 April, with the inaugural NZ showing of Bikes vs Cars, documenting the struggle to make cities safer and more comfortable for bike trips. Although I have reservations about the title (sometimes we ride bikes, sometimes we drive cars, we have to coexist rather than conflict) the actual movie is more nuanced. It draws on experiences of cycle advocacy around the world, which should lead to a stimulating panel discussion (including CAW’s James Burgess and NZTA’s Dougal List) at the “regular” showing 6pm Friday 8 April. Watch an interview with director Fredrik Gertten including how they filmed Sao Paulo traffic from a bike.
The festival includes some classics. I saw Breaking Away back in the 80’s when I’d just discovered biking. It explores a young American’s discovery of Italian bike racing culture. It made #8 on American Film Institute’s 100 most inspiring movies.
The Oscar nominated animated feature The Triplets of Belleville (Saturday 9 April) incorporates the Tour de France, the Mafia and Jazz.
A lot of Kiwis incorporate biking with their OE, but few have been as committed as Hap Cameron, who biked across Namibia, and got more Namibians biking more often with a container load of Melbourne second hand bikes. This is documented in Bikes for Africa (4:30pm 9 Saturday April).
A Wellington Bike Film Festival can’t ignore off road cycling. I’m looking forward to the Big Bike Film Night (7pm Sat 9 April & 7pm Wed 13 April) – a collection of short films which has already sold out in Cambridge, Rotorua and Taupo (may still be seats at Wellington, Toronto and Cannes ) Also celebrating mountain biking is unReal (7pm, Fri 15 April & 7pm, Sat 16 April) which includes ancient (well, 1985) helmet cam footage by the Kennett brothers, recording the dawn of mountain biking in the capital.
The national cycling meeting CAN Do was held the weekend before Easter in Hamiltron, city of the future, “An hour to the south of Auckland, and ten minutes into the future”. So what did this meeting of about 40 cycling advocates mean for the future of people riding bikes?
A good number of us came by bike, which meant that the bike festooned railings at the venue briefly attracted the attention of a gentleman with boltcutters, before being seen off by one of the eagle eyed organising team. Who said Hamiltonians weren’t enterprising?
Historians tell us that you can’t plan for the future without looking at the past. This CAN Do marked 20 years since CAN started, and Robert Ibell, the founding secretary and long time chair of CAN, took us through a history of cycle advocacy in NZ. Although progress seems frustratingly slow, a lot has changed since 1996: more funding, road rules that recognise cycling, and a growing level of infrastructure, both in amount and quality. Through its history, CAN has worked through volunteers and consensus: CAN is us, not them.
One newer organisation that has been effective in highlighting issues such as climate change and transport is Generation Zero, and we heard from Arryn and Rowena about some Hamilton and Auckland initiatives. Generation Zero pioneered the online easy submission process, that has been particularly effective in getting approval for Sky Path, and boosting funding for cycling in Hamilton, for example.
Paula Southgate of Waikato Regional Council itemised the cycling projects going on in the Waikato: the Western Rail trail using spare rail corridor to connect the western suburbs of Hamilton to the CBD, speed management, etc, all of which has led to a peak in cycle commuting in 2013. A particular challenge is the popularity of sports cycling on rural roads – similar to the issues we have in Wellington with places like Whitemans valley. The big achievement for Waikato cycling has been Te Awa, the river trails, described for us by the ebullient Sarah Ulmer, who has made the transition from elite athlete to cycling mum, and is pushing the vision of a 3m wide concrete path from Ngarawhahia to Lake Taupo, opening access to the river for cyclists, runners and walkers of all capabilities. Currently Te Awa connects Hamilton to the cycling centre of Cambridge on off road paths and quiet streets. While many people are involved in the Te Awa project, I suspect a reason for its success is that Sarah is simply a very hard person to say “no” to.
Megan Smith discussed her university research into how cycling appears in policy documents. Despite one-off initiatives such as the Urban Cycleways Programme, most mentions of cycling are peripheral, seeing cycling as a recreational activity rather than as a key component of the transport network, and ignoring the potential role of cycling in mitigating climate change. Clearly we still have work to do lobbying for more appropriate recognition of cycling in government policy.
Chris Foggin of Cycling NZ talked about the range of people cycling recreationally, including Reg, the 93 year old veteran who is still winning races, partly because he’s the only competitor in his age class. Chris talked about the Ride Leader programme, introducing beginners to cycling skills. Although aimed at recreational cyclists, it’s an idea that could easily be adopted for commuting.
CAN Do attracted the politicians as well. Local MP Sue Maroney congratulated CAN on being one of the first lobby groups to contact her when she became Opposition Transport Spokesperson, and asked that we wave to her when we encountered her on a bike – she rediscovered cycling 3 years ago. Our own Wellington councillor Sarah Free also attended, contributing a local government perspective to our discussions.
Elizabeth Claridge and Claire Pascoe updated us on NZTA’s cycling team – something that would have seemed impossible 20 years ago when CAN was formed. 8 of the 24 UCP projects are complete, and the team is undertaking initiatives to bring cycling into the mainstream such as hiring a social media specialist, and has published a Benefits Tool, a resource of information about the benefits of cycling.
Until Vision Zero is achieved, we have to face the reality of traffic fatalities and injuries. Caroline Perry of Brake talked about their work addressing the global road toll, both at a macro level pushing for lower speed limits, and helping individuals work though the grief of losing a loved one to a traffic crash, through their book, Someone has died in a road crash.
Richard Barter got us out of the meeting room to a nearby carpark where a Fonterra truck and trailer unit was waiting for us to see how invisible cyclists can be from the cab of a truck. This is sobering (but not surprising – in a previous life as a truckie, I once backed over a mini that was in my blind spot), although I think we need to also question why vehicles with limited visibility are allowed on our roads, particularly in urban areas.
We also heard from local groups. CAW’s own James Burgess gave some background to the Island Bay saga, and how lessons for future projects are being applied in developing the UCP projects such as the Hutt Road path. Will Andrews reported on how projects such as the Railway Reserve and the Rocks have lead to a 9% cycling mode share in Nelson. Tom Halliburton told us how skilled political maneuvering succeeded in adding good quality bike infrastructure to plans for the Haywards intersection in Upper Hutt. David Crowley talked about some of Rotoruas battles and initiatives, including a bike festival where people get to ride the airport runway. They’ve also tried this in Hawkes Bay – a new Ciclovia vision, perhaps? Perhaps not an option for Wellington’s busier airport! Bevan Woodward and Paul Shortland discussed the burgeoning Auckland cycling scene, where the newly rebranded Bike Auckland works alongside other groups such as Auckland Bike Style to bring cycling into the mainstream of a traditionally car oriented city. (I was interested to see that Janette Sadik-Khan’s Street Fight features Auckland in her survey of global initiatives to make cities more liveable). Even better, Skypath seems on track to at last connect the north shore to the CBD for cyclists and walkers, which could transform how people view active transport. I suggested that a way to fund Skypath is simply to buy up properties in Northcote, waiting for the inevitable rise in value when people realise that like Herne Bay, the suburb will be in walking and cycling distance of the CBD. Lyn Sleath of Kapiti talked about work to make north south cycling through Kapiti more accessible, Otaki bridge being the latest battleground. In Hawkes Bay shared paths are an issue, leading to a “stop the startle” campaign to use bells and voice to warn other users. Lynneke Oderwater of Whanganui told us about how the Mountains to the Sea route is providing an urban cycleway parallel to the river, complemented by the Te Tuaiwi spine. The local group has been successful in getting a regular cycling stories in the local paper, about for example an opera singing cyclist, and a person losing 100kg through biking.
What’s the future for CAN as an advocacy organisation? At the AGM we discussed proposals for a more professional, mass membership basis for CAN. But we also heard from Jo Mackay and Patrick Morgan presenting the proposal for a 3 year “Love Cycling” campaign to build supportive communities for cycling, and ensure that UCP money is spent effectively. This raises questions, such as how we persuade people who see cars as “normal” transport to love cycling, but it’s a bold initiative that’s worth following up. Bevan Woodward facilitated a session where we tried to identify what CAN’s role was: lobbying and media of course, but also speaking to the “interested but concerned” to reassure them that cycling is a good transport option. Above all, we need to sign up for BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
CAN Do 2016 showed that the future of cycling is bright – but people on bikes need to be involved. If you’re not already a member (if you’re a member of CAW, you’re automatically a member of CAN) please join, and get involved to get more people on bikes, more often.
For many years the route between the CBD and Ngauranga Gorge has been singled out as the worst cycling infrastructure in Wellington. It is a frustrating obstacle course of dodging trucks and cars, lampposts in the middle of the path, and an increasing number of walkers. The number of accidents along this route speak for themselves.
So it is fantastic to hear that the Wellington City Council, with the backing from the NZTA, is about to embark on major improvements. This focuses on creating a dedicated cycle way and separated footpath alongside the eastern side of the Hutt Road between the Ngauranga gorge and the Aotea Quay over bridge.
A key challenge for the project will be the removal of car parks to allow the cycle and walk path to be widened and to make the route safer. The council has already talked to affected businesses about this. But it will also impact on the high number of people who park along the route and from there walk into town, particularly as a no-parking zone will be enforced before 9am to allow for a “T2” lane that will help to speed up bus travel times.
A number of the problems with the route may not disappear with all these improvements. How will the design ensure that cars enter and exit the many business yards along the route in a safer way? Specially as the improved cycle way will result in people cycling at faster speeds. And does the design provide a safer crossing at the Ngauranga gorge; how will it ensure that cyclist can safely get across the SH2 north and south bound slip roads?
People will want to know what alternative options were considered, such as creating a harbour-side cycle and walk way that will connect up to the same sea-side shared path that is intended for the route between Ngauranga gorge and Petone. And what is happening about the equally dangerous route along Thorndon Quay?
Details of the project are available in a ‘traffic resolution’ document that the Council has made available on its website. Not exactly written with the general public in mind. And it does not address all of the questions and concerns that people will have. There will however be ‘open days’ held to provide information and answer questions:
3pm−6.30pm, Wednesday 30 March, La Cloche, 134 Hutt Road
9am−1pm, Saturday 2 April, 241 Thorndon Quay (formerly Nancy’s Embroidery)
Information about this project and the design is available at the Council website. At the bottom of the page you will find a link to tell the Councillors at the Transport and Urban Development Committee what you think. The submissions closes on 5pm, Wednesday 13 April 2016.
A concern about the Island Bay cycleway is that it is unusual, and people are being expected to adapt to a road layout that is untested. So how unusual is the parking protected cycleway that is being implemented?
The answer is, not very. The model of a cycleway running between parked cars and the footpath is quite common, even outside of the uber cycle-friendly European cities. Although there is initial apprehension about the model, it is successful in encouraging more trips by bike.
There are several different models for cycleways. Here are some examples of one way, parking protected cycleways which is the model used for the Island Bay cycleway:
The Green Lane Project found that the number of protected bike lanes in the US had quadrupled since 2010, and one third of these use parked cars to separate bikes from traffic. In the first year, a protected bike lane on average increases bike journeys by 75% (with a corresponding decrease in motor car congestion).
Of course, not all of these cycleways were welcomed with open arms. As in Island Bay, some people find change difficult. When the Sherbrook St cycleway was introduced, some worried that it “might be a bit more confusing for drivers. They must make a wide right turn to get onto side streets, cutting across the parking and cycling lanes”. When the Salt Lake City cycleway was introduced, a business owner worried that “Everyone’s having a difficult time, and they do not know where to park”. Some simply had trouble understanding: Los Angeles drivers liked the Reseda Boulevard cycleway so much that they drove in it.
But as people got used to the protected cycleways, the concerns died away. In Salt Lake City, the cycleway increased business. Very few protected cycle lanes have been removed – an attempt to temporarily remove Chicago’s Kinzie St cycleway was rebuffed. An evaluation of the cycleway showed a 55% increase in bicycle use, with little or no effect on automobile travel time. An evaluation of protected cycleways in five US cities showed that “Support for the protected lanes among residents was generally strong with 75% saying that they would support building more protected bike lanes at other locations”.
Calls to remove the Island Bay cycleway are premature – the design is not radical, and has been shown to work well in a range of locations. Of course, there may be lessons to learned, but unless the planned evaluation and safety audit are allowed to proceed, we won’t find out.
Why am I writing about driving on a cycling blog? Like most adults who ride a bike, I also drive a car. The Island Bay Cycleway has changed the environment for driving as well as cycling, so I decided to see how the Island Bay Parade felt as a driver. I drove north and south along the Parade, and tried some maneuvers that are said to cause problems.
The vehicle lanes are narrower – yes, the Parade is no longer like the deck of an aircraft carrier, it’s more like a typical Wellington street. The Parade is still more comfortable to drive than Adelaide Rd through Berhampore. Although I have no way of measuring, I suspect the narrower lanes have lowered vehicle speeds.
Parking is tricky. Certainly there seem to be people who have trouble without a kerb to run into, and park over the buffer zone that separates the car park from the cycleway. I think this is becoming less of a problem as people get used to the new layout. I found parking easy if I used my side mirror to check that the car was lined up on the parking space.
Unloading from the passenger side is dangerous. There are two widths of buffer zone on the Cycleway: 1m and 0.6m. Even with the 0.6m buffer zone, I was able to open the passenger door without it intruding into the bike lane. I’ve also observed building gear being loaded into the passenger side of a car without problems.
Turning into driveways is difficult, because you can’t see cyclists on the cycleway. Certainly bikes were easier to see under the old layout (though that didn’t prevent cars occasionally turning across bikes). But unless there’s a continuous row of high sided vehicles (a campervan convention maybe), cyclists on the cycleway are quite visible between the gaps in the parked cars, and I could check for them before making my turn. Obviously crossing the cycleway should be done with care, but since my car was off the roadway in line with the parking zone, I could take my time checking for oncoming bikes. If people are a bit more careful turning into driveways, that’s good for people using the footpath as well.
Backing out of driveways is difficult. This is true – but backing out of driveways into a busy street is always difficult, and you have to trust that oncoming drivers aren’t going to risk their insurance excess by deliberately slamming into you. I found backing into the Parade no worse than backing out of my own driveway. I could see enough to tell whether there was oncoming traffic (which was travelling more slowly due to the narrower road). A big difference compared to the old layout was that I could clearly see oncoming bikes. Under the old layout bikes would have been in the cycle lane close in against the parked cars, and much more difficult to see.
Turning into side roads. The cycleway moves closer to the vehicle lane at intersections, so bikes are clearly visible. On some intersections safe hit posts have been put up to discourage turning across the cycleway too early. This seems a sensible precaution.
Coming out of side roads. This felt fine – from the stop line I had good visibility of both the cycleway and the vehicle lane.
Some of the issues such as the visibility getting in and out of driveways have been exacerbated by maximizing the number of parking spaces, rather than following the policy in the Cycling Framework (unanimously agreed by Councillors) “The movement of traffic will take priority over on-street parking”.
Of course the cycleway involves changes, and it’s understandable that some Island Bay residents are uncomfortable with this. The question is whether the way we drive cars should have to change a bit in order to make riding bikes more attractive. I believe the answer is yes: if more trips are done by bike, there’s less congestion, and it’s easier when we need to make trips by car. And there’s no doubt that we urgently need to reduce fossil fuel emissions, the cause of climate instability which has contributed to another major change which has concerned Island Bay residents, the collapse of the seawall.
Michael Lowe described e>volve – a methodology for planning active transport. Looking for funding from e.g. WCC to develop a web based interface to collect perceptions of routes, and use to prioritise resources. CAW will support.
Hutt Road: design for cycle path between Ngauranga and Aotea Quay overbridge is going to consultation. CAW supports the proposals, particularly the option for less parking, which will provide better visibility for cars entering/exiting businesses. We’d also like to see a clear demarcation of the cycle path from the walking path, and right of way for the cycle path at entrances.
Go By Bike Day: 1260 participants, a record. Thanks to Wholly Bagels for coming to the aid in the Bagel Crisis; not to mention all the other sponsors, volunteers and Shaillie our intrepid organiser. Presence of Transport Minister Simon Bridges underlines how cycling is entering the mainstream. Should we do this more often? Portland does bike breakfasts on a monthly basis.
Ciclovia: only one day this summer, but 3200 participants. Ron is making submissions to WCC for a regular motor free day on the Peninsula. Hutt City is also keen to have a Ciclovia, and Miramar Business group is keen to run an annual Miramar Cycling Festival.
CAN reorganisation: Cycling Action Network, the national cycling advocacy organisation, has reviewed the way it works. This is in response to a changing environment (growth in cycling, more resources being put into cycle facilities). “Time to move to the next level”. The proposal is to move to a board structure, with a paid CEO and a more mass membership, commercial/professional approach, akin to the Automobile Association. The proposal will be debated at the annual CAN Do in Hamilton, 18-20 March.
Rants and Raves:
Tour Aotearoa is going well – riders covering up to 250km/day (although CAW committee member Brian Wolfman is proceeding at a more sensible 90km/day)