Eastern Suburbs Cycleways – Cycle Aware Wellington submission

WCC_eastern_survey
Response from WCC Submissions

Key points of our submission:

  • A link to Newtown is sorely missing
  • Minor improvements can make a big difference
  • We’d rather see something new than an upgrade of what’s already working okay
  • Please do not create more shared paths
  • Fix obvious gaps in existing infrastructure, no matter what
  • A safe way to cross Cobham Drive should not swallow the whole budget
  • Slow zones and quiet streets could make cycling safer without affecting parking
  • Improving intersections can make things feel safer
  • Use space creatively rather than using the same approach everywhere
  • We recommend doing some trials to see what works

Email to cycling@wcc.govt.nz

Well done on a great process for investigating options for safer cycling in the Eastern Suburbs. We’re pleased that you’ve involved the community from the start, and got local business owners on board. We hope this approach will make implementing the project relatively easy when it comes to the construction stage.

Your process has revealed that there are many possible options for making cycling safer in the Eastern Suburbs, but no obvious winner. This project addresses a very wide area, and clearly cannot transform it all at once. Consequently, it’s hard for us to advocate strongly for one corridor or route over another. Instead, we’ve collected our most pressing thoughts and ideas about the project in general.

A link to Newtown is sorely missing

We understand that your process for deciding on possible routes eliminated the route to the CBD via the bays (too expensive) and the route to Newtown (too hilly). But we feel that creating meaningful links between other parts of the future network is an essential first step. Encouraging local trips (including school travel) is really important, but across-town links are essential to encourage work commuting and help reduce car congestion at peak times. Creating safe cycling in the Eastern Suburbs with no safe link to the rest of the future network seems shortsighted.

There’s already a sort-of cycle route around the bays to the CBD (by no means perfect, but something that can be upgraded in time), but no safe link between the Eastern Suburbs and Newtown. At the initial reference group meetings, the desired destinations included Newtown, the hospital, and the schools around the Basin Reserve.

We therefore feel that this project must create this link to Newtown — we recommend via Crawford Road, Coromandel Street, and Wilson Street. Crawford Road is not as steep as Grafton Gully in Auckland, which has seen a big uptake by cyclists.

Minor improvements can make a big difference

Something visible and iconic that we can be proud of (for example Auckland’s pink path or Wellington’s Great Harbour Way) would be great, but minor improvements are also really important. For example, on the Hataitai side of the Mount Victoria Tunnel, a tiny little bump to slow car traffic makes it feel a lot safer for cyclists.

A huge amount of small tweaks, as part of ordinary works, can cumulatively and cheaply make cycling safer. Yes, we want our cake and to eat it too. We’re burning enough calories, after all — we’re biking!

We’d rather see something new than an upgrade of what’s already working okay

For example, as part of the Cobham option, you suggest widening the existing Cobham Drive shared path or creating a two-way cycleway and a footpath. We support this in theory (and expect it to be essential in future once many more people are cycling). However, at this stage we’d prefer to see you spend the money on changes elsewhere to make cycling safer across a much wider area.

Please do not create more shared paths

We’re dismayed to see you suggest the possibility of more shared paths. While these can work in places, especially where the number of walkers or bikers (or both) is very low, in general they are not a good solution for either party.

In a few places (for example, along Cobham Drive, which has relatively few walkers) shared paths might be acceptable in the short term. But please do not start building more, unless you can very clearly and effectively separate the two types of user. People walking and people biking need to be separated. Just look at Wellington Waterfront to see the conflict that occurs when walkers and bikers are forced to share limited space.

Fix obvious gaps in existing infrastructure, no matter what

Some great biking and walking infrastructure already exists in the Eastern Suburbs, such as the Leonie Gill Pathway and the tunnel under the airport. No matter what route you decide to develop for this project, it makes sense to also fix the missing links between these pieces of infrastructure.

A safe way to cross Cobham Drive should not swallow the whole budget

We agree that a bridge or tunnel to cross Cobham Drive is needed to link Miramar to Kilbirnie more directly. But please don’t let this swallow the whole budget. This alone will not create the desired uptake in cycling. Cobham Drive is managed by NZTA, so perhaps NZTA could pay for the bridge or tunnel across it.

Slow zones and quiet streets could make cycling safer without affecting parking

Arterial routes with heavy traffic need separation between cycling, driving, and walking. But on more minor roads, other treatments can create a similar sensation of safety without affecting parking.

Slow zones (30km or less)

Put slow zones where they make sense. Outside schools and shops. At destinations, like Kilbirnie Park, playgrounds, Lyall Bay Beach. Make them organic and effective. Make them desirable places for people to be. Add plants, seating, and artworks. Have ‘gated’ entrances which signal ‘this bit of road is different’. Look to Lambton Quay, Allen, Blair, and Lower Cuba Streets for places where you’ve done this well already.

SlowZoneLQ
An effective slow zone on Lambton Quay. Pedestrians feel safe here, even with a high volume of buses

 

Quiet streets

Creating a ‘quiet street’ means allowing access from either end by all traffic, but only allowing through-traffic for people walking and biking. Residents can still easily access and park their cars outside their houses, but the street is no longer used as a thoroughfare to other places, thereby reducing overall traffic.

ThroughTrafficPuriri

Through traffic for walkers and bikers only at Puriri St, Lower Hutt.

In the Eastern Suburbs, this treatment could work really well on streets like:

  • Hobart or Chelsea
  • Miro and Kauri
  • Strathavon
  • Te Whiti, Yule, and Ross
  • Freyberg, Endeavour, and Cockburn
  • Ludlam and Burnham.

Improving intersections can make things feel safer

Make roundabouts safer

Roundabouts are awful for people on bikes, since motor vehicles are not encouraged to slow down. While experienced cyclists can ‘take the lane’ through a roundabout, this is daunting for the ‘interested but concerned’ cyclists that the cycleways project hopes to attract.

Let’s make roundabouts safer. This could be a gradual transition — every time work needs doing, you redesign the roundabout to lower speeds. Evidence shows that when you increase the angles at roundabouts, you lower speeds and make them safer. Make it a mission to redesign all Wellington roundabouts to the ‘European’ style.

Make priority clear

Side streets should be used only by people who need to use them, rather than through-routes. Make it less desirable to take ‘shortcuts’ through them by installing ramps on the entrance of side streets. This slows down turning traffic, adds height to give better visibility, and changes the feel of the street into quiet neighbourhood streets / cul-de-sacs where pedestrians and cyclists have priority over motorists. Good (but old) examples of where you’ve already done this are Cockburn and Cruickshank Streets. Even better is Vivaldistraat, Den Bosch, Holland.

CautionVivaldistraat

Caution and a slow speed are clearly needed when leaving Vivaldistraat.

Add more pedestrian crossings

Pedestrian crossings increase safety for pedestrians, of course, but for cyclists as well. They slow traffic and make people driving more aware of having to look out for others. Pedestrian crossings should be moved away from intersections, for a start (for example, at Wha St and Childers Terrace).

Use space creatively rather than using the same approach everywhere

There are many ways to design safe cycling routes. Build safer communities and the cycling will follow.

Use ‘access’ roads parallel to arterial roads

In this scenario, the arterial road carries two-way motor traffic and buses. The ‘service’ road has parking, very slow motor traffic, and bike priority. Places where this might work are Rongotai Road and Kilbirnie Crescent. Examples where this is already working are Arthur Street (the service lane off Karo Drive), or Pettelaarseweg, Netherlands (see below).

SlowPettelaarseweg

A slow and safe access road beside Pettelaarseweg.

Use one-way streets

One-way streets reduce potential conflict between cars and bikes without affecting parking. You could trial a street with a cycle lane on either side but only one-way motor traffic.

ContraflowGlenwood

A proposed contra-flow bike lane on one-way Glenwood Avenue in Edgewater, Chicago.

Use green space where it exists

Potential for this exists along Kilbirnie Park and Miramar Golf Course/Scots College. And also along the coastal routes. But make them safe (busy/visible and well lit).

Put in lights only where needed

Really only at the Miramar cutting (Shelley Bay Road/Miramar Ave intersection).

Where there are lights, make the lanes work better for cyclists. A perfect example of what not to do is the John Street lights (see below), where the left lane should be left turn only. Instead, cyclists are forced to play a guessing game with motorists who aren’t sure if they should signal or not. Simplify things. One lane = one direction.

RightTurnJohn

Right turning traffic should use the right lane only at the John Street intersection.

We recommend doing some trials to see what works

New York trialled roading changes with great success. Try something new and see if it works. Promise to put it back if it doesn’t. Don’t spend huge amounts on it — use cones or water drums to temporarily change the road layout. Leave it for a month, or six, get feedback, then adapt and make some permanent changes.

A final note about what Cycle Aware Wellington wants

Cycle Aware Wellington isn’t fixated on kerbside bike lanes. We believe that each area and road needs to be carefully thought through, with a design that suits it without inconveniencing too many people. We’ll sometimes (possibly often) advocate removing some parking to ensure cyclists’ safety. But we also understand the need for compromise to reduce the impact of roading changes on other road users.

We’re also not about ‘bikes before all else’. We’re about transport choice. An argument bound to come up is that some Eastern Suburbs roads are already reasonably safe, but that’s not the point. The point is that they don’t feel safe, so people choose not to bike. If more people choose to bike, it’ll reduce congestion and have awesome health and environmental impacts, meaning benefits for everyone.

Hutt Road Improvements get the green light. Or is that Orange?

How long before the Hutt Road obstacle course will be resolved?  The good news is that some of these obstacles like the lamp posts will soon be gone.  That is fantastic.  But we will have to wait till next year to see the illegal car parks removed and a proper cycling and walking commuter route created.  Or perhaps longer?  No end date has been confirmed for this project.

20160519_072154

As reported in Scoop the WCC Transport and Urban Development Committee today voted in support of the recommended staged approach to implementing the cycleway and other transport changes along this busy route.

The first stage will involve not just removing the lamp posts, but also shifting the bus stop from outside Animates to south of Spot Light, and improving the path surface.  All of these are significant improvements in their own right.  But it doesn’t solve the problem that both pedestrians and cyclists have to share a 3 metre narrow path, with motorists regularly crossing this to park alongside or over the path.  The Council admitted that this parking is in fact ‘technically’ illegal.

The first phase of the project will give the Council time to investigate alternative options.  That is fair enough as there will be a real impact on some of the businesses, but also for the number of people of who park along the route in order to walk or cycle into town.  What will the Council do if it cannot find alternative options is the question?   Will it still commit to removing this illegal parking?  Or will it silently keep its fingers crossed that the initial improvements are enough to keep everyone happy?  Which is very unlikely.

The reality is that the number of cyclists will continue to increase on this major commuter route.  Add to that the inevitable upsurge in e-bikes (apparently 80% of bikes produced in China are now electric bikes!).  Which will put extra pressure on this shared path.  Including making life more uncomfortable for the pedestrians.  The rate of accidents between cyclists and walkers may be low, but as a pedestrian it is not comfortable to have cyclists race by.  And people on bikes cannot always predict what walkers will do.  Particularly little kids by the Play Centre.  Or dodging people who are plugged into their phones and happily daydream their way into the path of cyclists.  Not their fault.  They are entitled to their own space without having to worry about cyclists.  Which is why we need a proper 5 metre wide path that gives 2 metres to the pedestrians and a separated 3 metre two-way path for cyclists?   Urgently please.

Significantly the WCC Transport and Urban Development Committee also voted unanimously to go ahead with the Great Harbour Way.  This is fantastic news as it will create a shared path that will follow the Harbour from Pencarrow to Eastbourne.  This should be in addition to the Hutt Road cycling and walking commuter path.  But can the Council get the money together to do both.  Will it rob Peter to pay Paul?  Hopefully not.

So it will be interesting to see how all this plays out of the next couple of years.  The good news is that the WCC and also NZTA are keen to get on with it.  Which makes today’s announcements an historic day for all those people who cycle or would like to.

 

 

 

AGM Report 3 May 2016

13124593_10153811389012261_2355204561230475194_nTuesday 3 May 2016 was our AGM. Here’s a report of the meeting (thanks, Eleanor!).

Present
James B (Chair), Pete W, Sarah, Sean, Ron B, David L, Peter B, Hilleke, Linda, Mark C, Patrick, Jo M, Alex D, Eleanor (scribe), Andy G, Pete B, David W, Benjamin. Apologies: Sridhar, Brian W, Michelle, Alastair.

Annual Report

James presented a Report on the year’s activities. We’ve got a lot to be pleased about.

What others have done
Lots of people other than CAW have been doing cool stuff around biking to add to Wellington’s bike culture. For example: Lucid Dream Bike (in the Fringe Festival), New Zealand Bicycle Film Festival, Bike valet @ CubaDupa.

AGM 2015 Minutes: Approved (moved Mark C, seconded Sarah F)

Finance Report 2015: Approved (moved James, seconded Hilleke)

2016-2017 Committee

Ron Beernink unanimously elected Chair (moved James, seconded Eleanor). Ron says that he’d be honoured to be chair at this time that there’s so much happening. We’ve got a really good group, and he’ll be happy to front it. It’s a great opportunity. He’ll rely on the group to pitch in and help to make sure he doesn’t get overloaded. It’s fun and rewarding.
Goals and aims: Opportunity for CAW to look at community engagement. He’d like us to move away from the image of the ‘Lycra Brigade’. Build up membership. Get out there, talk to people, show people what we’re doing. Perhaps do movie evenings in different suburbs. Have open discussions. Make CAW inclusive for the whole community.

Membership. Sridhar elected to membership role. James moves, Ron seconds.
Treasurer Linda Beatson elected (moved James, seconded Patrick).
Fundraising Sean Linton elected to fundraising role (moved James, seconded Andy G). Patrick offers to help out.
Rest of the committee: Eleanor Meecham, Andy Gow, Michelle Pawson, Alastair Smith, David Laing, James Burgess, Hilleke Townsend were also elected (moved James, seconded Eleanor).
Specific business liaison role will be dropped for now.

Campaign on driver behaviour change

Benjamin suggests that we could do a campaign on behaviour change to go along with building of infrastructure. Discussion:

  • cyclists also behave poorly at times, could backfire if it is unbalanced and polarises the community.
  • NZTA and GWRC and WCC have all done some great stuff around behaviour messaging. Our role is to support those agencies who can do it best.
  • General agreement that we wouldn’t really benefit from doing a behaviour change campaign ourselves right now.

Presentation about proposed Eastern Suburbs routes (Pete Whiting, WCC)
Pete covered:

  • a summary of the Urban Cycleways programme
  • benefits of cycling
  • why Eastern area? Flat and just 5 to 8kms to city centre
  • timing of project phases
  • What does good engagement look like?

Questions:

  • Who is the target market for the eastern route? Good question. NZTA (who are providing much of the funding under the UCP) prioritises commuting and trips to school, getting more people to cycle than making things better for existing cyclists.
  • What are the parameters for deciding what gets built? Council welcomes all ideas and submissions. There are cost and feasibility parameters. One of the reasons that the Kilbirnie to Newtown route hasn’t come out as a proposed option was because there was a large weight put on steepness.
  • How can we mitigate the risk of not having a long engagement period? Get it out there as widely as possible so as many people as possible can take part in the discussion.

Footpath biking – should it be allowed?

Leah-and-SylviaShould children and other vulnerable users be allowed to bike on the footpath? Roger Boulter, an experienced cycling infrastructure planner, gives his view.

A petition has been presented to Parliament calling for “children under 14 years of age (and accompanying adults), seniors over the age of 65, and vulnerable users (such as those with mental or physical disabilities)” to be able to legally cycle on roadside footpaths.

Lower Hutt mother Jo Clendon, who started this petition, seems responsible and well-intentioned, but I’m appalled and saddened that some CAN members support this. The well-respected ‘road user hierarchy’ places pedestrians at a higher priority than cyclists. Pedestrian advocacy group Living Streets Aotearoa oppose this petition.

It gets more serious, though. One of the most important findings in the history of planning for cycling was the 1996 ‘Five Point Hierarchy of Measures’, stating that the most important things which would help cyclists were to reduce the volume and then slow the speed of motor traffic. This is what needs tackling – not taking an ‘easy way out’ and transferring the threat onto an even more vulnerable group, people on foot.

This proposal is not just about ‘little kids’ avoiding busy roads. The wording above includes a very wide range. 14-year-olds aren’t ‘little’. How many ‘accompanying adults’, and what relationship to the ‘children’ (it’s not just caregivers)? How does anyone know who falls into the (rather catch-all, I would suggest) “vulnerable users” category. And, at age 62, will I in three years’ time become less of a threat than I am now? No – the very old will become more of a threat.

As for safety, many footpaths aren’t wide enough for safe walking, let along cycling too. At intersections, crossing cyclists are towards the edge of a motorists’ field of vision, at just the place where motorists will be concentrating on the road traffic, so will be more liable to be hit. Cars reversing from driveways will be severely constrained from seeing footpath cyclists (sometimes they won’t see them at all), who will generally be going faster than people walking, and so less able to stop.

People (notably children) accustomed to riding on the footpath will not acquire the skills necessary to safely interact with motor traffic, meaning they will be more prone to being hit by motor traffic when they do use the roads (as inevitably they will sometimes).

There is a long and sad history of attempts to improve cyclists’ safety, and get more people cycling, through providing off-road paths. Off-road paths and ‘separated’ and ‘protected’ cycleways have a role, but they only work as part of a wider strategy, the main part of which must be reducing and slowing motor traffic. Reducing and slowing traffic is why many North European countries, Portland USA, and other places, have succeeded so dramatically, but New Zealand has not followed their lead. Places which have relied heavily on providing for cyclists off-road, like late 20th century Milton Keynes, UK, and Canberra, Australia, also invariably find strong growth of an aggressive driving culture (e.g. “get these ***** cyclists off my road and onto their paths”).

If the petitioners get their way, it will result in more danger, not less. More worrying to me, however, and very saddening, is that some CAN members, long accustomed to seeing themselves as the underdogs on the road, are becoming the new bullies in the playground against a group – people on foot – even more vulnerable that they are.

Hutt Road Improvements: a longer wait for the right outcomes

Last Friday the Council confirmed via a press release that it is now looking to implement the Hutt Road improvements in stages.  The key reason: to give time to sort alternative solutions for the car parking.  This is a hard pill to swallow for the many cyclists and walkers on this major commuter route, who have to wait many years and were initially given the hope of an urgent start on getting a proper width separated cycling and walking paths built.

Each day there are frustrations and close shaves as people on bikes and on foot navigate a shared path that is far too narrow and with many obstacles blocking the way.  Then there is the daily danger of avoiding cars and trucks coming in and out of the many business yards or car parks along that route.  The high accident rate speaks for itself.

These problems will only get worse with the steady increase of people biking, including on electric bikes.  Action is needed urgently.  The good news is that the Council is looking to start work as soon as possible on removing the lamp posts, shifting the bus stop by Winchester Street, and improving the path surface.  Each of the business driveways will also be made safer.  But for now the route will remain as a three metre wide shared path, and car parks will not yet be removed from the path.  This is clearly disappointing, and the fear is that the Council will not deliver on the full proposed design for the Hutt Road improvements.

Committee members of Cycle Aware Wellington, Cycle Action Network and Hutt Cycling Network got together over the weekend to discuss this latest turn of events.   It was agreed to support the proposed staged approach, but with clear commitment and a timeline from the Council to complete all stages of the project.  Only once all stages are delivered, will we see the benefits of separated walking and cycling paths, that ensures better safety and comfort for everyone.

It is good to see that the Council has listened to the concerns raised by the various parties through the consultation process and is taking action.  This includes finding an alternative option for the many people who currently park along the route to walk or cycle into town. And avoiding significant impacts on the businesses along the Hutt Road.  This needs time to do it right.

In the meantime, everyone using the route can also do their bit; showing consideration and care for each other as cyclists and walkers continue to share the narrow path.  This means that people on bikes need to keep their speed down, give pedestrians room when passing, use bike bells, and in particular keep an eye out for children by the Day care centre.

Motorists also need to do their bit.  Blocking or parking over the shared path is not acceptable.  The good thing is that over the last couple of years we have seen an improvement in motorists’ awareness of cyclists along this route; treating them with more respect.  Most drivers wait patiently to let cyclists pass.  There will still be times when motorists make mistakes.  All of us make mistakes.  Even with a properly improved Hutt Road, this cannot be avoided altogether.

Let’s make this work and be patient while we give the Council the extra time to find a solution that works for the everyone.

Ron Beernink, Chairman Cycle Aware Wellington

Get on with Hutt Road cycleway improvements, say cyclists

HuttRd

Ron Beernink, Chairman, Cycle Aware Wellington, writes:

67% of submissions received by the Wellington City Council support the Hutt Road Improvements. This includes the submission from advocacy group Cycle Aware Wellington who see the design as a significant and long overdue improvement.

For years now the Hutt Road has been the bane for the numerous cyclists and pedestrians alike who use this route to commute in and out of the city. It has been the scene of many accidents and close calls, which last year led to a protest ride to the Civic Centre to call on the Council to “get on with it” and create better cycling infrastructure.

Hopes were raised with the proposed urgent Hutt Road improvements. Now it looks like it may be back to the drawing board as options such as a seaside cycle route are potentially on the table again. But while the alternatives sound interesting, they have already been checked and the feasibility ranged from ‘no’ to ‘maybe, requiring extra funding beyond the total Urban Cycleway Plan package available, and with possible delays of 3+ years from the 2016 construction date for this proposal if one only factors in the consent processes.

CAN agrees that a seaside route would be a fantastic and iconic asset to the Wellington region, particularly if it would stretch all the way between Petone, Miramar and the south coast. Which is essentially the Great Harbour Way that has been talked about for some time now. One only has to look at New Plymouth to see how popular such a seaside path is with walkers and recreational cyclists of all ages and abilities.

It does however question how this would help to address the urgent need to have a safer route for commuter cyclists who typically want to see a most direct route that can be safely cycled at a higher speed. The seaside route would not cater either for cyclists who live in the western suburbs like Ngaio and Khandallah. And does it create more delays in fixing a problem that should have been dealt with years ago?

The good news is that the various councillors are keen to push ahead with at least some essential and ‘easy to do’ improvements like removing the many lamp posts that currently sit in the middle of the path, shifting the bus stop by Westminster Street, and resurfacing the path. These in itself will be a significant improvement on the current situation.

The contentious issue of removing existing car parks and having off peak onroad car parks may be delayed however if it is indeed back to the drawing board with looking at other options and taking on board the feedback from the consultation. CAW feels that cyclists could live with this as long as there is a genuine urgency with ‘getting on’ with finding a solution for making this key cycling commuter route safer and more enjoyable.

[Note: thanks to Scoop.co.nz for carrying this press release.]

CAW AGM – your chance to get involved

13124593_10153811389012261_2355204561230475194_nHey, it’s our AGM on Tuesday. Come along for:

  • highlights, lowlights and reflections on the year
  • picking some new committee-folk to help us get stuff done
  • A preso from WCC on the Eastern Suburbs cycling proposals and a chance to chat, ask questions, and say what you think.

If you only come to one meeting this year, make it this one.

6-7:30pm Tuesday 3 May at the Sustainability Trust on Foresters Lane (off Tory St).

See you there!

CAW meeting report April 2016

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

Eastern:

  • 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

Hutt Road:

  • consultation
  • overall options the council looked at and why this was the only feasible high-level option
  • the good and bad in the proposal

Central:

  • 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.

CANdo debrief

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.

 

Eastern Suburbs Consultation

Leonie Gill pathway. Part of a bigger Eastern Suburbs network?
Leonie Gill pathway. Part of a bigger Eastern Suburbs network?

The official consultation period for the Eastern suburbs cycleways begins today, closing on the 23rd of May. Some details on the consultation from the council:

Between now and then, our team will be busy populating the Cycleways website [http://cycleways.wellington.govt.nz/where/eastern/] with all the information, ready to ‘go live’ on 26 April. Alternatively, you can  go to the ‘Have Your Say’ section of Wellington City Council’s main website [http://wellington.govt.nz/].

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
    • Linking the Leonie Gill shared path to the airport tunnel and to the Kilbirnie shops
    • 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. ES UCP IDEAIt 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.

Cycling hits the big screen at NZBFF

nzbff_invite_web

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.

maxresdefault

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.

triplets-of-belleville

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.

safety

Cycling in NZ goes back a long way, and so does filming. Nga Taonga has delved into the archives to see where these two activities have intersected, coming up with  A Cinematic Century of Cycling in NZ (7pm 14 April, 4:30pm 16 April) with film dating back to 1907. Features the NZ Cycle Corps of WWI, cycle races, and primate oriented road safety advice.

Non-filmic events include Goldsprints on 5-6pm Friday 8 April, racing for prizes courtesy of Bicycle Junction, and Mechanical Tempest checkups 3-7pm Saturday 9 April.