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CAW fundraising raffle

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CAW is running a fundraising raffle to bankroll future campaigns.  Prizes include:

Please let Sean or Patrick know if you can sell, or want to buy, tickets ( a mere $5 each, half the cost of a spare tube). All proceeds to CAW.

Thanks to all our generous sponsors for the donated prizes. We’ll draw the raffle at the end of August.

Tailwinds and Trackstands: Councillors’ cycling votes

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Coming into October’s local body elections, we want to know how candidates stand on cycling. In this post, I’ll look at how Councilors standing for re-election voted on cycling issues during the past term. In following posts, we’ll be looking at the responses to a cycling questionnaire that has gone to all WCC and GWRC candidates.

Despite the impression of discord that sometimes emanates from Council, in practice Councillors try to reach a consensus, and often amend resolutions so that a unanimous decision can be made. This is nice for democracy, but makes it a bit harder to figure out where people really stand. Going back through the minutes of the Transport and Urban Development Committee of the Council, and the Council itself, I found 9 non-unanimous votes on cycling related issues, which enable us to get an idea of Councillors’ positions on cycling. I’ve only included the Councillors who are standing – Councillors Ahipene-Mercer, Peck, and Mayor Wade-Brown are not standing again.

It’s not quite fair to characterise any Councillors as “anti” cycling. All Councillors are in favour of cycling, voting unanimously for the Cycling Framework, for example. But some councilors vote against specific projects, such as the Island Bay cycleway. They would argue that this was because they objected to that particular project, rather than because they were against cycling. For example Nicola Young says she voted against the Island Bay cycleway because she felt development should start in the CBD. And to be fair she did organise some nice bikestands outside the Aro Valley community centre.

Bike stands at Aro Community Centre

So rather than labelling votes as pro or anti cycling, I’ve characterised votes as “tailwind” if they progressed cycling; “trackstand” if they tended to perpetuate the status quo.

The votes were:

2014-05-20 TUDC: Agree to option 2 cycle lanes next to footpath for IB cycleway… Yes=Tailwind: Foster, Lee, Lester, Pannett; No=Trackstand: Coughlan, Woolf, Young.
2014-08-27 Council: Decisions on IB Cycleway to be by full Council. Yes=Trackstand: Coughlan, Eagle, Marsh, Ritchie, Young; No=Tailwind: Foster, Free, Lee, Lester, Pannett, Sparrow, Woolf
2014-08-27 Council. CBD Safer Speeds. Yes=Tailwind: Foster, Free, Lee, Lester, Pannett, No=Trackstand: Coughlan, Eagle, Marsh, Ritchie, Sparrow, Woolf, Young.
2014-12-03 TUDC. Note, rather than agree, IB cycleway goes ahead. Yes=Trackstand: Coughlan, Woolf, Young, No=Tailwind: Foster, Lee, Lester, Pannett
2014-12-03 TUDC Note serious safety concerns with design of IB Cycleway. Yes=Trackstand: Coughlan, Woolf, Young, No=Tailwind: Foster, Lee, Lester, Pannett
2014-12-03 TUDC Agree decision on IB cycleway wait for external safety review. Yes=Trackstand: Coughlan, Woolf, Young, No=Tailwind: Foster, Lee, Lester, Pannett
2015-04-30 Council Agree to support routes in Cycleway Plan. Yes=Tailwind: Foster, Free, Lee, Lester, Pannett, Ritchie, Sparrow, Woolf, No=Trackstand: Coughlan, Eagle, Marsh, Young.
2015-06-24 Council Proceed with IB cycleway. Yes=Tailwind: Foster, Free, Lee, Lester, Pannett, No=Trackstand: Coughlan, Eagle, Marsh, Woolf, Young.
2016-08-11 TUDC Hutt Road improvements. Yes=Tailwind: Eagle, Marsh, Foster, Free, Lee, Lester, Pannett, Ritchie, Sparrow, Young, No=Trackstand: Coughlan, Woolf.

While these issues, and the reasons for the votes are complex, we can do a rough evaluation of the Councillors with a “Tailwind” score – the percentage of their votes that progressed cycling. Here’s the rankings:

  • 100%: Andy Foster, Sarah Free, David Lee, Justin Lester, Iona Pannett
  • 75% Malcolm Sparrow
  • 50% Helene Ritchie
  • 22% Simon Woolf
  • 20% Paul Eagle, Simon Marsh
  • 11% Nicola Young
  • 0% Jo Coughlan

Obviously you shouldn’t base your vote in October just on this. But use the voting record as a basis for questioning candidates (do roll up to meetings and ask hard questions about cycling) and evaluating their public statements.

Wellington’s winds are a feature of cycling in the city – if you want the tailwinds of good cycling infrastructure, vote for the Tailwind candidates; but above all VOTE!

Meeting report 2 August 2016

Ciclovia Bike to the Future Award
Miramar Ciclovia Bike to the Future Award

At our monthly meeting we discussed:

CAW is running a fundraising raffle. Don’t miss out – follow the link to score your ticket(s).

As part of WCC’s re-engagementIsland Bay has a drop-in centre at 132 The Parade. Go down and give your thoughts on the future of the suburb and cycleway plans. Open 10-4.  CAW should support this, particularly as this can set a framework & process for future community led-approaches to cycling improvements. We discussed to what extent people outside Island Bay would be able to voice their opinions, and the answer was that this should be the case to for example give a voice to people who drive down to Island Bay to catch a bus into town, but also people who come to Island Bay to go to the beach or the sports fields.

NZTA has released a “Benefits of investing in cycling in NZ communities” booklet. Check it out online or ask Patrick for a copy.

Ciclovia, the Miramar peninsula event with roads closed to motor traffic, won the “Taking communities on the journey award” at July’s Bike to the Future awards at the 2Walk&Cycle Conference. Cycle Aware Wellington Chair Ron Beernink is one of the key drivers of Ciclovia.

Love Cycling campaign – bike plates re-ordered

WCC to decide on its refreshed cycling plans on 11 August. Ron to present for CAW. (Update – WCC approved the new plans. That’s good news)

Ron ran a workshop where we reviewed CAW’s strategy and objectives. There was very useful feedback on the draft updated vision and objective statements that ensure that CAW has the right focus, plus input into the strategy and tactics statements that tell CAW what it needs to do to get there. The next meeting will focus on the influences and challenges that we need to consider in making it happen.

CAW new motivation model

Your survey feedback on the Refreshed Cycling Network Programme

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 20:25:56

So we did a survey asking peoples thoughts about what routes should be given what priority and consideration for the refresh of the Wellington Cycling Network Programme.  Less than 3 days, and it got 157 responses.  Awesome!  You people really rock.

But boy, did it prove a challenge to go through all the individual responses!  I had only a couple of days to collate the information and submit it to the chair of the Urban Transport and Development committee.  So to be honest, I only got half way!   But by that stage some common feedback had started to emerge.  And enough material to go back to the committee with.

Unfortunately it won’t reflect everyone’s specific comments but the reality is that a survey like this was not going to gives a clear consensus.  Again to be honest, I realise now that there is a real art in putting a survey like this together and that I didn’t do a great job.  So my apologies.

Here is the link to the presentation file that I provided to the Council committee.  Who knows how much of an influence it had as part of their workshop this week? We will find out when the proposed refreshed programme gets published this Friday.    There was a leak to the Dominion though that resulted in today’s article that the focus is on developing a key part of the Great Harbour Way between Miramar and the CBD.

The shared cycling and pedestrian path along Evans Bay Parade.

CAW’s position is that we support that as a pragmatic choice.  We need a big cycle infrastructure win to get past the Island Bay situation.  A large part of this Great Harbour Way route can hopefully be done without the ire of local residents or businesses.  It won’t be without its challenges and there cannot be short cuts if the aim is for a wide enough route that can be safely shared by cyclists and pedestrians.  The result will be a great asset for Wellington however, no doubt.  And a nice commuter route for people living in the Eastern suburbs, specially on those sunny and not so windy days!

At the same time we hope that the Council will tackle some of the high risk routes as well.  It is already committed to fixing the Hutt Road and together with the NZTA will implement the seaside shared path between Ngauranga and Petone (another part of the Great Harbour Way) that hopefully will be all completed between next year and 2018/19.  There is however an urgent need to sort out for example Thorndon Quay where on a daily basis lots of commuters are at risk from angle parked cars and buses crossing the path of cyclists.

There will be a consultation on the refreshed cycling programme, and CAW will definitely use all of your survey feedback to make our submission.  And we urge you to make your own submissions when the time comes.  Thanks for your passion in wanting to make cycling a safe and enjoyable option for all of our community!

Ron Beernink
Cycle Aware Wellington chair

 

 

 

Island Bay Cycle Way Revisited

Screenshot from 2016-07-30 14:13:53

Why another engagement process on the Island Bay Cycle Way, and why should Cycle Aware Wellington support this?   

Many lessons have come out of the Island Bay Cycle Way situation and everyone agrees that the process could have been a lot better.  A recent NZTA-commissioned report by consultancy firm Morrison Low recommended that the Wellington City Council re-engage with the community.  

At the last WCC Transport & Urban Development committee meeting the councillors agreed that “Re-engagement with the Island Bay community commence as soon as practical and be community-led with the detailed engagement approach to be developed by representatives from the Island Bay Residents’ Association, local businesses, Cycle Aware Wellington and interested stakeholders together with council.”   David Chick, WCC’s Chief City Planner, spoke at a couple of recent meetings of the Island Bay Residents Association and said that this is about “starting with a clean sheet of paper”.

Does this mean that the cycle way could be scrapped?  While most cyclists and CAW would not want that,  many locals see that as the only acceptable outcome.  We need to put the polarised views to the side.  The re-engagement / community consultation is about working together to determine the right solution.  This means using an engagement process that asks the community what it sees as a vision for Island Bay, looks at the various options and determines what will work best to achieve the right outcomes.  

The are some important questions that need to asked. What are alternative / additional safe and enjoyable options to encourage more people, young and old, to bike?  Which options will make it better for walkers as well as the people who use buses?  What design options will make sure that local businesses don’t suffer? How can it be made to feel  be safe for everyone as well as looking good?  The solution needs to work for today, as well as future generations.

There is no doubt that there will be challenges ahead.  We need to ensure that all the different voices are heard including children, unemployed, retirees, as well as those who want to ensure sustainable solutions.    The needs and ideas from all perspectives are important, and it should not be about majority versus minority views.   

A vacant shop at 132 The Parade will be converted to a community space where over the next weeks / months people. Everyone is invited to go in and discuss ideas, look at what design options others have come up with, and add their own ideas.  There will be volunteers on hand to help with questions and to guide people.  We ask CAW people who live or have in an interest in Island Bay to pop in and contribute to the discussion and ideas.  Listen and see what others have to say, and share your thoughts.  

Cycle Aware Wellington needs to get behind this, not just to help to ensure the right outcomes for people who want to cycle and who live in Island Bay.  More importantly, this is an opportunity to establish a community-led approach when looking at changes like these, it is our chance to help to  guide the Council with design options / ideas.  We are part of the community and together we can make it work better.

 

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