A Longer Term Plan for Healthy Streets in Wellington

The following was presented in person to Wellington City Council during public participation in the Annual Plan/Long-Term Plan Committee Meeting on 18 February 2021.

  • Investing properly in streets for people of all ages and abilities to make active everyday journeys is a critical part of successfully delivering Te Atakura and addressing the Climate Emergency we are in.
  • WCC needs to keep its promises and Get Welly Riding.
  • This is the time for Councillors to stand tall and support what they were elected to do.
  • Please continue lifting the vision for mobility in this city. We love the great facilities that WCC have been creating these last few years. Don’t lose this precious momentum.
  • The recommended investment to develop healthy streets is incongruous with many of the priorities outlined in this LTP.
Kirsten, Mia & Nico with their big blue family station wagon they started using a day before L4 lockdown.
Pic: Julia Hilgenfeldt

Lifting the vision

We all have a vision for a Wellington that is full of people who enjoy living and moving about. Especially those choosing to ride bikes, walk, and take public transport.

Everyone should be able to enjoy the wellbeing of healthy, active, community enhancing mobility.

I envision a city of people who are empowered by their mobility environment. Where children can travel safely and independently about their own neighbourhoods.

I yearn for the quiet, clean air filled with birdsong that we all enjoyed during Level 4 lockdown, more greenery, and places to dwell.

I look forward to a time when people’s response to urban cycling is no longer “I’d like to do that, but it’s far too dangerous!

I look forward to more households being able to get around without owning a car.

I am excited by the potential of healthier streets to increase connectivity and reduce loneliness in our communities.

WCC must invest properly in streets for people

Just as Wellington water infrastructure has been neglected to a state of disrepair, so too we have seen an unacceptable degradation of the way people can travel around.

Decades of focus on journeys by car has resulted in our streets breaking and becoming clogged with an unsustainable volume of vehicles. Addressing transport in Wellington is as key as “fixing the pipes”.

Human-scale mobility systems are critical to our health and wellbeing. Investing in our streets to perform better for people, not cars, is essential to enable this.

Incongruous priorities

The draft LTP says that safe transport infrastructure and accelerating a zero-carbon transition are priority objectives. The suggested recommendations in this draft plan are putting on the brakes.

This council has declared a Climate Emergency. Delivering a reduced programme of cycleways goes against the objectives of the plan and the commitments that this council has made to reduce emissions.

Healthy streets enabling active travel are critical infrastructure for our future.

That this LTP aims to cut the important cycling corridors to Get Welly Riding significantly undermines the impression of an organisation prioritising safe, zero-carbon, waste-free, resilient, reliable, critical / core transport infrastructure.

Not funding The Parade Upgrade means that you are walking away from the consultation and commitments made to the people of Island Bay. Councillors need to respect that contract to maintain the council’s social license and trust that it will do what it says it will. 

There are many residents and ratepayers in Wellington who are happy to pay higher rates to properly fund essential projects. Bike lanes are essential for addressing transport equity, climate change, public health, improving Wellington’s appeal, and saving ratepayers money. Cutting bike lane projects because of rates pressure is compounding the problem for our children’s generation who don’t have a voice.

I, and many others feel this way as ratepayers and are eager to pay more to make our mobility environment healthier. Space that is safe for walking, cycling and other forms of active transport is one of the most sustainable economic developments we can invest in. 

Your own website lists evidence that every dollar spent on cycling by this council would save Wellington ratepayers $20 in the form of fewer injuries, reductions in emissions, health benefits and less spending on fossil fuels. More people on bikes means less money spent on repairing damage caused by heavy vehicles. We can’t understand why such a valuable return on investment hasn’t been utilised as part of the cost savings in this plan.

What to do?

So what do we think this draft LTP should look like regarding cycling?

We don’t think that a draft LTP put out for consultation should include options that are contradictory to the council’s priorities, climate targets and legal obligations such as those in options 1, 2 or 3.

We think that the recommended option should at a minimum fulfill the entire programme of works promised in previous plans and deliver promised improvements to the Island Bay Cycleway.

Furthermore, we think that Wellingtonians should be consulted on the option of the council delivering an increased and accelerated programme. The consultation will not allow Wellingtonians to truly express their views if the best option they can ask for is that which has previously been promised. We consider that progress in Wellington is not being made fast enough, and we are being left behind Auckland, Christchurch, and cities overseas, such as Paris, that have made transformative changes under visionary leadership.

It is clear that Wellington City Council has the capability to deliver an ambitious long term plan if you choose to. 

This LTP prioritises the cutting of rates over the cutting of emissions. The same misplaced priorities left us to clean up the pipes previous generations should have maintained. We hope that you will make a choice to deliver on a Long Term Plan that ensures a Wellington and a world worth living in for our children and future generations.

February 2021 NEWSLETTER

Kia ora koutou

Great news! ​Te Ara Tupua ​-Ngā Ūranga to Pito-one path has been consented.​ We are over the moon about the decision. This is a game-changer.After decades of delays, we are overjoyed there will soon be a safe and attractive path between the Hutt and Wellington. There’s no doubt that cycling is booming, as more people discover the convenience and joy of riding a bike.But until Te Ara Tupua opens, CW are still fighting for safety measures on State Highway Two.
We’re calling on Waka Kotahi NZTA to take action to make it safer for people on bikes along this corridor immediately. Speeds should be lowered to reduce traffic risks.We are also excited to see the ​Climate Change Commission’s draft advice​ for a better,low-carbon New Zealand. Let’s make sure bicycles are a key part of the way forward.We’re working on a submission guide to help you push for cleaner, sustainable, fun mobility when you have your say.Keep pedaling!
Ngā mihi nui,
Alex Dyer and Linda Beatson
Co-Chairs Cycle Wellington

Calls to action

WCC ePetition: Make safe space for cycling on Thorndon Quay
Closes ​22 February 2021
Let’s make Thorndon Quay safe for people on bikes.
We’re calling on Wellington City Council to change all of the angle parking to parallel on Thorndon Quay in order to make space for people on bikes. This is an urgent safety change required while the longer project, through Let’s Get Welly Moving, takes its course.
Thanks to the 350+ people who have already signed the petition calling for safe space.
Please sign and share

Locky Docks sites
Locky Docks are looking for more locations they can provide bike parking around Wellington.If anyone can suggest any privately owned land that is suitable, close to the central city or in village centres in suburbs (e.g.Brooklyn, Hataitai, Island Bay… etc), please reach out and have a chat with them.

Upcoming bikeness

Picnics In Parks – PARK(ing) Day Friday 5 March
The Picnics In Parks movement is looking to hold a series of picnics during this year’s PARK(ing) Day.
The idea is to hold a set of basic picnics in parks outside select cafes around town to complement the official parklet sculptures. Please contact ​alex.m.dyer@gmail.com​ if you’re interested in hosting a picnic on the day.
More info about the main event here: https://www.sculpture.org.nz/store/doc/PARK(ing)-Day-2021-Call-for-proposals.pdf

ReBicycle Fix up
6-8pm Wednesdays​ Mechanical Tempest
Our ReBicycle Fix up workshop is back inaction on Wednesday evenings, 6-8pm.These five boys were super happy to get ‘new’ bikes this week. Loads more bikes have been donated and are waiting to be fixed up ready for a new home. If you have basic mechanical skills come on down and give us a hand. https://rebicycle.nz/

Big Bike Film Night – Wellington screenings
6pm Sunday 21st & 6:15pm Monday 22nd February Penthouse Cinema Brooklyn
Showcasing our 2021 collection that has everything a cycle-centric audience could want –action, drama, humour, and plenty of inspiration; the evening is unashamedly and utterly,utterly, utterly designed and devised for the two wheel devotee!

Family Cargo bike Champions
Entries close on Sunday 7th of March, 2021
Bicycle Junction are running a programme of cargo bike trials for parents at a range of Wellington schools. People who take up the trial challenge can win an electric cargo bike!

Aotearoa Bike Challenge February 2021
The Aotearoa Bike Challenge is back for 2021! Gather a team at your work, track your progress riding your bike and be in to win prizes and bragging rights. Register here. ​

Urban Nerds meetup February 9th-5:30-7:00pm Fortune Favours, Leeds Street
Meet with urbanists from all walks (and cycles) of life in a fun, informal catch up. The invitation setup has recently changed, so if you’re keen to be in the loop ​sign up here​.

Next Cycle Wellington Meeting 2nd March 2021 6pm at the Sustainability Trust, Forresters Lane, Te Aro

Project updates

WCC Cobham Drive
It’s looking great. The opening date hasn’t yet been confirmed as there’s still work to do.

Miramar Ave.
Once the crew has finished on Cobham Drive they will start work on continuing the route through the cutting to Miramar Ave.

Innovating streets

A Brooklyn Hill bike lane co-design is in progress. We could see an install in a few months, depending on the materials needed.

Parklets on Marion St (Bicycle Junction), Riddiford St (Black Coffee) and Allen St (Fringe) to be installed from 9 Feb. Please use these. More at https://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/projects/innovating-streets

Bike counters data moved
The location where you can access bike counter data can now be found here.

Waka Kotahi NZTA / LGWM

Te Ara Tupua consented
As described above, we are very happy about the consenting of this project and look forward to its construction. We continue to work for speed reductions to be implemented until construction is completed.

Recent goings on

Cycle Wellington Survey
If you didn’t catch the post about the findings from our survey last year, please ​check it out here​.

About CW
Cycle Wellington is a group of people who are passionate about making Wellington a better place to ride bikes.

Support Cycle Wellington
Do you love cycling? Want more people riding bikes, more often? Got a great idea to make cycling in Wellington even better? Get involved with Cycle Wellington!
Join Cycle Wellington through the ​Cycling Action Network​ by using your Wellington address.
Make a donation to Cycle Wellington
Show your support of CW by buying a shirt on our online shop
Follow CW: Facebook​, ​Instagram​, ​Twitter​, ​Blog

Wellington’s bike boom is unstoppable

by Patrick Morgan, Cycle Wellington
1 February 2021

There’s no doubt that cycling is on the up.

Wellingtonians are biking more and more, with numbers doubling in the past decade. E-bikes flatten hills, defeat headwinds, and help you go further. For those who don’t mind getting a work-out, low gears make every hill possible.

Volunteers are busy digging mountain bike trails all over the place. Most buses have bike racks, and you can take you bike on trains and ferries at no cost. NZ Cycle Trails are popular as domestic tourism booms.

Bikes mean business. Bike shops did a roaring trade during 2020 as people rediscovered cycling. A hot item is a cargo bike that can haul your kids and groceries. Families are getting rid of cars and making more trips by bike.

People of all ages love the convenience, speed, affordability and sheer joy of riding bikes.

In response, Wellington has been building bike lanes, adding bike parking, setting safe speed limits and supporting programmes like Bikes in Schools that get more kids riding, more often. Employers are installing secure bike parking and encouraging staff and customers to use bikes.

Are we moving fast enough and getting it right first time? Hell no, but momentum is building faster than a biker zooming down Brooklyn hill.

However, I accept that change is hard, and scepticism endures (Why we need more than just cycle lanes in Wellington, 1 February, )

Luckily, opponents of cycling are running out of excuses.

That’s why the Government, councils, and businesses are investing in cycling like never before. The Climate Change Commission has called for the doubling of cycling by 2035. I reckon we need to be more ambitious, to realise the carbon-crushing potential of cycling.

If you want to get on your bike, help is at hand.

Today marks the start of Bike Month, where you can log your rides at Aotearoa Bike Challenge, and win stuff by competing against your friends and workmates.

Need to sharpen your skills? Take a free Pedal Ready course

Want your kids to ride more? Visit a school with a Bikes in Schools track, or explore the great trails in our region like the Remutaka Cycle Trail, Makara Peak, Te Ara Whareroa, Te Ara Tawa, or the Hutt River Trail.

More and more people are embracing the joy and freedom as we bike to the future.

Wellington Bike Love episode 9: KAIN & JESS with their daughter

Kain, Sonja, and their daughter have been without a car for six years. It began back in Germany with the problem of finding a parking spot and cycling was a good alternative. With the move to Wellington, this did not change. Although a good infrastructure does not exist here yet. “Our daughter doesn’t ride her bicycle here alone as she was used to in Berlin. There is not enough space, cars passing by too close, ”mentions Jess.

Still, cycling is their favorite mode of transport. “Healthier. An easier way of getting around. No hassle with parking ”describes Kain the main motivators. Their daughter says happily: “It’s good for the environment. Cars aren’t fun. ” And the closeness to water and beaches adds another positive layer for cycling in Wellington.

While the whole family has their own, unique relationship to their bikes, Kain describes it as a close bond. “It is an extension of me. A part of my personality.” For their daughter it is a toy to have fun with and Jess sees it as something functional. But all of them agree that cycling has become an important part of their lives.

[Credit to Stephen Templer and Sean Duffell for the mural artwork that served as background.]

[ By Julia Hilgenfeldt. All stories of the project can be found here: https://julsontheway.com/art-projects/wellington-bike-love.]

Bike to the future

As a year like no other draws to a close, what’s ahead for cycling in Wellington?

Cycle Wellington needs to be responsive to our supporters, so recently we surveyed you. Thanks to the 404 people who had their say.

You told us you like what we do, but we need to up our game and work harder. We agree. So we’ll be
– improving the visibility and branding of Cycle Wellington
– upgrading how we communicate with you
– amplifying the voices of disadvantaged people
– launching a membership programme to improve our effectiveness
– hitting the streets with more actions
– reaching out to businesses
– broadening our agenda
– riding our bikes.

This work has been made possible by a generous donation from a Cycle Wellington supporter, who funded the Alastair Smith Memorial Award.

Alastair Smith, who passed away in November 2019, was a passionate and effective powerhouse in our efforts to make Wellington better for people riding bikes.

In 2020, the Award recipient is Tom Hovey. Tom is a cycling advocate with extensive digital engagement experience. He owns his own digital consultancy and understands the cycling environment.

“We’ve seen some improvements, but there’s much more to do to make Wellington a better city for people who want to ride,” said Tom.

“I’m delighted and honoured to have this opportunity to apply my skills, and look forward to making more progress in 2021.”

Season’s greetings to you all.

Make safe space for cycling on Thorndon Quay

We all deserve safe streets. Let’s make Thorndon Quay safe for people on bikes.
We call on Wellington City Council to change angle parking to parallel parking on Thorndon Quay, to make space for people on bikes.
Thorndon Quay is a key route in Wellington’s cycling network, linking the city with northern suburbs. Sadly, it has a high crash rate. That needs fixing urgently.

Please sign our petition today.

Q: What about Let’s Get Wellington Moving plans?
A: The LGWM project is considering an upgrade of Thorndon Quay, but these could be years away.
Q: Does Thorndon Quay need proper, protected bike lanes?
A: Yes. We expect these will happen in the LGWM upgrade, but in the meantime we need to make Thorndon Quay safe.
Q: Is there a risk that a change to parallel parking means we won’t get bike lanes?
A: No.
Q: What about parking?
A: A WCC study has shown that even at peak demand, there is plenty of unused car parks on Thorndon Quay. Wellington has more than 29,000 car parks in the central city.

Join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/fixthorndonquay

Wellington Bike Love episode 8: SANKET

The buses were too crowded, the streets full of traffic. A bicycle was the solution for Sanket. A way to get easily to and from work with the added benefit to save some time. Even during the time of Covid, to stay safe with the right amount of social distancing.

One of the frustrating factors of using the bicycle, he mentions instantly: “If it’s windy then that is Wellington”. After a long pause, he adds “The bus drivers are a bit harsh” This is the scary and annoying bit of commuting for him, but the excitement outweighs the discomfort of those situations.

Here’s what he likes most about cycling in the city: “The whole fact I am able to commute,” he says. The convenient locations of both his home and work. Every day he looks forward to riding home to enjoy the views along the waterfront.

Sanket views his bicycle as a very close part of his life. Since he moved to Wellington he used it more than his car. “It is definitely a wonderful loving relationship,” he says.

[Credit to artist Tess Sheerin and Island Bay youth for the mural artwork that served as background.]

[ By Julia Hilgenfeldt. All stories of the project can be found here: https://julsontheway.com/art-projects/wellington-bike-love.]

Wellington Bike Love episode 7: KARIEN

With cycling in her blood, Karien brought her bicycle over from the Netherlands. She put it to good use for years, until she moved to the top of a hill, and it became an ornamental piece in her living room.

A few years ago the bus system changed, the convenience of public transport was gone and travel stress increased. The bicycle looked appealing again!

Being used to cycling on flat terrain, the hill was a challenge though! An e-bike was the solution. Since then, Karien commutes and cycles around the city in any weather in any clothes. “From normal clothes to a dress and high heels for a good night out.”

From her perspective, cycling in Wellington is “fairly dangerous, especially on rainy days or at night.” With a healthy dose of awareness, she passes parked cars, looking out for doors that might open unexpectedly.

The Mt. Vic tunnel is by far the worst part of her commute, she says. But once Karien rides through Roseneath, looking at the sunrise over the mountains, or along the calming water at the waterfront, watching people rowing, she nearly forgets the risks. The amount of freedom in return is totally worth it.

Her bicycle is her most prized possession with an indescribable love towards it, she explains.

[Credit to artist DSIDE for the mural artwork that served as background.]

[ By Julia Hilgenfeldt. All stories of the project can be found here: https://julsontheway.com/art-projects/wellington-bike-love.]

Wellington Bike Love episode 6: JIM

A knee injury opened the door to cycling. A friend wanted to help and gave Jim an old bike to recover quicker. Still, the hills of Wellington were too challenging. As the technology around e-bikes improved, he invested in a conversion for his bicycle. A decision that changed his life dramatically. “Cycling has been a revolution on how I approach my life. I absolutely love it,” he says enthusiastically.

Especially, the time factor is one of the most convincing aspects for him. Being able to get home from anywhere in 20 minutes without worrying about a car park, bus schedules, anything. “The logistics disappeared,” Jim exclaims. The newly won freedom and time is invested in his family life – making sure everyone gets breakfast, lunch and dinner.

With everything in life, there is also a little shadow side that comes with commuting by bicycle regularly. “The lack of space given to cyclists. The lack of tolerance.” He explains. “Cars go by too close.” Constant awareness is needed. The experience of an incident with an opened door didn’t stop him from riding his bike; it only changed his approach. Carefully, he now picks the routes that minimize the chance of that.

His bicycle is like a colleague for him. Jim treats it with respect, maintained and cleaned to enjoy more years of cycling.

[ By Julia Hilgenfeldt. All stories of the project can be found here: https://julsontheway.com/art-projects/wellington-bike-love.]

Wellington Bike Love episode 5: KORA

A bicycle named “Franken-bike” is Kora’s main way of traveling around Wellington. The independence she experiences with a bicycle is indescribable. No need to wait for a bus. It is cool, good for the environment and good for her with some passive exercise, she explains.

Going downhill is the most exciting part of cycling. She only goes the hills up to speed those down again.

“At times it can be difficult and quite dangerous to be part of the traffic,” Kora says. “Especially on Adelaide Road.” The inconsistent bike lanes give a slightly bitter flavour to cycling in the city.

Nevertheless, she has seen positive changes over the last year. Improved infrastructure, more people on their bikes, and in general Wellington got more friendly towards cyclists.

“A trusty little thing. Light and functional,” as she describes her bicycle. Her partner has helped her to maintain it, but she prefers to keep it “a little janky” to keep people from stealing it.

[ By Julia Hilgenfeldt. All stories of the project can be found here: https://julsontheway.com/art-projects/wellington-bike-love.]