Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 7 AM – 9 AM Celebrate the awesomeness of riding a bike in Wellington. Please join us for socially-spaced coffee, breakfast, bike TLC, games, giveaways and more. Bring friends. Brought to you by Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Bicycle Junction, our supporters, and a host of volunteers. https://www.facebook.com/events/714229312459478
UPDATE: In light of movement to Covid Alert Level 2 this event has been moved provisionally to 20th September
Bring along your whānau and have a chat about all things bike in Te Whanganui-a-Tara!
We’ll be sharing ideas on fun places to bike with family and friends around the Wellington region and places to do a good biking staycation in Aotearoa, so bring your favourite biking stories. Also, feel free to bring along friends new to biking in Wellington and share tips with each other about safe and comfortable routes around the city.
We will be catering and making heaps of tea and coffee but feel free to bring along your own kai to share.
Show your love of bikes and support for Cycle Wellington and help us enable more people to ride bikes, more often, in Aotearoa’s capital city. We already have a range of shirt designs to purchase check them out here:
Good news – Council is responding to concerns from people riding here by removing a single car park as the road narrows just to the north of Wakefield Park (a pretty hairy point for riding). This should make it safer for drivers of cars and buses to give people on bikes a bit more room when passing.However, by taking an extra two parks here WCC could give an even longer stretch for cycling without having to weave in and out of parked cars, taking the lane here when moving more slowly uphill can be unnerving for some too. The extra space would also give drivers maximum room to overtake safely.
If the Council gets enough feedback in support they may return with a second traffic resolution to remove the two suggested parks. Kia ora!
Another resolution to effectively widen the road for people on bikes and mitigate a pinch point – raised by a local cyclist fed up of being squeezed by buses on the way up the hill. It just goes to show that if you tell the Council about a problem in your neighbourhood, they do listen!
Kia ora! On a bright Friday I pedalled down to the Sustainability Trust to hear what some Wellington Central candidates had to say on the topic of the Environment. I’ve picked out stuff related specifically to transport.
The candidates who attended were:
Nicola Willis – National List MP, standing for Wellington Central
James Shaw – Green List MP, standing for Wellington Central
Ginny Andersen – Labour List MP, standing in for Grant Robertson
*Ginny is standing for Hutt South – so still has a good local perspective
All sections are listed in the order the candidates spoke. Apologies to Ginny, I was recording this on my phone and her initial whaikōrero came out a little quieter than Nicola and James’s.
We’ve done a ton of things in public transport simultaneously and I know that Nicola has a different view. Both our success in getting the agenda through and what her priorities would be, but we have fundamentally shifted the nature of investment around our transport mix and set in place a truly multi-modal approach to public transport
Second (major issue in Wellington) is around transport and I am resolutely committed to a second Mount Vic tunnel, and I tell you what, that’s good not only for people in cars but for people on bikes and by foot too, because at the moment there are very insufficient facilities for them.
I am equally committed to Bus Rapid Transit from the airport through to the railway station, it’s a poor part of our transport plan and I stand by my record of defending Wellington’s bus users over the past couple of years as the city council has failed them on so many fronts.
Transport – 227% increase in walking and cycling – it’s lots – we’ve got a cycleway all the way from Wellington to Petone – that’s been fast-tracked – and a new cycleway in the Eastern Bays – so that means you can get on a bike and you can cycle all the way around Wellington harbour then hop on an electric ferry and come back. That will be underway in the next few years, I think that’s really important and will be a local tourist destination.
Pātai Pahikara ki Poneke/Cycle Wellington Question – What would you do in order to help Wellingtonians reduce their carbon emissions from transport through Let’s Get Wellington Moving or otherwise?
About 18 months ago I think it was, the central government said that we were going to put 6.5 billion on the table to get Wellington Moving Moving! I am a little disappointed at the lack of progress since we said that (hear-hear, Willis) – we signed up to the programme and said that the sequence that we wanted to fund was to start with the Mass Transit – actually to start with the cycling system – so that’s all been happening – or it’s getting underway, which is good – the next big project is actually to get the Light Rail through first of all to the hospital and then eventually to the airport.
That completely changes the dynamics of car-use. Then, the roading improvements come in light of the changes of traffic. At the moment we have a real problem, that is if you start with the roading, then what we know from experience all over the world is that the more roads you build the more cars you get.
Once Transmission Gully is eventually open we are anticipating an additional 40,000 vehicles looking for car parks in Wellington City, which is improbable at best.
And so, the view that we have always had is that you take the most efficient and effective way of moving people and freight around the city and unfortunately decades of transport planning have stuck with a different question which is what is the most efficient and effective way of moving cars around the city, rather than people and freight. Then you end up with the kind of congestion at points that we’ve got at the moment.
We want to Get Wellington Moving Moving, we put 15 years of transport funding on the table to get it moving and I’m very much hoping to see shovels in the ground in the next term of parliament especially on that Light Rail project which the Greens have been fighting for since I was in short shorts, which is a while ago!
I think it is always frustrating when plans don’t move as quickly as you want them to, but I think it’s also important and I think Wellington’s history with the flyover and how much that took out of people’s energy, I remember the campaigns around that.
Essentially trying to get a good balance that should give people choices, that’s what I think. When I leave my house, every day, I want to be able to think and have at least two or three things that I can get: bike, walk, take the bus or, because I’ve got kids and groceries, do I take my car?
So I think we need to have more choices that are economical and easy to access and we still have a way to go.
I think LGWM is a good move in that direction to try and get us in a better space, but we need to really look at how they’re joining up, that’s where the local council and government engagement happens
We want to make sure that we want roads and public transport and cycleways to be joined up in a way that complement each other so that we don’t have to take a car if we don’t want to. I fully agree with what James says, just more roads means just more cars and we need to be thinking broader than that
it does concern me too that just big roads compromise on our safety. During my time working with the police we saw the road toll increase by roughly 50% when more emphasis went on big roads and not on safety. So if we are building roads, then we need to build them not just in conjunction with public transport, but with public safety as well.
I start from the position that Wellington has had under-investment in its transport infrastructure for successive governments.
I start from the position that this government has utterly failed Wellington on transport.
For Ginny and James to stand here and say funding has gone in is farcical – numbers have been announced but not a single project has been completed and I think that’s a failure.
National has a very bold plan for Wellington’s transport infrastructure
That’s because we want this to be a city that can grow and that can accommodate more housing so that we can have more affordable housing, for living in the city.
And because we want it to be easy to for all of you to get around whether that’s by car, by bus (which go on the road by the way), by rapid transit, by bike or by foot
So our infrastructure commitment is significant, we are going to invest a total package of more than $10billion and that starts with actually following the recommendations of the LGWM process, that process that I’m sure you were involved in and many in this room were involved in. It was consultative, it was about engaging with Wellingtonians, about what the total package should be.
Unfortunately the recommendations that came out were then reshuffled by the government, who picked and chose which projects they wanted to do
We are signing up to the full programme and as I said earlier, yes, that means improving SH1 through the city:
duplicating and modernising the 1931 Mount Vic tunnel
widening the Terrace tunnel
undergrounding SH1 through Te Aro – it’s ridiculous that when you’re walking to work or trying to get through the city that we have a huge motorway going through one of the densest parts of our CBD – so we commit to the vision of undergrounding it
sorting out congestion at the Basin Reserve
introducing Bus Rapid Transit from the airport to the railway station
as well as investing in bus priority measures, because if you tell me the one thing that has increased carbon emissions in the past 3 years from our transport it is the fact that more Wellingtonians jump in an Uber or into a car because the bus was overcrowded or didn’t arrive on time.
When I talk to bus planners about why that is, they say that in a large part it is because the buses spend more time stuck in traffic and the routes that are available to them are too congested, so we must invest in bus priority measures and a bus rapid transit system and that is a very practical way for more people to be able to take public transport. When we invest in better roads we actually allow for better amenity for walkers and cyclists too. That’s what all the LGWM advice said and we are signing up to that vision.
Bonus pātai/question – What is your opinion on pedestrianising a section of the CBD, not only for the environment but also for public safety?
I’m open to it, what I think is very important is that the city council genuinely and collaboratively consult those who will be affected by those changes.
We have a bad track record in this city, with the City Council leaping in to make significant changes, whether it’s the Island Bay Cycleway, or others, where local stakeholders aren’t properly engaged and the result is that sometimes what’s put in place is worse than what was there before.
We need to make sure that people have a chance to talk about how that will affect them in practical ways and that those concerns are met.
I’m all for it, I saw the consultation document that the council put out recently and it had the three options, I’m for the all-you-can-eat option, which is essentially the maximum pedestrianisation of that section the city
The evidence where it has been done overseas and in other parts here is that it dramatically increases foot traffic.
Now I know the vast majority of retailers in every situation where you pedestrianise will strongly oppose it because cognivitely it’s a bit of a leap to say “well if people can’t park outside my shop then how are they going to shop”, but actually genuinely what happens is that the person who parks outside my shop is shopping somewhere else because it’s the only place they could find a park. If you increase pedestrianisation you get massive increases in foot traffic and an increase therefore in the retail trade of that area.
The caveat of course is that that route is one of the very few routes in that ribbon of land and if we’re talking about a rapid transit system and increased cycleways and so-on and soforth it has to be part of an integrated plan otherwise you start to foreclose some of your other options for LGWM which we were talking about before
I think it would be amazing in terms of the urban design of our city if that Golden Mile wasn’t just a river of steel.
I’m with James on that, I think we walk a lot around Wellington anyway. Generally around this area, anywhere between here (Lower Tory St) and sort of Willis, Cuba around there, typically I would be walking and I see lots of people who do that as well.
If we’re doing it anyway, why not make it safer?
If there’s a designated area that you would walk more then I would take it.
It would be safer at night time with more people around, also – you’re more likely to get buskers performing and an interesting social area attracting heat and light.
You spend more time in the shops because you’ve not got big, dirty trucks going past blowing soot and stuff into shops that annoy shopkeepers.
I think it’s right, there’s usually a little bit of resistance from businesses because they think, people park outside their shop, go in to buy something and then just get back in again.
A good walk is a nice thing on a good day, if we have some protection it builds in a way we can enjoy the natural environment locally in Wellington where we’re also using our legs and our lungs a bit more.
That’s it – please remember to register to vote if you haven’t already https://vote.nz for more details
After consultation, the recommended design could be a blend of options
“Closely located bus stops” mean longer journeys due to buses stopping more frequently. Bus stops may be removed to speed up the network
After removal, bus stops are still within a 5 minute walk from much of central city for an average person
Under most options, there would no dedicated bike lanes except on Courtenay Place, which forms part of the strategic central city cycling network
People on bikes are still permitted on the Golden Mile in all three concepts. WCC is working on the cycling network as part of the City Streets programme. It’s unknown what routes this would take, but it wouldn’t be Lambton. It could be a two-way bike lane on Featherston Street.
Removal of private motor vehicles, side street intersections and 30 km/h speeds means less risk to people on bikes, scooters and foot. Cycling crashes along the Golden Mile are most likely to happen at intersections and as a result of entering/leaving car parks as well as car ‘dooring’
Most options expand pedestrian and shared space
Access for people who rely on motor vehicle access e.g. due to disability, could be from side streets
Motor vehicle deliveries could be restricted during the day. Bike courier deliveries not restricted
Light Rail is not part of these proposals. Bus priority on Golden Mile could remain alongside a future LRT route (which is likely not to be on Golden Mile)
Higher costs of the Transform option are, in part, due to higher spec materials
The Grey St / Lambton Quay intersection is an example of how side streets would be rebuilt in the Transform option:
Intersections at Willis/Manners/Boulcott, and Courtenay/Taranaki/Dixon pose some problems.
LGWM are running a series of presentations to stakeholders in the coming weeks, they also have a pop-up at the Te Ara Taiao container at the end of Bond Street showing plans to people as they pass by on Willis Street:
We’re excited at the possibility for transformational change through Wellington’s city center. We recommend supporting Concept 3: Transform as this is the only option that will provide separated space for cyclists of all ages and abilities to travel along sections of the Golden Mile.
Skip to step 4 and support separated cycle lanes and the removal of all vehicle traffic other than buses.
In Step 5, give your support to Concept 3 for all streets to allow space for dedicated cycle infrastructure.
In for the long haul?
Concept 1: Streamline
Closing off some side streets will be a significant improvement for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport
Repurposing parking spaces to increase footpath space by 30%
We don’t like:
No provision of cycling infrastructure anywhere along the route
Allowing general traffic on the Golden Mile will reduce safety and amenity for cyclists and pedestrians
Buses will still face significant delays caused by interference of general vehicle traffic along Courtenay Place, Willis Street and Lambton Quay
Concept 2: Prioritise
We like the same good things as Concept 1, but in addition:
Closing more side streets to make it easier to walk along Lambton Quay
Removing general traffic will make the Golden Mile a safer and more attractive place to be
Removing general traffic will make it quicker and easier to travel through the city by bus or bike
We don’t like:
Still no provision of cycling infrastructure anywhere along the route
Keeping four lanes for buses will result in a more dangerous environment for cyclists and pedestrians and could encourage unsafe behaviour from bus drivers. We don’t think this will result in a noticeable improvement in bus travel times over option 3
Concept 3: Transform
We like the same good things as Concept 1 and 2, but in addition:
This is the only concept that will allow for dedicated space for cyclists and scooters. This is especially important for the parts of the Golden Mile that are planned to be part of the city center cycling network.
Closing almost all the side streets along the Golden Mile will leave only 4 intersections along the length where cyclists and pedestrians will have to interact with general traffic (down from 15 currently).
Reducing the road width will result in a massive 75% increase to footpath space.
We don’t like:
We’re not sure if buses need to remain along the entire length of the Golden Mile. Maybe this change can be made in the future if rapid transit is introduced.
Cycling and Scooters
We think it’s a great idea to have cycle lanes along Courtenay Place and Lambton Quay to make it easy for people on bikes to travel to work and shop at business along the route. We recommend that cycle lanes are separated, both from buses and from pedestrians. This makes it rideable for people of all ages and abilities.
Other vehicle access
We don’t think regular access for vehicles other than buses should be allowed except in exceptional circumstances. If they are to be allowed, then we think it should only be between midnight and 7am so as to not conflict with regularly scheduled bus services.
Have your say on what you’d like to see from our public spaces. We encourage a “place making” approach, where people have several reasons to visit such as green spaces, seating, art, retail, bike parking, wifi, charging points.
We strongly recommend supporting concept 3 for all streets as it is the only option that will allow for the provision of cycling infrastructure along parts of the route.
Removing a lane along Willis Street in concept 3 should allow a separated space for cyclists and scooters to be created. This would be in line with the planned Central City Cycling Network. We’re not sure why it hasn’t been included at this stage of the planning.
Where the road is too narrow for cycling infrastructure to be provided we think cyclists and scooters should be allowed to travel along the route by marking the route as a ‘bus lane’. Current ‘bus-only’ lanes make it illegal to travel southbound on Willis Street or along Manners Street by bike.
Where side streets are closed access should be provided for cyclists to travel to and from these onto the Golden Mile. Bond St and Grey St are examples, although the connections could be improved.