Thorndon Quay, Biketober and more – report of the CAW April 2018 meeting

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Associate Transport Minister Julie Ann Genter presents a special lifetime award to Jan Nesbit at the Love Cycling Awards

Here are some of the things discussed at the April Meeting:

  • Love Cycling Awards: Very successful, raises the bar for future events! Great atmosphere, TV3 coverage. Diversity of people attracted. A credit to the hard work and efficiency of Jill Ford.
  • Thorndon Quay. There have been around 400 submissions on the interim solution between Davis St and Mulgrave St. Oral submissions include informal consultations with councillors on 5 April, and formal submissions to the council as a whole on 12 April. The interim proposal sets a precedent for replacing angle parking by safer parallel parking; but the painted bike lanes don’t meet NZTA guidelines. Currently there is poor enforcement of the clearway.
  • Newtown connections are “next off the rank”. Bike Newtown will be revitalised to give feedback. There is a suggested route from Wilson St/Owen St around the back of the Hospital that could provide an interim solution for people coming from Kilbirnie to the CBD, but currently involves some steep steps.
  • Ron met with NZTA. Melling to Petone is expected to start in 2018, concern about connections for hill suburbs and Alicetown. Ngauranga to Petone is still on the horizon, need resource consent for reclamation. 2021 start. In the mean time, need to keep the SH2 shoulder clear and bike friendly.  SH58 from Hutt to Pauatahanui is being widened, with a slow lane for cyclists etc on the narrow section from SH2 junction. (An existing alternative is to turn right out of the Manor Park railway carpark onto Mcdougall Grove, then pick up the Old Haywards Rd past the transformer station)
containers narrowing shoulder, SH2 Petone/Ngauranga
Containers blocking SH2 shoulder at Ngauranga on ramp
  • Ngauranga interchange: WCC is widening the cycle path under motorway and around to stock entrance/bus stop.
  • AGM – in June, ideas for speaker/event welcomed. Your chance to volunteer for the committee!
  • We feel a need for a “Voice” for CAW – someone representing people we campaign for younger, female, Interested but Concerned. Some names suggested.
  • Membership. High visibility events such as the Love Cycling Awards attract people to our web site and FaceBook Group (Instagram is suggested to communicate with younger people). But our challenge is to get people to join as financial members. If you’re not a member, sign up now – it’ll be the best $50 you spent on cycling!
  • Biketober – Krissie and WCC are working together, hope to include an open streets event from PO square to Pukeahu.
  • Thumbs up, thumbs down
    • Tory St one way – part of a VUW architecture project It’s Tory Time which will result in a shared space for cars, cyclists and walkers. [Stop Press: the shared space has been opened up – looks good and an example of urban activation as promoted by Ellie]
    • Ellie suggests making Molesworth St contraflow.
    • Mark gave big ups for John Randal’s running a very successful Good Friday Criterium.
    • Ellie saw good news in the new Government Policy Statement on transport favouring cycling, and IPENZ Christchurch backing cycleways.
    • Ride for HELP are doing a presentation on their Tour Aotearoa ride, 1730 11 April Sustainability Trust.
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CAW April Meeting

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Hopefully you’ll all be energised after the Easter weekend for another exciting meeting!  On offer for discussion this time:

  • How to stay safe along Thorndon Quay during the darker days?
  • Updates from WCC and NZTA meetings
  • AGM – put it on your agenda for June
  • Having a new voice for CAW
  • Ideas for increasing membership
  • Biketober and Open Streets – promoting cycling
  • Tour Aotearoa slideshow
  • Thumbs up, thumbs down

Usual time & place.   6-7:30pm, Tuesday 3 April, Sustainability Trust, Forrester Lane.

 

 

CAW March 2018 meeting notes

Life

We had a busy meeting, covering a number of submissions, and a quick bike tour of Bogota and Europe courtesy of Jill. Here’s the details:

Jo talked about some CAN activities: Annual CAN Do 29 July Palmerston North preceding the 2WALKandCYCLE conference (these events are a great chance to catch up with fellow advocates), and the Vision Zero campaign (fill in the survey if you haven’t already).

Biketober. Krissie talked about a proposal for a spring month of bike activities, Biketober. This was very successful in Christchurch and Auckland last year. Krissie will talk to WCC about their spring bike promotion plans. CAW broadly supportive, can act as sponsor for grants etc.

Membership. We discussed how we could increase involvement, through both financial membership (which helps support CAN) and social media.

Submissions.

Love Cycling Awards. Nominations close 13 March, Jill welcomes more nominations, volunteers for event on 27 March.

Ngauranga Gorge. We discussed the issues with cycling this route to/from the northern suburbs. Ben has had close calls with vehicles turning across his path into Glover St, and has met with WCC staff. However there aren’t easy answers.

Cycling facilities in Europe (and Bogota). Jill shared her observations from her time away. She managed to participate in the Bogota Ciclovia, which has been the model for similar events around the world. In England she was based in Bristol, the home of SusTrans, which has created a nationwide cycle network. She also managed to tour Europe from Finland to Slovenia. Here is Jill’s presentation.

And more consultation: Oriental Bay and Kilbirnie

As well as Thorndon Quay, WCC is consulting on two other cycling projects: a short stretch of cycleway on Oriental Bay between Herd St and the Freyberg Pool, and a two way cycleway on Evans Bay Parade south of Cobham Drive. Please take a few minutes to read about these, and make some comments by 19 March. Have a look at our suggestions for individual submissions. If possible, draw on your own experience of using these routes.

Here’s our thoughts:

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Oriental Parade: The two way path in the proposal is… a bit narrow at 2.5m for such a busy route (Christchurch’s Cycle Design Guidelines recommend 3.5m, with a minimum of 3m) . And for what, to keep both angle parking and a median strip? Which doesn’t seem all that bold. The parking in question mostly has a TEN HOUR limit (yup). On the city’s premier waterfront boulevard. Why not just set better time limits and pricing, so it’s available for some better purpose than commuter parking. And the median? It makes it easier to get cars into and out of garages. BUT the proposed bike path is separated from the walking path at last. It just seems a pity to have a solution that is compromised by the needs of cars rather than people.

EvansBayTrimmed

Evans Bay Parade (south of Cobham Drive) has a proposed path which is pretty good. Serves the school well, links to the waterfront path. As with the Oriental Bay bike path, it’s a bit narrow for a two way path. Needs better visual separation, and maybe a centreline. Needs a better crossing on Cobham Drive though – get rid of a slip lane maybe? The stuff around the new bus hub looks like a nice way to deal with a tricky road layout. Lots to like there.

March meeting

Safety for people on bikes cannot be compromised

Already getting well into the year, with another action-packed agenda

  • Thorndon Quay: a compromised solution, compromising safety?
  • Love Cycling Awards: show your love for this great event
  • “But we’re not Copenhagen”: a perspective on cycling infrastructure in Europe
  • Ngauranga gorge & interchange: a continuing challenge
  • Helping CAN & CAW to help us: increasing our membership numbers
  • What’s happening: WCC, NZTA and other updates

Be there to be part of the movement.   Tuesday 6 March, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, Forrester Lane.

Thorndon Quay: a u-turn design

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Last year the Wellington City Council initiated a project and established a community stakeholder working group to find options for creating safe cycling along Thorndon Quay as part of the Urban Cycling Programme.   The various people on the working group represented local businesses, residents, walkers and cyclists.  Together they came up with a vision that would change Thorndon Quay from the current day ugly industrial looking commuter route to a boulevard-style destination.   A number of objectives were agreed to enable that vision including avoiding impacting on the local businesses, but also ensuring a safe traffic design.   The working group were on the same page and getting close to agreeing design options.

That is till the business representatives decided to approach the Council directly because of concerns that the parking changes for the design options would in fact impact on their businesses.  After escalating this to a couple of the Councillors, our mayor was brought into the conversation.  Justin Lester decided to pull the plug on the project (and effectively the working group) and instead go with a very watered-down design that would have painted cycle lanes at the south end of Thorndon Quay.  

The cycling representatives from the now-defunct working group met with the Mayor to discuss their concerns and understand Justin’s motivations.   This was what came out of that meeting, and our observations of that conversation:

  • Justin said that Aotea Quay was an alternative option that should have been considered by the project.  (That despite the fact that the project was asked to clarify this a number of times, and that David Chick – WCC Chief City Planner – categorically confirmed that Aotea Quay was not a consideration as it would be years away if it ever got agreement from the different authorities along that route. For more details, see the WCC document Why Thorndon Quay.)
  • He had a concern that the design options would not get the backing from the majority of his Councillors.  (It is understood that he never talked to his team to get confirmation of this).
  • He was concerned that this could turn into another Island Bay situation.  (Understandable, but this project was following a much better community engagement approach, and the working group had made good progress).
  • He felt that the Council was making great progress with the other cycling improvement projects, and did not want to put all of this at risk.  (A fair statement).

The key messages that we left him with is that his decision does nothing to address the risk of vulnerable road users on this dangerous route, but also that his action undermined the trust in the engagement process.

The Council has recently published the revised proposed design for Thorndon Quay for public consultation.   The design only deals with the section of road between Davis and Mulgrave Street.   A key aspect is that it changes the angle parking to parallel parking along the Westpac Stadium side of the street.   You can see the proposed design and get access to the online feedback form on this WCC transport project page.

Thorndon Quay hero image

Meanwhile the cycling representatives who were part of the working group have set up a “Fix Thorndon Quay” Facebook page to encourage people to have their say.   But also to highlight that this revised design proposal does nothing to address the risk to vulnerable road users along the busiest and most dangerous part of Thorndon Quay, between Davis Street and Tinakori Road.

With the darker and wetter winter months, the danger from cars pulling into or reversing out of the parking is unacceptably high.  The angle parking forces cyclist on to the main road in the path of cars, trucks and buses; particularly with a number of cars now too long for the parking space.   There is a real risk of a cyclist being seriously hurt or killed.   

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But also for walkers this part of Thorndon Quay poses a significant challenge and risk, with the lack of pedestrian crossings.  Often we see people dashing between angle parked cars, cyclists and traffic on the road.  Again an accident waiting to happen.

Pedestrian crossing TQ

We have waited for years for the Council to resolve this situation.  We don’t want to wait longer.  Even if an alternative route via Aotea Quay would become a reality, then Thorndon Quay would still be used by a high number of cyclists and walkers as the most convenient route to get to their work or to get to the local shops.

We urge people to submit their feedback to the Council.  Tell your own story, how the proposed design may help to address your concerns, and what concerns it does not address.  Guidelines on writing your individual submission can be found here.

Have your say!

Writing an individual submission

The Council relies on advocacy groups but also individuals to make submissions on design proposals like for cycle ways.  Below are some tips on how you can put together an effective submission.

  • Introduce yourself and explain why the particular route or location is important to you personally, e.g. for your daily commute, or getting your kids to school.
  • Give your story that best describes the key concerns are that you experience today, e.g. cars pulling in and out of parking spaces.
  • Explain how the proposed design will help to address your concerns.
  • Detail what concerns it does not address, or what issues the proposed design may create for you.
  • Give your view of what more can be done to make this a great solution not for you right now, but for the future and for others.

Below is an example.  Don’t copy and paste, but use this to create a submission that is uniquely yours.

“My name is Shirley Bessy.  I can be classed as a concerned but keen cyclists, and I use Thorndon Quay most workdays as the most direct route to get to or from my work on The Terrace, and sometimes to visit one of the shops on Thorndon Quay.   Cycling has helped me enormously with my fitness.

Thorndon Quay is the most dangerous part of the route.  I have had a few too many close calls where cars pull in and out of car parks, and each day I am really worried that someone will suddenly reverse out of one of the angle car parks and force me into the path of other traffic.   I am sure that if I have an accident or too many more close calls that I will stop cycling for my commute.

The proposed Thorndon Quay changes will go a little towards making it safer.  It will avoid the illegal angle parking along the clearway that currently continues to happen between the VTNZ building and the lights by Mulgrave streets.  The road side painted cycle lane will however probably do little to make my commute in the event any safer as drivers will no doubt still pull in and out of car parks without looking for cyclists.

The proposal sadly does nothing to make the main part of Thorndon Quay any safer and I am really disappointed that I have to continue to risk my safety on the evening commute back home, particularly during the darker and wetter winter days when I’ve come closest to having an accident and feel really worried.

I am desperately waiting for a Thorndon Quay that is safe enough for less confident cyclists like myself.  I understand that the Council is considering Aotea Quay as an alternative option, but I would not use that as my commute option as it would add considerable distance and time to my journey.  I am not sure why the Council would want to force me to do so, when in fact in should encourage cycling by providing a network of convenient routes.    I see Thorndon Quay as an important connection for people commuting between Wellington and the northern suburbs and the Hutt Valley.”

It does not need to be perfect.  The important thing is that you have your say!

February meeting report

Go By Bike Day: A successful, well run event, though numbers seemed a bit down, perhaps due to the public holiday, and lack of publicity through banners etc. But thanks to WCC for taking on this annual event. CAW needs to think about how to get more members signed up – topic for future meeting.

CAN Survey: Jill reminded us that Cycling Action Network is launching a major road safety campaign, the first stage of which is a survey of cyclists views. Take a few minutes to respond, if you haven’t already.

Love Cycling Awards: nominations close 13 March: quite a few nominations, but Jill would like more. Event will be 27 March at Bicycle Junction, tickets a mere $10. As well as support from Bicycle Junction, Garage Project and WCC are sponsoring.

EBikes in open spaces: Joel de Boer from WCC talked to us about the trial of allowing eBikes on selected tracks. Joel is preparing a report for Council, and welcomes feedback. People were generally relaxed about eBikes on appropriate tracks, feeling that they should in general be treated as ordinary bikes.

Lessons from the Wisconsin Bike Fed: Michelle is visiting NZ and talked about initiatives undertaken by the Wisconsin Bike Fed. They have good relations with police, who are active in enforcing laws relating to cyclists, including a mandatory 3 foot passing rule. They visit workplaces and do presentations on green lifestyles, including biking. We discussed getting Wellington Police more involved in cycling safety.

Zero Carbon Act. Ellie spoke about this campaign to make zero carbon emissions a legal requirement. There’ll be a ride from Pomare to Parliament on 1 March.

WCC infrastructure initiatives: Ron met with WCC. The modifications to the Island Bay Cycleway are expected around May. Council is hearing submissions on the Kilbirnie connections in local groups: James and Eleanor are going. The Hutt Road shared path is expected to be largely complete by March, and there are plans to extend the shared path to the northern end of Thorndon Quay.

Bits and Bobs: Peter suggested that Strava could be used to get more insightful bike statistics. Jill talked about how horrible the John St intersection is, but we’ll probably have to wait for the Berhampore cycleway project to resolve this. Peter (the other one) agreed with residents who oppose shared paths.

CAW February Meeting

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Welcome to our first CAW meeting for what will be an exciting year with lots of cycling related initiatives happening around the city.  But also challenges.  So some of the hot topics for this month are

 

 

  • How did Go By Bike Day go?
  • Celebrating cycling: the upcoming Love Cycling Awards
  • e-Bikes on tracks around Wellington
  • Share and be Aware: a Wisconsin perspective
  • Lessons learned from 2017
  • Giving CAW a fresh voice
  • Holiday raves, thumbs up, thumbs down

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday 13 February, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, Forrester Lane.

Let’s Get Wellington Biking

The Let’s Get Wellington Moving project has four scenarios out for consultation. The outcome of the project will shape Wellington’s transport network. Have your say before the 15 December deadline! Yes, that’s 15 December, pretty soon huh. Get to it!

Here’s our take on what needs to be in the mix for a city that moves people around effectively and supports comfortable and convenient biking to and through the CBD.

TL;DR version:

  • FIT’s ‘Scenario A+’ is a great start: LGWM’s scenario A plus light rail to link major destinations AND introduce congestion charging.
  • Add in a downtown biking network of protected cycleways.
  • Back it up with links on quieter traffic-calmed streets and safe, quick ways to cross SH1 and other arterial roads.
  • Make a bigger deal about how biking can contribute to transport and placemaking.

FIT’s ‘Scenario A+’ is a great start

We were disappointed to see the LGWM scenarios are ‘more or less change’ options instead of a range of different approaches and priorities. We want to see a higher priority for PT and active transport than for driving.

We shouldn’t have to suffer Moar Roadz to earn decent biking, and indeed any improvements to arterial roads will just feed more traffic into the CBD’s other streets, making biking worse and offsetting the ‘biking bonus’ of the expensive roading schemes. BUT! LGWM can mix and match aspects of the scenarios.

FIT and Congestion Free Wellington have proposed a ‘Scenario A+’: LGWM’s scenario A plus light rail to link major destinations AND introduce congestion charging. Good stuff: high-quality public transport through the CBD makes a good carrot. To build ridership, it must have full priority over other traffic. Congestion charging is the stick to match. Rather than loosening its belt, Wellington can give road priority to tradies and others who need to drive through the CBD at busy times. Just a few percent reduction in driving would make every day a ‘school holiday dream commute’.

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Add in a downtown biking network of protected cycleways

LGWM mentions improving biking, but doesn’t set out an inspiring plan. We want an obvious, all-new CBD biking network with a consistently high level of service. A grid of north-south and east-west connections that:

  • don’t mix with traffic (sharing with buses can be OK for access but doesn’t give a good level of comfort for key routes)
  • don’t rely on the waterfront (great for cruising but not a proper transport link)
  • feel more efficient than main motor traffic routes (less waiting) so you get the benefits of concentrating bike traffic where it’s best catered for.

Some CBD streets are narrow; others nice and wide. Narrow streets aren’t necessarily a problem for biking when you have a good plan of which streets are prioritised for which modes of transport. A proper network approach should decide which CBD streets to prioritise for biking.

We’ve set out some ideas for a primary and secondary biking network for the CBD.

Here are some obvious candidates for the primary network (key routes with protected bike lanes; could be 1-way, 2x 1-way, or 2-way):

  • Kent and Cambridge / Adelaide Road
  • The Quays
  • Taranaki St
  • Featherston & Victoria St
    (Featherston St could hold a 2-way protected bike lane, freeing up Lambton Quay for access, walking and public transport; Victoria and upper Willis Sts complement each other and a variety of configurations of the two streets could work)
  • Oriental Parade and Evans Bay
  • a connection from the Mt Vic Tunnel to Cobham Drive.

…and some candidates for the secondary network (supporting routes with protected bike lanes or traffic reduction and calming):

  • Willis St
  • Courtenay Place and Dixon Street
  • Tory Street
  • The Terrace
  • links to Massey and Victoria universities
  • connections to the primary network and the waterfront
  • links to suburbs:  Brooklyn, Aro Valley (inc access to Polhill mtb tracks).

The focus here is on the CBD – other links like Berhampore-Newtown-CBD will play an important role too. And other transport decisions could create their own opportunities, opening up new corridors or reducing the volume of traffic on busy roads to open up biking possibilities.

Make biking links using quieter traffic-calmed streets

Managing traffic speeds and volumes on specific other streets would provide quieter biking links to complement the main biking grid.

Scenario A mentions managing speeds, but traffic volumes needs to be low as well to share comfortably – probably too low for most CBD streets to work well as key routes. Unless… you remove through-traffic from some side roads while allowing access. For example, during the construction of Pukeahu war memorial, upper Tory Street was a quiet bike-friendly street. Now it’s back to a rat run. Do we really need through-traffic driving through the park?

Provide safe, quick ways to cross SH1 and other arterial roads.

Most walking or biking trips into or out of the CBD involve a long wait to cross SH1 or the quays’ arterial roads (remember how the urban motorway was supposed to free up traffic there?). For a short trip, a couple of peak time waits can double your journey time. Long waits sever communities, and encourage risky crossing by people who are in a hurry.

Walk/bike underpasses would speed up crossings and extend connections beyond the CBD to connect to the main suburban routes. Compared to road underpasses, walk/bike underpasses are smaller and much cheaper. And they are lower effort to use and less exposed than bridges.

Candidate spots: Cobham Drive, Wellington Road, Vivian Street, and Karo Drive at Taranaki, Victoria and Willis. In other places, crossing-signal timing changes beyond today’s motor-prioritising guidelines could reduce the worst-case waiting times.

Make a bigger deal about how walking and biking can contribute to transport and placemaking

To recognise and measure the benefits of mode shift to biking and walking, they should be quantified in scenario comparisons – not just how many people are biking as a ‘nice thing’, but the transport and health contributions that makes too. We’d also love to see more in the scenarios about how different the CBD will feel and how much nicer a place it could be to, well, be in.

More commitment and detail on the biking and walking, and models that better recognise induced demand, would help make the case for a thriving Wellington that isn’t choked in traffic.

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