Newtown state of mind

We’ve been reading up on the Newtown Connections project. Feedback is open until 11 December; please take a moment to have your say today.

There’s heaps of information online, from technical and background info to good ideas in comments from people who have already made a submission. Here’s what we think.

Our preference: Package C+ (the Healthy Streets Option)

To succeed, the network must be:

  • Connected – go where people want to go
  • Convenient – easy to use (avoid hills and indirect routes)
  • Comfortable – for all ages and abilities.

We don’t have a preferred option out of the three packages proposed. BUT with a little change, we support a combination of Package C routes (best balance of ‘connection’ and ‘convenience’) with Package A ‘2x 1-way’ paths (best for ‘comfort’ and safety) where possible.

Rintoul Street’s a must-do route, as the least steep route south of Newtown. It serves SWIS directly. There’s less parking impact as it runs beside Village at the Park, and Wakefield Hospital. And it provides the best connection to Newtown shops. The steep section on Adelaide Road north of Luxford Street, and the steepness of the western off-road option through MacAlister Park, rule them both out as ‘all ages and abilities’ routes.

Our preference more or less matches ‘Package C+’ identified by Regan for Island Bay Healthy Streets (love the new name!), and we think of it as the Healthy Streets Option as it best fits the objectives of that approach.

We want to stress that at this stage in the design process, our preference for a specific package is less strong than our desire to see a good outcome overall. We recognise that the viability of some combinations of route and path type depends on more detailed design to be done later.

We’ve highlighted some particular preferences:

  • Prioritise protected bike lanes
  • Yes to off-road routes, but only in addition to more direct routes
  • Avoid two-way cycleways in most cases
  • Include the flattest option
  • Mitigate reductions in parking
  • Think of the scooters!

We also have some ideas for making the most of the detailed design stage, and an overall plea: be bold!

Prioritise protected bike lanes

Wellington will see the greatest health, economic and efficiency benefits if the network both keeps people safe and also makes them feel safe. You can do this best with protected lanes. Avoid ‘on road’ cycle lanes or areas where people on bikes mix with traffic on busy main roads — this type of treatment becomes the weak link in the chain that puts more vulnerable people off giving cycling a try. Even a few metres of danger (such as through an intersection, or through a shopping area) are enough to undermine the benefit of good bike paths either side. Despite best intentions, 30km shared zones don’t work well on main arterial roads with lots of trucks and buses, such as through Berhampore shops or Newtown shops.

Good protected lanes don’t depend on good driving behaviour as much as shared zones or paint-only bike lanes. Businesses need to load goods, and in practice delivery drivers will often stop wherever is easiest. To work with this, protect bike lanes from parking and provide loading zones that are more convenient to use.

Protected intersections can help maintain comfort for cyclists and other road users. Tight spots can make physically protected bike lanes difficult to fit in. At these pinch points, and at junctions, separate cyclists from conflict with other traffic using time instead of space, with dedicated stages in the traffic light sequence.

Yes to off-road routes, but only in addition to more direct routes

Off-road routes are great, but must be in addition to (not instead of) paths that follow the most direct routes. Off-road routes are typically not the most direct, flattest, or most connected to destinations. Providing a variety of routes is important because connectivity is important! The more connections the network provides, the better the uptake will be.

If you can pave and light the off-road routes, so they become viable options all year round, at any time of day, do it! Motion sensors could allow the lighting to respond to the presence of people, saving energy when the paths aren’t in use and adding a ‘wow’ factor when they are.

Avoid two-way cycleways in most cases

We absolutely understand the desire to use two-way cycle lanes to mitigate effects on parking, but we can’t endorse this approach if it results in greater risk for people riding bikes.

Two-way cycleways don’t work well on roads with lots of intersections or driveways — the risk of being sideswiped by a driver who didn’t look both ways before crossing the cycleway is high. Two-way cycleways are also risky on steep hills, because of the speed differential between uphill and downhill cyclists. Taking both of these things into consideration, we don’t think two-way cycleways are appropriate for many of the places you’ve proposed them, such as on Rintoul Street and Adelaide Road in Package C.

Let’s not end up with stories like this on Stuff:
City of Ottawa chooses less safe option for O’Connor bikeway to make room for cars 

That said, a two-way cycleway may be appropriate for Riddiford Street, in the low-speed shopping area, as long as intersections and transitions are handled very carefully. Drivers are already used to slowing and looking both ways for pedestrians when turning into most of the side roads through Newtown, which lowers the risk for people on bikes. Lowering the speed limit to 30km/h through there would also help.

Include the flattest option

Whichever route or mix of routes you choose, include a less steep route to attract the most people. Not everyone wants to climb the Adelaide Road hill.

Mitigate reductions in parking

  • Prioritise resident parking over commuter parking — consider introducing residents-only zones, with no fee for the first while to help residents see the value before they have to start paying?
  • Create more parking spaces on council land — for example, at the top of MacAlister Park?
  • Make the hospital own its parking problem, which currently has a major impact across Newtown and beyond. Unlike most workplaces, there really is a case for the hospital taking responsibility for providing parking for staff and visitors. Hospital support for carpooling, public transport and other behaviour change (for the staff who can) could reduce demand too. Direct bike lanes are part of the solution too.

Think of the scooters!

Innovations like Onzo bike-share and electric scooters show how rapidly transport can change. Build paths that work for a variety of users, with specifications that make them resilient to change — whether that’s the next new transport idea, or an increase in mobility scooters, or simply a large uptake in biking. For example, you could provide bike parking along the route that would be convenient for finding or leaving a dockless share bike without blocking the footpath.

 

So… to finish, two overall points:

Make the most of the detailed design stage

Pay particular attention to intersections, and to the transitions between protected lanes and other types of treatments. For example, use things like hook turns and dedicated traffic signals to avoid vulnerable people having to mix with buses, filter through lanes of traffic, or wait to turn on green spots in between lanes of moving traffic.

Be bold!

Removing parking is really hard, and we have sympathy for businesses and residents who will have parking removed near their properties. But Wellington cannot become a truly resilient 21st century city without making it possible for more people to cycle and leave the car at home. Our population will continue to grow, and we have finite space — we can’t endlessly accommodate more and more cars.  

Go and have your say — it matters!

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November Meeting

Onzo - love cycling

Second to last meeting of the year!  So let’s make it a good one.  Discussion items on offer this time:

  • Bike share schemes – good idea?
    • What’s working, what’s not with the Onzo trial?
    • What about e-scooters?  On the footpath, cycle lane, or on the road?
  • Te Ara Tapere ki Pōneke – Open Streets
    • Impressions / lessons learned.
    • How regularly?  And same location?
    • Bring it back as part of Biketober next year?
  • Updates from WCC, NZTA.
  • Ideas for last meeting of the year.
  • Thumbs up, thumbs down

See you good people there.   6-7:30pm, 6 November, Sustainability Trust, 2 Forresters Lane (off Tory Street)

September CAW meeting

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Riding around Wellington is still a challenge but on the positive side the weather is improving, we have more day light and the Government is spending big on cycling infrastructure.   And we have the following discussion topics to excite you.

  • Government goodness; what has been announced.
  • Ngauranga-Petone improvements; the latest from NZTA.
  • Sharrows; your thoughts.
  • Wellington improvements; the latest from WCC.
  • Where to for CAW; updates from our planning workshop.

A short list, but other items may pop up closer to the time.

6-7:30pm 4 September, Sustainability Trust, 2 Forrester Lane.

Our August meeting: what we discussed

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  • Patrick gave a brief update on the Bicycle Mayor initiative, which was one of the topics at the 2Walk&Cycle conference last week.  This is being done in a number of places around the world to have a people’s champion push a positive message.   Some more planning needed before we look to launch this.
  • Ron explained that the Biketober initiative will be done next year when we have more time and assurance of the right support (e.g. funding).  Instead we will put our effort into making the Open Streets Wellington / Te Ara Tapare ki Pōneke event on 28 October a big success.  Ron’s partner has already come up with offers from her Ukelele and Dance groups to perform at our stand.  We also hoping to have the Dutch embassy partner with us with their stand and wooden bike.
  • We talked about issues with the buses.   A key message is that we need to do our bit to stay alert as new bus drivers are getting used to having to share the road with us.  MetLink and TranzUrban will look to join us next month for more of a discussion and explain how drivers are trained to be aware of vulnerable road users.  Not clear if drivers are allowing people to use the bike racks on all buses yet.  Hutt Council ran a facility to try out one of these racks.  Good to have this done at for example the Wellington railway station.
  • Patrick provided a few more highlights from the 2Walk&Cycle conference including our own wonderful Alastair Smith getting the well deserved “Outstanding Contribution to a Bike Friendly Future”.  NZTA talked about their shift to a multi-modal approach to transport.  Key speaker was Lucy Saunders who’s “Healthy Streets” is the discussion to have about new ways of improving our cities.
  • Volunteers are asked to help to trial the Sensible app and button to easily record people’s experiences of their trip.  Hamish McNair will be in Wellington on 24 August to give 30 of these Sensible units for people to trial over the weekend.   As he doesn’t have enough units yet to just them give away the idea is to provide as many people as possible the chance to try it out (for one ride or for the weekend).  More details in this article: Sensibel_article_wellington
  • An update was given on our monthly meeting with WCC to discuss cycling-related projects and concerns.  Items that were addressed:
    • New pedestrian islands should not put cyclists in conflict with cars because of creating a pinch point.  WCC will address this with their traffic department as there a standards to follow.
    • Councils around NZ are adopting chip seal as a cheaper option.  WCC will look at ensuring a smoother seal for key cycling routes.
    • WCC will talk to their parking reinforcement team about our suggestion that their wardens can get bikes to patrol areas like Thorndon Quay and Hutt Road.  This helps to legitimise and normalise use of bikes for work purposes.
    • WCC will look at what can be done to make the south-bound connection between Thorndon Quay and Bunny Street West safer as the recent road changes have narrowed the median strip, making it more dangerous for cyclists.  They will also check what is happening to the Bunny Street West improvements that Councillors had agreed to.
  • Some of the other items we briefly touched on
    • The government is doing a consultation on law changes about vehicles keeping a 1.5m distance from cyclists, allowing people on bikes on footpaths, improved give-way rules for intersections, and drivers having to give way to buses turning out of bus stops.
    • The online bike count is becoming more detailed, showing actual counts for specific monitoring points.
    • Advanced lights for cyclists for the Ohiro rd-Cleveland St intersection.

The high rewards of paid parking*

Wellington City Council are considering charging for weekend parking. We made a submission in support. Here’s what we wrote.

We support the proposal. We see three positive ‘behaviour change’ effects:

  • more people choosing to use public or active transport for weekend visits to the CBD
  • better availability of the existing roadside parks for those who need to drive
  • paid off-street parking becomes relatively more attractive (even if prices go up by the same amount, the comparison is no longer ‘free vs paid’).

As a result, the CBD might feel less car-dominated at weekends. Fewer drivers will ‘circle the block’ in the CBD searching for roadside parks. There’ll be less traffic to cycle amongst, and less pollution and congestion.

We’d love more support for people deciding whether to drive or walk/bike to the CBD at the weekend, for their whole journey or after parking further away. Two things that would help:

  • more crossing time and priority when crossing roads
  • better biking facilities – especially safer-feeling ways to get across the CBD.

* Title pun apologies to Donald Shoup‘s The High Cost of Free Parking, which explains why in far greater detail.

 

CAW August meeting

 

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What if we were able to vote on a bicycle mayor?  Who would we want to vote for?  Who would be that someone who could help to push for more open streets where people have priority over buses, trucks and cars?  Someone who can advocate for sensible cycling infrastructure.  Let’s talk about it this Tuesday!

  • A Bicycle Mayor for Wellington – Patrick
  • Update on Open Streets Wellington / Te Ara Tapare ki Pōneke – Ron
  • Buses and bikes, let’s be friends – TBC
  • A sensible cycling experience – Ron
  • Updates from our meeting with WCC – Linda
  • A new name / logo – Catarina
  • Behaviour change project – Hugh (WCC)

6-7:30pm, Tuesday 7 August, Sustainability Trust, 2 Forrester Lane.

July Meeting

Don’t let the cold weather put you off.
You’ll be warmly welcomed to this month’s meeting.

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A bit more of an informal and shorter agenda this month

  • Suggestion for topics to discuss
  • Updates from meetings
    • Regular meeting with NZTA
    • Discussion with the Hon Julie Anne Genter, Associate Minister of Transport
  • How can we ensure more diversity?
  • Planning for Biketober
  • Bike count
  • Rating our Councillors and Mayor

Tuesday 3rd July, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, 2 Forrester Lane

Notes from June meeting and AGM

  • A smaller crowd due to the bad weather.  
  • Our main topic was Making Berhampore, Newtown & Mt Cook safer for people on bikes
    • Important everyone has a say; we need to use our channels to get people to make their individual submissions.  Simply state why these improvements are important to you.
    • People outside this area can make a submission.
    • Good to see the number of submissions already made, including from kids!
    • WCC have published their stakeholder list but will keep updating this as other stakeholders come forward.
    • Important to the process empowers people in the community to say what ‘good’ looks like for their neighbourhoods and contribute options to make streets / areas feel better.
    • Bikes Welcome are looking how to activate Newtown-Berhampore as Bikes Welcome district.
      • Jo Clendon needs support to talk to businesses / stakeholders
      • Also looking for ideas for promotion during Biketober
      • A reminder that each  of us can refer a business to Bikes Welcome
      • Businesses can think of cyclists as “Wallets on wheels”
      • Idea of a #bikeselfie at businesses
  • We had some other quick topics
    • Alex presented some exciting artwork concepts to help rebrand CAW
      • Great timing as we need to swing into action to adopt the new “Cycle Wellington” name that the committee agreed last year.
      • Opportunity to launch the new name / brand at the Open Street event in October.
      • The Committee will look at the concepts and confirm with Alex.
      • We need to plan for example the branding changes in Facebook.
      • Catarina kindly offered to lead this work with Jill’s help.
    • Pablo discussed the Te Ara Tapere Open Streets event in October
      • Pablo is currently representing us at the planning meetings
      • Alongside a number of other organisations such as Les Mills, Living Streets Aotearoa, GWRC, etc
      • Event will be held for half a day only and will be part of a possible wider BikeTober event, similar to what is held in Christchurch and Auckland.
      • The route is a whole street closure between Post office square and Jesse Street.  Done to avoid undue impacts on bus routes and car traffic.
      • Other routes like Lambton Quay were discussed, but concluded that we give this event and the route our full support.  If it is a success, it gives license to do more and possibly other places.
      • We talked about how it ideally can eventually become a more regular larger central city closure similar to other cities.
      • Idea of activation space that people can use on the day to do performances; does not need to only be ‘official’ activities.
      • Pablo will use Facebook to ask for ideas.
    • Our submission on the Wellington 10 year plan
      • We supported the overall intent but would like to see more urgency
      • Not clear if the final decisions have been made yet – announcement still to come?
    • Updates from WCC about cycling related projects
      • Bike count showed mixed results – weather impact on some days but high numbers recorded on the one day of good weather
      • Permanent counters will help give a clearer picture without weather effects – planning to publish weekly / monthly counts online on the http://www.bikethere.org.nz website.
      • New path at Oriental Bay: we submitted that the path needs to be wider. Will this lead to conflict if crocodile bikes use the new path? To be monitored.
      • Hugh working on behaviour stuff.  Action Ron: Invite Hugh to discuss at next meeting
      • People are biking earlier and later along Thorndon Quay to avoid peak traffic
      • Noted the council investigated routing the bike and walking paths behind new petrol stations along Hutt Rd – not an option as this space would need to be purchased and would be more open to vandalism
      • All Hutt Rd exits will have judder bars
      • Council will look at danger of people exiting The Rigi onto Glenmore St without stopping.
      • Lots of project stuff happening in the background; will start becoming more visible.
  • 17:05 Our AGM items (25 mins)
    • The year that was
      • Busy with working groups and submissions
      • A number of wins, but also some losses because of car parking issues
      • Go By Bike Day taken over by WCC.  Good turn out despite weather and less publicity
      • Fantastic Love Cycling Awards event thanks to Jill’s amazing effort
    • Financial status presented by Linda and accepted.
    • Membership status presented by Sridhar.  Clear that new people getting involved are not always aware of the being able to sign up as financial members.
    • Roles
      • Proposed and formally agreed the committee and chair for the coming year
      • Alastair stepping down as secretary
      • Ron will take on role of secretary alongside continuing as the Chair – Sridhar will help with some tasks eg PO Box
      • Rest of the committee happy to continue as is
      • Nick joining the committee – has a focus on environmental law and planning
    • Our focus for the year ahead
      • Rebranding ourselves
      • Continued of focus on working groups and submissions
      • Drive for more paying members and more diverse membership
      • Using the good fit with the new Government transport policy to push our message for better, safer cycling infrastructure
      • Ensuring that LGWM supports the call for a focus on public and active transport
  • Other items
    • James talked about new bikes racks on buses;
      • Will roll out gradually – immediately for routes with new buses, then over the next few months where existing buses are used.
      • Metlink and GWRC will advertise online when this becomes available on what routes and how to use.
      • Will have a test rack for people to practice with (at the station?) and will be on show at the October Open streets event.

June Meeting & AGM

CAW 2018 AGM

Due to Queen’s Birthday weekend we’ll move our monthly weekend to the second week of June.  Below are the items on the agenda.  Quite a bit to go through so please help by keeping discussions to a minimum and focused.

  • 18:00 Introductions (10 mins).  And for new people in particular:
    • What brings you to this meeting
    • Any specific concern and how you may want to help our work
  • 18:10 Headline topic (30 mins):
    • Making Berhampore, Newtown & Mt Cook safer for people on bikes
  • 18:40 Quick topics (25 mins):
    • Ideas for the Open Streets event in October
    • Our submission on the Wellington 10 year plan
    • Updates from WCC about cycling related projects
  • 17:05 And our AGM items (25 mins)
    • The year that was
    • Financial status
    • The committee and chair for the coming year
    • Our focus
  • 17:30 Close of the meeting

12th June, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, 2 Forrester Lane

MAY MEETING

Some big ticket items to discuss this month

  • A couple of wins in the bag with Oriental Bay and Evans Bay Parade
  • But what about Thorndon Quay
  • How to change our culture to make it work better
  • Submissions on the Regional Land Transport Plan
  • Consultations on the go, e.g. WCC 10 year plan
  • Other projects in the pipeline
  • AGM next month
  • Open Streets happening in October
  • Thumbs up, thumbs down

6-7:30pm, 1 May, Sustainability Trust, Forrester Lane.   Invite someone new along!