What are the views of candidates for the Greater Wellington Regional Council on cycling issues? We sent a questionnaire to all the candidates in the Wellington Constituency of the GWRC. This is similar to a questionnaire we sent to candidates for Wellington City Council.
We asked them:
- Do you ride a bike: what for (recreation, commuting, trips to the shop, etc), how often?
- What best describes your attitude to riding a bike: “strong and fearless”, “enthused and confident”, “interested but concerned”, or “no way no how”?
- Should we encourage more bike trips as part of Wellington’s transport network?
- What should GWRC’s annual cycling budget be (excluding central government funding)? $1 million, $5 million, $10 million?
- Do you support slower speeds in the CBDs of cities in the Wellington region?
- Do you support removal of parking if necessary to provide cycleways, for example on the Hutt Road cyclepath?
- Do you support providing bike racks on buses?
- What do you see as the three most important cycling projects to implement in the next year in the Wellington region?
- Do you think electric assist bikes are a good way to encourage more cycling?
- Do you have any other comments on cycling in Wellington?
Here are the candidates responses. Thanks to all these people for taking the time to respond.
Do you ride a bike: what for (recreation, commuting, trips to the shop, etc), how often?
Roger Blakeley: Occasionally, for recreation.
Paul Bruce: I ride a bike daily to commute from home to meetings and work. When I can, I also enjoy returning home via some of the great mountain bike tracks near Pol Hill. I also occasionally go cycle touring.
Keith Flinders: I don’t ride a bike in Wellington, and think anyone who does on the traffic streets has a death wish. Wellington streets generally are too narrow, cycle lanes inadequate, and then there is the pollution that affects cyclists more than vehicle drivers who create it. Pollution that will be greatly added to when the trolley buses are replaced with hybrids in 2018 and with hybrids that will not have much of a range on their batteries. Cycle ways separated from traffic, a different argument altogether and great to have.
Sue Kedgley: Yes I ride for recreation, at the weekends.
John Klaphake: Yes, I do, and ride reasonably regularly (except for the past 4-5 months – injury!). I ride for recreation.
Chris Laidlaw: Yes, I have a bike at the regional council and use it to get around
town. I also cycle at the weekends in the Wairarapa
Ian McKinnon: We ride our bikes in Waikanae for pleasant (and appropriate to age!) recreation but we don’t ride in Wellington city (we live in the CBD and don’t see it as being safe); we spent several years of my career in west London and our bikes there were a common form of transport for us – around the playing fields,; shopping in the High St and in Windsor; Jenny to her teaching job in Slough; and even to social functions about Eton – but always just (gently) riding …. and that is a point of contrast to many of the cyclists in Wellington (as I’ve discussed with Patrick M and others).
Daran Ponter: Yes, approx. once a month usually – on trails in regional parks. i.e. mountain biking.
Sam Somers: I actually to be honest haven’t ridden a bike since my college days, but in my teenage years, myself along with my friends use to use it for going to college or recreation.
Russell Tregonning: I ride my bike(s) on all of these listed tasks ( & pleasures). I ride most days of the week ( varies).
What best describes your attitude to riding a bike: “strong and fearless”, “enthused and confident”, “interested but concerned”, or “no way no how”?
Roger Blakeley: “enthused and confident”.
Paul Bruce: I have been using a bike for 90% of my trips for over 50 years from when I was 10 years old to now, so I guess that makes me “strong and fearless”.
Keith Flinders: 40 plus years ago when I rode a bike, but not in Wellington, strong and fearless. Age increases ones’ awareness of danger.
Norbert Hausberg: strong and fearless
Sue Kedgley: Interested but concerned.
John Klaphake: Probably describe myself as enthused and confident.
Chris Laidlaw: Enthused and confident.
Ian McKinnon: As above, we just enjoy riding pleasantly in the safe environment of Waikanae AND much more frequently and for a variety of purposes in the UK – but always just from point A to point B, and just cycling – means of transport (not recreationally).
Daran Ponter: Interested but concerned.
Sam Somers: I would regard myself as, “Enthused and Confident, ” and if I owned a bike now, it would be a option I would consider using to get around things, like paying for parking in the CBD.
Russell Tregonning: I am ‘enthused and confident’
Should we encourage more bike trips as part of Wellington’s transport network?
Roger Blakeley: Yes. We should make more of the “transport hierarchy” in the Wellington Urban Growth Strategy: 1 Walking, 2 Cycling, 3 Public transport, 4 Private cars. The same hierarchy is used by Vancouver when they set funding and land use priorities! This hierarchy should be strongly supported by GWRC and other councils in the Wellington region because of the benefits of walking and cycling, for example the shift in mode share away from private cars to active modes and public transport has health benefits and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. I am advocating for GWRC to set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (this is a much bolder target than our commitment at the COP 21 in Paris in December 2015 of a 30% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030), and provide leadership with other councils in the region, and to other regional councils in NZ, and to the Government. Greater priority for cycling will be an important part of achieving that target.
Paul Bruce: Bike trips need to be strongly encouraged, reducing the number of cars and associated pollution, increasing space for people and green areas and creating a more friendly environment.
Keith Flinders: Not on city streets unless segregated from traffic.
Norbert Hausberg: YES more cycling and safer cycling throughout the region
Sue Kedgley: Yes, cycling is an integral part of Wellington’s transport network, and so it’s essential we make it safer to cycle in the city; improve the cycling culture of Wellington and have a network of separated safe cyleways around the city. We also need to integrate cycling more closely into our transport network by putting bike racks on buses and trains.
John Klaphake: Yes, I am pretty sure that is the sentiment that has come through from the “GetWellyMoving” survey. How you encourage is another matter – removing impediments to cycling.
Chris Laidlaw: Of course. GWRC is doing everything it can to help open the way for more
cycling, both commuter and leisure.
Ian McKinnon: I don’t object to that but the safety (and courteous) aspect would have to be resolved – in view of a number of Wellington’s cyclists not just (gently) commuting but concurrently using it for recreation purposes – lycra suits at 30+km. I remember being with Patrick and a few others on the Waterfront one morning, giving ‘courtesy’ cards to cyclists (and encouraging bells) as they sped through anxious pedestrians. Many pedestrians, particularly the elderly and those with impetuous young children, are really very concerned in the shared space with the approach (commuting / recreationally) of many of Wellington cyclists.
Daran Ponter: Absolutely, cycling is an important commuting option. It replaces both cars and public transport!
Sam Somers: With the adequate infrastructure, I would say it should be encourage, at this point, we need to spend money on way to separate cyclists from mainstream traffic, now all cyclist aren’t like it, but from experience a few will take the whole lane of a busy road traveling at half the legal speed limit, and removing the ability for cars to pass with a minimum, 1.5 meter clearance safely, some of these areas include the new Island Bay Cycle Lane, where instead of riding in the new lane, they ride 1 to 1.5 meter from the parked cars in the middle the road, to make a safe overtake, you would require to move into the oncoming lane to pass.
Russell Tregonning: Definitely yes—Biking has major economic, health and environmental benefits. More bike trips means more of these advantages. We have a climate change emergency on our hands. We have to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for transport— the largest contribution to emissions in Wellington city. We have an epidemic of life-style disease related strongly to physical inactivity.
What should GWRC’s annual cycling budget be (excluding central government funding)? $1 million, $5 million, $10 million?
Roger Blakeley: $5M. One of the four priorities in the GWRC 2016/17 Annual Plan is “Increasing the use of public transport along with walking and cycling”. It should of course be recognised that the Wellington City Council provides capital and operating budget for cycleways, with a funding profile for Cycling Improvements with NZTA of $37.249M over 4 years.
Paul Bruce: There is a huge need for a network of joined up cycle ways, so that people can choose to cycle to work, their shopping trips and for recreation in the city. This will initially require significant expenditure, but we should bite the bullet and get it done now. Annual cycling budget of $10 million would be the minimum.
Keith Flinders: Considering the present economic climate cycle groups are doing exceptionally well with funding. I don’t see that any expenditure increase is affordable by GWRC rate payers presently. Have you tried for commercial sponsorship ?
Norbert Hausberg: As I stand for the first time I can not comment on the budget side.
Sue Kedgley: $5 million. Since we don’t invest in building cycleways (NZTA does) $1 million on planning and coordinating cycleways in the city, and making cycling safer in the city.
John Klaphake: Of course that will require money. At this stage I’ve got no idea about what that should be, or what can be achieved with what money.
Chris Laidlaw: We don’t have a separate budget for cycling. it forms part of a variety
of workstreams; ( bikes on trains / buses etc and our participation in
NZTA/GW/WCC planning around the various transport corridors.
Ian McKinnon: I have insufficient knowledge to comment on this.
Daran Ponter: $10 Million (i.e. collectively all agencies do not spend enough)
Sam Somers: I would support a $1 – $2 million. This would be used to maintain Cycleways on property owned on GWRC land.
Russell Tregonning: $10 million of your choices. More if you gave me the option.
Do you support slower speeds in the CBDs of cities in the Wellington region?
Roger Blakeley: Yes. Slower speeds in CBDs of cities in the Wellington region will improve
safety and encourage the mode shift to greater walking and cycling.
Paul Bruce: Yes, absolutely support 30km/hr within the CBD, as this will improve the potential for conflict between pedestrians, public transport and cyclists. I would also exclude private vehicles from public transport corridors.
Keith Flinders: This has already happened in some areas although traffic was generally moving slower than the new limits prior.
Sue Kedgley: Yes 30km This speed would make it safer for everyone including cyclists.
John Klaphake: Yes, generally speaking it is hardly realistic to travel through at the maximum speed anyway.
Chris Laidlaw: Yes
Ian McKinnon: As above, in view of many of our cyclists both commuting and recreationally riding I think it would be difficult to enforce this … I just don’t think there can be those shared spaces in popular cycling areas such as Oriental Bay / the Waterfront / etc.
Daran Ponter: Yes – a universally low speed (i.e. let’s just have one slow speed instead of different low speeds in different areas)
Sam Somers: I am personally a fan of Variable Speed Limit, which is what issued outside schools and Wellingtons Motorway. I would support non main Arterial Routes to have a lower speed limit, like Lambton Quay, Featherston Street, Victoria Street, Willis Street. I wouldn’t support lower speed limits on Vivian Street, Ghuznee Street, Whitmore Street, Any of the Quays, Cable Street, Wakefield Street, or Cambridge/Kent Terrace, as this routes are classed as Arterial Routes.
Russell Tregonning: Yes—slower speeds for cars means more safety for all road transport users—and not just in a linear way, but exponentially (i.e. Impact energy absorbed by the victim of a crash is exponentially related to the speed i.e. twice the car speed means 4 times the energy absorbed at impact ( & therefore the injury/death rate), 3 times the speed means 9 times the energy absorbed etc.
Do you support removal of parking if necessary to provide cycleways, for example on the Hutt Road cyclepath?
Roger Blakeley: Yes. In the short term the Hutt Road Cycleway serves as the Great Harbour
Way for this section, and it must be safe and comfortable for walkers and cyclists.
Paul Bruce: On street parking should be removed from most arterial routes, and where absolutely needed, provided in new parking buildings. However, the Hutt Road cycle route is problematical, in that there are significant conflict points with so many commercial outlets along the route. So, the alternative seaward side route must also be developed from Ngauranga gorge to Kaiwharawhara and hence via Aotea Quay to the city to provide an alternative. This would be expensive and would need an elevated cycle path past the InterIslander and along part of Aotea Quay, but would be safe with few conflicts, and would lead to a big increase in cycling numbers, justifying the cost. Please advocate for this as well.
Keith Flinders: Cyclists need to co-exist, not totally impact on the rights of vehicle users. Where do you plan to have vehicles belonging to workers and customers park if the present Hutt Road facility is taken away. I suggest you present a business case if you want to get all on board with your schemes.
Sue Kedgley: Yes
John Klaphake: I am sympathetic to that – yes.
Chris Laidlaw: Yes
Ian McKinnon: No – I’m sure the cyclists are aware that many retailers are really struggling now, with on line shopping, etc. As a letter to the paper indicated (and as I know personally from being a Lambton Ward Councillor), no car parks, retailing falls away even further … and with it the employment of people. We holidayed in the Netherlands for a number of years and know that part of the world quite well … I find the comparisons some people make with ‘commuting’ cycling there and in Wellington quite misleading.
Daran Ponter: Yes, subject to active consultation with all affected parties.
Sam Somers: It depends on the location of the cyclepath. I put a submission, regarding the Hutt Road Cyclepath, opposing the removal of car parks from the footpath and placing them on the left lane of the Hutt Road making the Hutt Road have a T2 lane System. My solution to that scenario, was to use the disused rail corridor, behind all the shops, not requiring the removal of carparks and reduce the risk of being hit, for motorists coming in and out of the shops. I would support a proposal to make a dedicated 2-way cycle lane like what they have in Beach Road in Auckland done 1 side of the road. I would also support running the cycleways on the inside of angle parks, to reduce the risk of cars reversing blindly into cyclists.
Russell Tregonning: Yes—an essential act to create more the space for safe cycle lanes is to reduce the road parking of vehicles—done recently in European cities with dramatic increase in safety for cyclists ( e.g. Copenhagen, Amsterdam etc etc).
Do you support providing bike racks on buses?
Roger Blakeley: Yes. This encourages integration of active transport modes with public transport, encouraging reduced use of private cars and reduced vehicle emissions.
Paul Bruce: Cycle racks on buses are important as they give new cyclists the confidence to try out cycling to work. They also provide a back up when something goes wrong and you have to return late, you get sick, or the weather turns foul.
Keith Flinders: No
Sue Kedgley: Absolutely and my colleague Paul Bruce has succeeded in getting a trial for bikes on Wellington buses. Once the trial has been evaluated I hope bike racks will be rolled out on city buses, so that cyclists have the option of taking public transport for part of their journey.
John Klaphake: Very much so!
Chris Laidlaw: Yes; I initiated the review of this.
Ian McKinnon: If that could be achieved and was safe, I would support it – I would be happy to see a report from Officers early in the next triennium (if I make the cut!) – would it slow the loading of commuter busses down too much though? I don’t know.
Daran Ponter: I was one of two regional councillors who advocated for the inclusion of bike racks on buses in the Regional Public Transport Plan. This has resulted in the recent trial on Newlands buses, soon to further trialled on a complete Northern suburbs bus route. To be successful bike racks need to be on all buses and all routes 24/7 – we will get there.
Sam Somers: I support it in principle, and this would be a great option, especially when the weather is fine in the morning and bucketing down with rain at night.
Russell Tregonning: Yes—bike racks on buses and trains is an essential way to increase the connectivity of cycling and public transport.
What do you see as the three most important cycling projects to implement in the next year in the Wellington region?
Roger Blakeley: As agreed at the WCC Transport and Urban Development Committee on 11 August 2016, the refresh of the Wellington City Urban Cycleways Programme ( WUCP) includes: 1. Progress the Great Harbour Way/Te Aranui o Poneke (GHW) by upgrading the Miramar Cutting to Cobham Drive shared path and developing the Evans Bay Parade/Oriental Bay Parade to Waitangi Park corridor to connect the Wellington CBD to the east 2. Implement the Eastern suburbs proposals (including a connection from Kilbirnie
to Newtown) 3. Work with the community to develop pragmatic options for the Southern corridor connecting to Pukeahu in the CBD
Paul Bruce: The Hutt cycle way must be top priority. Next would be completing the safe route from Island Bay to the city. The construction of the seaward Petone to Nguaranga Gorge cycle/walk way should be brought forward to next year so that a complete route Hutt to Wellington is available by 2018.
The GHW section around Mt Victoria should also be completed, as it requires little structural change.
Keith Flinders: None that come to mind are on my radar, but try and convince me if I get elected.
Norbert Hausberg: Maybe you would like to read my facebook entry about the car free area in central Wellington a few days ago, Embassy theatre to Parliament. An easy project and hope to get that through if elected.
Sue Kedgley: The Hutt cycle route; the around the bays cycle way, and the Petone to Wellington cycleway.
John Klaphake: The route around the bays.
Chris Laidlaw: Great harbour way route from Petone, The Hutt Road cyclepath and a
clearly delineated route from the railway station/port area around the
Ian McKinnon: Separation of pedestrians and commuting cyclists on some of the main cycling routes (like the Sydney Harbour Bridge); greater sensitivity by cyclist in the Willis St area (on footpath; on road; on footpath … depending on the red lights!); better guidance on the distance between cyclist and car – you can’t achieve that in some of Wellington’s streets – and frustrations / anger arises (from both parties).
Daran Ponter: Island Bay (resolution of) and extension through Berhampore, Eastern suburbs, Hutt Road.
Sam Somers: The Harbour Cycleway, which Councillor Jo Coughlan recently [proposed]. A improved Hutt Road Cycleway working for all. Revamping of the Island Bay Cycleway Disaster. Over the next 3 years I would like to see a Petone to Ngauranga Cycleway started as well, since we need a safer routes between Petone and Ngauranga.
Russell Tregonning: The 3 projects I favour are—1. Councils to engage with cycling experts and health professionals to formulate a widespread public education programme to educate the public (including councillors) of the benefits of cycling and physical exercise in general (akin to the drive to reduce smoking for health, as physical inactivity is as dangerous to health as cigarette smoking—leading to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers etc). 2. Decrease parking on footpaths according to the law (e.g. Thorndon) and on roads– as soon as possible 3. Rapidly engage with the public to allow the up-take of central govt. funding for more cycleways.
Do you think electric assist bikes are a good way to encourage more cycling?
Roger Blakeley: Yes. E-bikes make cycling more accessible to more people, and encourage more people to cycle. They allow adults of all ages to rediscover the joy of cycling.
Paul Bruce: Electric assist bikes extend the range of ordinary bikes. They also allow seniors to continue cycling. They also good for allowing less fit people to try out cycling, and providing a real alternative to the private car.
Keith Flinders: No, apart from those with disabilities.
Sue Kedgley: Yes, especially suitable for our hilly topography.
John Klaphake: Probably? Is it really an issue??
Chris Laidlaw: Yes.
Ian McKinnon: I’m not in a position to comment.
Daran Ponter: Yes
Sam Somers: Definitely support Electric Assist Bikes, as this will make a journey up Wellingtons steep hills easier.
Russell Tregonning: Electric bikes have great potential to increase cycling in Wellington—their use will reduce the effects of hills, wind and the age & physical fitness of the cyclist. Their use still gives major health benefits.
Do you have any other comments on cycling in Wellington?
Roger Blakeley: I spent an afternoon in Copenhagen in 2012 cycling around the city’s cycleways. They have had an amazing shift in the culture of the city: from a car-dominated city like Wellington in the 1960s to now a greater number of trips by cycle than by private car (since 2005) – in a city with a severe winter climate. We can learn from their designs
of separated cycle lanes and separate traffic lights for cyclists. Wellington has the highest active mode share of any city in NZ, but we should be encouraging the citizen-wide transformation that Copenhagen has gone through to become a cycling city!
Paul Bruce: Creating a safe cycle network around the region and in Wellington city will be a game changer, with the potential to reduce the traffic on roads significantly. It would also humanise the city. It allows a significant reduction in our personal carbon footprint, improves our fitness and at the same time saves real dollars. It would allow a village atmosphere to be recreated in the city. I’d like to mention my advocacy work with the Regional Council which has centred around work 6 to 9 years ago with respect to the GHW section Petone to Nguaranga, Kaiwharawhara to city via Aotea Quay cycle paths (WCC), and putting cycle racks on the GWRC long term plan 6 years ago with the result that is happening now. I would like to acknowledge Cycle Aware and thank you for your fantastic work.
Norbert Hausberg: A green painted strip on the road is not a cycle track in my opinion. We have to encourage those “end categories”.
Sue Kedgley: If we are to remain a modern, ‘livable,’ progressive city that is attractive to young people and families etc, it’s essential we invest in upgrading cycle routes and making it safe and easy to cycle in the city. It’s essential,too, that we install a network of safe, separated cycleways around our city. Cycling is enormously beneficial for our city, as it has no emissions, supports our transition to a low carbon economy, reduces congestion and improves the health and well-being of Wellingtonians. We need to make cycling more attractive by getting rid of polluting diesel buses and switching to electric buses so that cyclists are not exposed to carcinogenic diesel fumes. We also need to encourage Wellingtonians to switch to non-polluting electric cars.
John Klaphake: Pretty keen on cycling, but have to say that cycle ways in all situations are probably not the right answer. Where they can work well, that is good. Otherwise, we need to encourage courtesy on the roads and remember it is a shared resource.
Chris Laidlaw: We need more subtle and inventive ways to shift the narrative away from
cycling being an irritant to cycling becoming a distinct part of the
solution to a wider congestion problem.I’m keen to be part of that.
Ian McKinnon: 1. We should accept there is a different style / approach to cycling here than in the European cities which are often quoted. 2. We want safety for both cyclists and pedestrians and we don’t want motorists to get frustrated and take risks (including with their reputation)with cyclists. 3. Obviously motorists have to be cautious with cyclists; cyclists must also be cautious with pedestrians. 4. On popular cycling routes we must create separation of cyclists and pedestrians.
Daran Ponter: Cycling has grown enormously in Wellington, thanks in part to the tenacity of dedicated cyclists and to improvements in cycle access. But we have much further to go till we get to a point where cyclists can feel truly confident and safe in their journeys – where cycling isn’t a battle to be engaged in on a daily basis.
Sam Somers: I would like to see Education for both Cyclist and Motorist so they are aware of one another. I would like to see signs in places where roads are narrower, reminding Cyclist to ride in single file, including The Esplanade between Island Bay and Lyall Bay.
I would like to see Bylaws, along with improves cycleways, requiring cyclist to use the cycleways during peak times when traveling on Routes such as the Hutt Road, or Cobham Drive.
Russell Tregonning: My experience trying to encourage my patients to cycle more for their musculoskeletal & general health has been dominated by their fear of cycling on our roads. They perceive a major danger due to crashes with motorised traffic. Therefore we need more safe cycle lanes in the city which are physically separated from motorised traffic. Councils have a responsibility for the health of the public enshrined in law. They also have climate change plans to satisfy. It’s now time for Councils to take firm action. The public will only accept this if they see the benefits to themselves & society at large—this the challenge. Education of the public and a firm resolve by our leaders after real consultation the answer.