Kilbirnie & Evans Bay consultation tips

CouttsTeWhiti

Here are some top tips for your feedback on the Kilbirnie and Evans Bay bike path projects. Get yer submissions in folks, by 5pm Monday 11 December! There are great plans in the mix. We think some changes would make things even better. Help make it so! Support the plans and ask for these tweaks…
http://transportprojects.org.nz/

Kilbirnie

Turning from Coutts into Te Whiti looks dangerous. Provide for safe two-stage (hook) turns. Avoid the need to merge with traffic next to parked vehicles.

CouttsTeWhiti

The roundabout on Tirangi Road is a big gap in 2 paths that will affect both routes. Consider a Dutch-style protected intersection, or at least use raised tables and crossings – to slow traffic and give a safe way to cross that follows pedestrians’ desire lines.

Tirangi

Roundabout

Evans Bay

Then, for Evans Bay (and this looks REALLY GOOD overall but the devil is in the detail):

The 2-way path narrows to 2.0m for a few long stretches. 2m with no runoff area is too narrow! Please keep the width to at least 2.5m by one of:

  • Widening the footpath with a small cantilever section
  • Narrowing the buffer kerb where there is no parking
  • Narrowing a road lane

KerbsideParking

The transitions at the start and end could be better – dooring risk if riders leave the road for the path opposite Carlton Gore Rd, and a bit of a do-or-die moment opposite NIWA if someone’s driving behind you.

OrientalPde

EvansBayPde

…and lastly, at Kio Bay the road widens just before retained car parks – a pinch point hazard for roadies (and for drivers!). Extend the wider buffer around to those parks to avoid a sudden pinch point.

We hope Phase 2 (on round to Cobham Drive) follows quickly, because Greta Point is not nice to ride through at the moment.

Kilbirnie to Newtown

Crawford & Constable looks great in a pragmatic way. Tweaks: Add a raised table across Alexandra Rd entrance, & extend protection past the previous driveway to stop people cutting the corner & slow turning traffic. Paint the bike lane all green so it’s obvious!

Crawford

And in general:

  • Planned ‘Quiet Streets’ like Te Whiti and Yule need measures to slow or reduce traffic (eg no-through-road bollards).
  • Use raised tables and sharper corners at side streets to slow turning traffic.
  • Add more pedestrian crossings.

[You’ll spot a few streets missing – there are a few where our general comments are enough, or where everything in the proposal is ka pai already 🙂 ]


[Note: this post was originally made on FaceBook by James Burgess]

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Southern Ward candidates views: active transport & cycling

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WCC is holding a by-election for Southern Ward Councillor. If you’re in the Southern Ward, we encourage you to vote. To help you, we asked Southern Ward candidates three questions relating to active transport and cycling:

[A] In order to tackle the problems of carbon emissions, congestion, and obesity, we need to make more trips by cycling, walking and public transport. Do you agree, and what would you do in the Southern Ward to achieve this?

[B] How do you feel about shifting the balance between parking and movement of traffic (including bicycles) on Wellington’s roads?

[C] Do you agree with reducing speed limits to increase safety in urban areas?

We present their responses, with some edits for brevity and clarity, below. We encourage you to read their responses, and their candidate profiles. However for the really time challenged, we’ve provided a very subjective rating as to how candidates’ responses reflect support for active transport and cycling: penny farthing penny-farthing-2744762_960_720sm, 10 speedBHPROForceMedOrgSm, and eBike e-bike-green- small.

Vicki Greco and Merio Marsters did not respond.

Fleur Fitzimmons [10 speedBHPROForceMedOrgSm]

[A] I would support a balanced approach to investment in transport infrastructure for the future. We need to invest in roads, cycleways, walking tracks and public transport which meet the differing needs of all members of our community. Walking and cycling is important and I’d like to ensure that we encourage people to do it when possible. I agree that we must focus on reducing carbon emissions and that investment in different modes of transport plays a role in that. There is also a role for the Council in supporting households to do their bit to reduce emissions, this could include programmes in schools where children are encouraged to learn to cycle. I want us to ensure that we un-block the Basin Reserve which is an important issue for the Southern Ward and which requires significant investment including from central Government.

[B] My main focus is investment in transport infrastructure to ensure that all modes are fit for purpose, congestion is reduced and that safety for all users is a priority. The lessons of the Island Bay cycleway are that there needs to be significant discussions within the community including with businesses and schools before decisions are made and I support the Council learning these lessons in future projects.

[C]  Yes, if the evidence in the specific case points to that occurring.

Laurie Foon [eBike e-bike-green- small]

[A] I agree! One of my overarching commitments is to keep pushing for greater, safer transport choices. I would work with Living streets Aotearoa to find new ways to promote walking-friendly communities and get more people out walking and enjoying public space. I would find incentives for our local schools to keep promoting walking buses to get kids to school. I would explore Bike Bus initiatives to support those who are keen to commute by bike but are unconfident on the road or unsure of the best route. I would investigate the possibility of an electric bike subsidy, grant or incentive as Norway has done. I would develop a strategy on how to increase Wellingtonians’ use of public transport further. We are already some of the highest users of public transport in the country – how can we do better?
And of course I support the implementation of safe cycleways that will enable all ages and stages to choose a more active mode of transport.

[B] Arterial roads are mainly for moving people and freight efficiently. Where space allows, provide on street parking. Any changes to street design needs careful community engagement and to be well designed. Recognise when parking is important to businesses and work toward solutions for this.

[C] Yes I agree with reducing the speed limits to increase safety in urban areas – especially around our schools with traffic lights like Berhampore and Newtown.

Rob Goulden [10 speedBHPROForceMedOrgSm]

[A]  Yes I agree with this. I will actively promote other forms of transport such as buses, cycling and walking. I have always done those things myself.  I have voted on Council decisions to support those means of transport including an increase in cycling budget.The nature of my personal work doesn’t allow the use of those modes all the time as I sometimes  have to use alternatives with the difficult hours that I work.

[B]  I am not so concerned about the balance of parking but more where those carparks are located which should be by the curbside.

[C]  I agree with lowering  speed limits to increase safety and reduce both the impact and severity of accident s, that might occur in urban and rural areas. We all know that speed causes more damage and more serious injuries and damage to people and property.

Don Newt McDonald [10 speedBHPROForceMedOrgSm]

[A] Climate sorely vexed. [We’re going in the] wrong direction. Need to restore climate of the planet. Ao moana awa. [Solutions include] Buses, Paika cycles for ages 11-71.

Mohamud Mohamed [10 speedBHPROForceMedOrgSm]

[A]  Firstly I am a total supporter of the need for exercise.  Those of my children who are old enough to cycle do so regularly and are very keen cyclists.  While I do not cycle myself I am a keen walker.  I am also a firm believer in the need for an efficient and effective public transport network preferably electric whenever possible.

[B]  I recognise the need to cater for all our citizens including those that use cars for whatever reason.  I am supportive of more sharing of private motor vehicles and would consider the possibility of preferential parking for those who do so.

[C]  In some areas, such as Newtown, I support the idea.  Safer roads and greater use of bicycles and public transport should reduce the number of areas where there is the need to reduce speed limits.

Thomas Morgan [penny farthing penny-farthing-2744762_960_720sm]

[A] I am wanting to ask the community if commuter bicycling in Wellington should be banned i.e. none, at all!  Having said that I’m an ardent fan of cycling and spent most of my youth doing it and think it’s great and a great way to stay fit and get about, just not on Wellington streets. I’m very much in favour of creating purpose built cycle tracks and cycle ways away from roads as an alternative.  I’m all for anything that makes the activity safer and certainly can’t see how the Island Bay cycle way, of which I got a bit fixed, ever saw the light of day.  Although there may well be some (eventually) well worked cycling corridors in the city a tremendous number of other residential feeder roads and streets are completely unsuitable by either being too steep or narrow or both. To me that makes the wider concept so unworkable for so many people that it is essentially unsuitable to pursue the idea for the Wellington city population.

Laneways – Wellington’s secret bike network

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Eva St – one of Wellington’s “secret laneways”

While Wellington’s Cycling Framework promises a network of protected cycleways through the city there are already a lot of cycle friendly routes that we can use to navigate the CBD. These are the laneways – small connecting streets between the busy arterial streets. Although they may not be as direct or as fast as the arterials, they can feel a lot more comfortable, particularly if you’re new to city cycling. This post reveals three of these “secret” routes – there are plenty of others to discover.

Note that some of the routes are on private property, or are primarily for pedestrians. Be considerate, and be prepared to get off your bike and walk. While the laneways are quiet, the routes may involve crossing busier roads – take care!


Waterfront to Marion St via Opera House Lane and Leeds St. From the waterfront, cross Jervois Quay at the traffic lights by St Johns Bar. Cross the Michael Fowler carpark to Wakefield St and cross to Opera House Lane, just by the pedestrian overbridge. At Manners St, cross Te Aro (Pigeon) Park to Dixon St, and pick up Eva St which leads through the Hannah Factory Laneway to Leeds St and Ghuznee. You can turn right to Cuba St, or left to Marion St (check out the coffee and bike bling at Bicycle Junction)

DunlopKaro

Vivian St to Karo Drive via Dunlop St and Wigan St. To the west of the VUW Architecture School, Dunlop St leads down to a parking area that exits onto Wigan St, handy to Lighthouse Cuba with its bicycle corral. Wigan St takes you to Abel Smith St. Turning left and then right takes you on to Kelvin Grove which has a ramp at the end leading on to the Karo Drive shared path by Third Eye Tuatara Brewery, leading east to Pukeahu park, or west (with a crossing to the south side at Cuba St lights) to the Aro Valley and Brooklyn.

BullerAro

Ghuznee to Aro Valley via Buller and Palmer. Although Victoria St has bike lanes, some people find the multiple lanes of traffic daunting for heading south from the CBD. A quieter alternative is to head up Ghuznee to Buller St, just west of the motorway. This leads to Oak Park Ave which has a shared path heading towards the Karo Drive shared path at Willis St, or if you’re heading for the Aro Valley, a short detour through a car park at Inverlochy Place, crossing Abel Smith St to a narrow lane to Palmer St and the Aro Valley Community Centre (If you want to know what really goes on in this innocent seeming complex, check out Danyl McLauchlan’s Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley!). Through the park, you can get on to Aro St at Garage Project Brewery. You can also access this route from the Karo Drive shared path.

That’s just three possibilities. Next time you’re planning a route, have a close look at the map for laneways that might go where you want, or just keep your eyes open for interesting alleyways that might lead to where you want to go.

CAW October meeting report

Mall cycling, Takamatsu
Cyclists and pedestrians share space in Japan – but it’s not quite so simple in NZ

The meeting on Tuesday 4 October was well attended, including some new faces. We discussed:

  • Updates on WCC cycling projects
    • Island Bay. A good compromise, particularly the support from 13 councillors.
    • Hutt Road. Good progress at both ends on reconfiguring the path as separate cycle and walk ways. Parking is being progressively eliminated, including the encroachment at the BMW dealership. It would be good if the footpath was more clearly demarcated from the cycleway. Off peak road parking is proposed to replace some of the parking “lost” from the cycleway. There are plans to improve the section from Aotea Overbridge to Tinakori Rd intersection. There is a need to improve the Ngauranga intersection. WCC are requesting feedback by 16 October.
    • Thorndon Quay. WCC is delaying making changes on the main section between the motorway overbridge and Davis St, due to business parking concerns. However there are plans for cycle lanes north and south of this area. Need to emphasise that parking availability is what matters, not number of parks. Even if parking spaces are reduced, parking availability can be controlled by e.g. time limits, charging or possibly booking systems (for example for medical centres on Terrace). This is still a high priority route for CAW.
    • Central City. New cycle lane proposed on Featherston between Bunny and Whitmore. Living Streets Aotearoa (LSA) prefer that bikes use Whitmore to get to waterfront, rather than Bunny, which should become a shared space. Crossing proposed for PO Square to help access the waterfront. Some improvements to Kent/Cambridge Tce at the Basin Reserve are being proposed, but involve using footpaths as shared paths, which LSA opposes. WCC are requesting feedback by 16 October. Maybe next time the Basin Reserve is closed to bikes because of a cricket match, there should be a temporary cycle lane using one of the road lanes around the basin, to see how serious an impact this has on traffic flow.
  • Bikes Welcome. Jo Clendon updated us on this initiative, to make businesses aware of the benefits of catering for bikes. The website has an online directory of bike friendly businesses, and an interface to ask for bike parking.
  • Shared paths: we had a good discussion with Paula of Living Streets. There are differences between (a) footpaths – pedestrians only (b) shared paths where cyclists and pedestrians need to coexist (c) shared spaces – roadways with minimal demarcation and signage, where vehicles, bikes and pedestrians negotiate. On footpaths, pedestrians should be able to meander without having to look out for others. Shared paths pose a danger to cyclists: they are more vulnerable to cars at entrances, and send a message that bikes should not be on the road. Where there are separate cycle and walkways, such as Hutt Rd and the revised Island Bay Cycleway, it is important to demarcate cycling and walking, for example by grade difference or vegetation. Low or hard to see barriers can be a trip hazard. More scope for shared spaces in Wellington, e.g. lower Cuba St.
  • Roll on Cycling Awards – aiming for February 2018. Please contact Ron <ron.beernink@gmail.com> if you’d like to help organise these annual(ish) awards.
  • Thumbs Up/ Thumbs Down
    • Ron: Hutt Rd cycleway, car behaviour better
    • Ben: what’s happening about Wakely Track? Appears to be delayed while WCC does more work on proposal.
    • Alex: Should we press for reverse angle parking? This also has disadvantages: best solution is to remove angle parking altogether.

 

Bike share: Uber for bikes?

Mtshare bike outside WP
Mtshare bike

Bike share is a key way to get more people on bikes. Starting in Lyon, France in 2005, there are now hundreds of schemes around the world. Bikes are left at locations around a city, and users can register to get a code to release a bike and drop it off at another location. In Aotearoa, NextBike has pioneered bike share in Auckland and Christchurch, and NZTA is getting involved.

What about Wellington? With a flat, compact CBD, Wellington seems ideal for bike share, but so far it hasn’t happened. That is until July, when a private startup Mtshare, inspired by bike share schemes in Shanghai, began leaving bikes around the CBD. A smartphone app (for android or iOS) lets you register and get a code for the combination lock on a bike.

Screenshot_20170921-102310
Mtshare app, showing available bikes

Mtshare is a “dockless” bike share scheme – bikes can be left anywhere, not just at a purpose built docking station. This has the advantage that you don’t need to find a free space on a docking station to return a bike, but the disadvantage that bikes can end up in non public places, or in some cases create obstructive heaps of bikes at popular destinations.

How does it work in practice? I fired up the app outside the central library. The map showed the locations of available bikes – none at the central library, but three close by in Cuba St. However two of these were not on the street. A closer look at the map showed that the bikes appeared to be located in apartment buildings – Mtshare say they’re working with customers to persuade them not to appropriate bikes for personal use. The third bike was conveniently parked on a bike rack, but unfortunately the app gave me the wrong code to unlock the bike.

The app showed more bikes down at the railway station – a convenient location, so I headed there and this time the bikes were accessible, and I was able to get the correct code for a lock. The bikes have a small frame and 507mm (24″) wheels, and the seat height is fixed. Most adults would find them uncomfortable to ride for any distance, but at 1.7m I found it OK for a ride along the waterfront, and indeed it felt a bit like rediscovering BMX as a kid. Mtshare has plans for larger bikes, with adjustable seats.

The helmet attached to the bike was a bit small for me. Some people don’t like the idea of using a helmet that other people have used, but to me it seems no different from using the headrests of airplane seats.

The bikes have stands, which means that they can be left anywhere, even if there isn’t a fixed bike stand. There is a bell but no lights. The next batch of bikes will have baskets.

At the moment, there is no charge for using the bikes, and Mtshare would like to continue this, instead supporting the service through advertising. Similar schemes have also been mined for location data.

With more bikes, and better sizing, Mtshare could be a good way for bike-less people to experience the convenience of biking. And with good management we can hopefully avoid the downsides that have appeared in some other places.


see also…

Eastern cycle routes – it’s not about you

Weka-A
Is this what you’d like to see on Evans Bay Parade?

WCC is consulting on a raft of proposed cycle routes in the eastern suburbs. There’s not much time left to give feedback about these. If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re pretty comfortable about biking. But the proposed routes are not about you: they’re about attracting new cyclists who may be intimidated by  a stream of cars and buses behind them as they pedal up Crawford Road to get from Kilbirnie to Newtown, for example. If the new routes get people doing more trips by bike, we reduce congestion and carbon emissions, and improve our health, benefiting everyone.

There are 25 different routes proposed, each with a couple of options for implementing them, arrived at by community consultation. While this seems a lot to sift through, there are clear images of the different options, and it’s easy to give online feedback. If you’re time challenged, just give feedback on the routes that are important to you. I’m not going to tell you which options to choose (though in general option A will be a reasonable outcome), but here’s some things to think about as you give feedback.

  • Will the option encourage more trips by bike? There’s no point in implementing the route otherwise.
  • Is it an 8-80 route – in other words, will people from 8 years old to 80 years old be comfortable biking the route? Obviously some proposals (for example Crawford Rd) may not pass this test, but will still be worth doing because overall more people will be encouraged to bike.
  • Protected bike lanes are more likely to encourage new users than bike lanes next to traffic, or sharrows. However on “quiet routes” such as Wilson St in Newtown, and Yule St in Kilbirnie, a high level of protection may not be necessary.
  • In general, one way cycle lanes on each side of the road are preferable since bikes will always be travelling on the correct side of the road. However in some cases, such as Evans Bay, a two way cycle lane on one side of the road will work because the cycle lane crosses few entrances or intersections.
  • Where a bike lane runs by parked cars, is there an adequate buffer zone so people can alight from a car without intruding on the cycle lane? Hint: 0.3m (the length of a shoe) is not enough.
  • Are the driving lane widths safe? In general driving lanes should be about 3m, or over 4m. Lanes 3-4m wide tempt drivers to speed and overtake bikes even though there’s not enough space to do so safely.
  • Could the route be improved by blocking or discouraging through motor traffic? This might be a possibility for Wilson St for example. This could also benefit residents bothered by rat-running commuters.
  • Parking is naturally a concern. However the important thing is that people can find a place to park when they need it. Even if the number of car parks decreases, tools such as time limits, residents parking zones, etc can ensure that parks will always be available to those who need them.
  • It’s preferable that pedestrians aren’t disadvantaged by narrower footpaths.
  • Will the growing numbers of people using eBikes affect the uptake of the route? For example the Crawford Rd route is a bit steep but is a breeze on an eBike.

So have a look at the proposed routes, and give your feedback. Now is a good time, but definitely by 17 September (2 October for Miramar Avenue (Shelly Bay Road to Tauhinu Road). All going well, this time next year we’ll have a bunch of new people biking in the east!

CAW September meeting

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Evans Bay – can we do better than this?

While some of us have headed off to warmer cycling environments, there’ll be a keen group to discuss Wellington cycling issues.

  • CBD-Oriental Parade-Evans Bay-Miramar routes – consultation opens Monday 4 Sept
  • Newtown improvements
  • Hutt Road
  • Island Bay Cycleway – not much news until consultation results etc are made available
  • Cycling issues in the national election
  • Thumbs up/ Thumbs down

Tuesday 5 September 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, Forrester Lane (off Tory St).

Does “taking the lane” hold up cars?

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Taking the lane at an intersection

Should you “take the lane” – ride in the centre of the road lane – or ride on the left hand side of the lane? The Road Code says “you should keep left, but not to the extent that it compromises your safety” for example by riding in the door zone of parked cars. The Code says you should take the lane when approaching a roundabout or intersection, and that it’s acceptable to take the lane when the road is narrow, there are parked cars, or if you’re turning left at an intersection (to avoid being cut off by another vehicle turning left).  But we’re sometimes reluctant to take the lane, because we feel we’re holding up following vehicles.

In fact, taking the lane often doesn’t make any difference. I recently came across a good diagram (from the UK, which is why there’s the odd mixture of metric distances and imperial speeds) that explains why.

OvertakingBikesTakingLane
Overtaking Bikes [@lstwhl]
To pass safely, the Road Code says a car needs to be 1.5m to the right of a bike, which is about 0.7m wide. Most cars are about 1.8m wide. So overtaking requires at least 0.7+1.5+1.8=4m of road space. But most urban lanes are less than 4m, so a passing vehicle almost always needs to go into the next lane over, meaning that it doesn’t matter if the bike is at the edge of the road, or taking the lane.

The diagram also makes the point that riding single file doesn’t necessarily make it easier for vehicles to pass a group. But if you are riding in a group, it is polite to be considerate of following drivers.

Taking the lane is a powerful way of ensuring your visibility and safety. As a rule of thumb, if you’re being passed too close, you should take the lane next time you’re on that piece of road.

Does taking the lane hold up cars? Yes, but generally no more than if you rode on the left hand edge, and the delay is usually less than that caused by the queue at the next intersection. And if bikes taking the lane is causing problems for traffic, there’s often a simple solution – put in a cycle lane.

How contrary is contraflow?

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Proposed contraflow lane in Cuba St

When WCC unveiled plans for bike lanes going the opposite way on one-way streets (“contraflow lanes“), there was a collective intake of breath. The first one way street was designated in 1617, but so shocked the London citizenry that it wasn’t until 1800 that the next one was established.  However now we’re so used to one way streets that going the wrong way on a one way street seems unnatural, even for the nimble velocipede.

One way streets are a hassle for bikes. In a car there’s a reasonable payoff for having to go around three sides of a square, but on a bike one way streets add significantly to travel time and reduce safety by increasing the number of intersections to be negotiated. Many cities have used contraflow lanes to increase the permeability of the city for bikes, and encourage bike use. Auckland and Christchurch have introduced contraflow, and I’ve ridden contraflow in cities as different as Cape Town and Tokyo. In France and Belgium, one way streets are by default contraflow for bikes.

There’ll need to be a bit of adjustment – pedestrians stepping out into the street will need to be reminded to look both ways, but the green “bike lane” treatment and arrows should do this.  The contraflow lane in Cuba is next to parked cars, but bike riders and car drivers will be facing each other so the risk will be low.

Ideally contraflow will be introduced on a number of streets at once, so people get used to the concept. As well as Cuba St between Ghuznee and Vivian, contraflow is being planned for Lower Cuba Street between Manners and Wakefield, Bunny Street West, and Willeston Street between Willis and Victoria. It would be good to see contraflow on more one way streets, for example Jessie St, Dixon St, Waring Taylor St and Stout St.

CBD_contraflow
Possible contraflow lanes in the CBD

Contraflow isn’t a silver bullet by any means – it will help confident cyclists rather than attract novices, and the proposed contraflow lanes are “quick wins” rather than part of a city wide network. But the changes will help people on bikes to traverse the CBD more efficiently and make biking more attractive. If you’d like to see this happen (along with some other quick wins) give WCC your feedback by 11 August. Contraflow is enabled by TR77, TR78, TR80 and TR82; other bike friendly measures are in TR79 (Grey St bike parking), TR81 (Rugby St bike lane) and TR106 (Wakely Rd shared path).