Why another engagement process on the Island Bay Cycle Way, and why should Cycle Aware Wellington support this?
Many lessons have come out of the Island Bay Cycle Way situation and everyone agrees that the process could have been a lot better. A recent NZTA-commissioned report by consultancy firm Morrison Low recommended that the Wellington City Council re-engage with the community.
At the last WCC Transport & Urban Development committee meeting the councillors agreed that “Re-engagement with the Island Bay community commence as soon as practical and be community-led with the detailed engagement approach to be developed by representatives from the Island Bay Residents’ Association, local businesses, Cycle Aware Wellington and interested stakeholders together with council.” David Chick, WCC’s Chief City Planner, spoke at a couple of recent meetings of the Island Bay Residents Association and said that this is about “starting with a clean sheet of paper”.
Does this mean that the cycle way could be scrapped? While most cyclists and CAW would not want that, many locals see that as the only acceptable outcome. We need to put the polarised views to the side. The re-engagement / community consultation is about working together to determine the right solution. This means using an engagement process that asks the community what it sees as a vision for Island Bay, looks at the various options and determines what will work best to achieve the right outcomes.
The are some important questions that need to asked. What are alternative / additional safe and enjoyable options to encourage more people, young and old, to bike? Which options will make it better for walkers as well as the people who use buses? What design options will make sure that local businesses don’t suffer? How can it be made to feel be safe for everyone as well as looking good? The solution needs to work for today, as well as future generations.
There is no doubt that there will be challenges ahead. We need to ensure that all the different voices are heard including children, unemployed, retirees, as well as those who want to ensure sustainable solutions. The needs and ideas from all perspectives are important, and it should not be about majority versus minority views.
A vacant shop at 132 The Parade will be converted to a community space where over the next weeks / months people. Everyone is invited to go in and discuss ideas, look at what design options others have come up with, and add their own ideas. There will be volunteers on hand to help with questions and to guide people. We ask CAW people who live or have in an interest in Island Bay to pop in and contribute to the discussion and ideas. Listen and see what others have to say, and share your thoughts.
Cycle Aware Wellington needs to get behind this, not just to help to ensure the right outcomes for people who want to cycle and who live in Island Bay. More importantly, this is an opportunity to establish a community-led approach when looking at changes like these, it is our chance to help to guide the Council with design options / ideas. We are part of the community and together we can make it work better.