Thank you to our cycling Mayor


How wonderful it has been to have had a Mayor who cycled the talk!  Celia Wade-Brown has done a fantastic job at helping to set a vision and strategy for Wellington that ensures strong support for cycling and walking.  She helped to secure a$35 million budget to help deliver the Wellington Urban Cycling Plan that will make cycling in Wellington safer and more pleasurable for people young and old.  And Celia set a good example, cycling to work each day on her trusty electric bike.  How many Mayors around the world (other than in Copenhagen or Amsterdam perhaps) would have cycled to the airport to meet the United States secretary of state?  She helped to normalise the image of cyclists – moving us on from being seen as the Lycra brigade.

Cycle Aware Wellington would like to sincerely thank Celia Wade-Brown for her good work that she has done.   We wish her well for the future.

Personally, I admired Celia’s strong vision and had she kept her hat in the ring, I would have voted again for her on that basis.  Unfortunately projects like the Island Bay cycle way tarnish her legacy.  She was ultimately accountable for the impact that it has had, but it must be pointed out that she wasn’t solely responsible.  That sits collectively with the Council and the WCC operations.  Hopefully the lessons learned will translate in improved and different ways of working, including better engagement with the community over any proposed changes.

It now falls on a new Mayor and a significantly changed group of Councillors to keep the ball rolling and deliver on the strategy and plans that have been set out for Wellington.  Hopefully we will see an end to the unprofessional in-fighting and political grandstanding of recent years.  The Council can only do the hard stuff by working together.

Who of the mayoral candidates is most likely to be successful in bringing a good team together?   And which one has a real vision and the backbone to stand by it?  It is easy to dangle carrots to win votes.   For my money, I don’t think there is a stand-out candidate.  There appear to be three strong contenders.   Justin looks like someone who can harmonise the team.  He may not have a strong vision, but is probably the right person to progress the vision that Celia created.  Both Jo and Nick clearly have a vision for a motorway but are not clear on how they see this translating into cohesive transport solutions that are people and planet friendly.

Cycle Aware Wellington wishes each of the Mayoral and Council candidates all the best with their campaigning.  Whoever gets in, Cycle Aware Wellington looks forward to working with you in helping to grow Wellington as a cycling and walking friendly city.

Ron Beernink
Chair Cycle Aware Wellington


October meetup


Find out what has been happening to make cycling happen around Wellington, and have your say about what you would like to happen!

  • Local body elections and what we can do to work with a refreshed local and regional Council
  • Update on the Island Bay community engagement
  • Getting ready for Go By Bike Day
  • Where to with Ciclovia
  • Planning ahead for CAW – challenges and opportunities
  • And no doubt lots more stuff to talk about..

And talking about challenges and opportunities: a challenge for you to bring a buddy and give them the opportunity to be involved in the cycling movement.

Tuesday 4th October, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, 2 Forresters Lane (off Tory Street)

Monthly Meeting – September 6

Tuesday 6 September, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, Forresters Lane

Image result for cycling historic

Items on the agenda for this month are

  • Rants & raves
  • An update and discussion on the Island Bay community engagement
  • Where things are with the Hutt Road improvements
  • Prototyping the first bit of the Petone-Ngauranga route
  • Fundraising updates
  • And a further look at the CAW strategies.  We’ll have a bit of a follow up exercise to see what things we need to focus on to put these strategies into action.  Below is the updated model, and here’s the hyperlink to the larger image

20160830 CAW motivation model


Your survey feedback on the Refreshed Cycling Network Programme

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 20:25:56

So we did a survey asking peoples thoughts about what routes should be given what priority and consideration for the refresh of the Wellington Cycling Network Programme.  Less than 3 days, and it got 157 responses.  Awesome!  You people really rock.

But boy, did it prove a challenge to go through all the individual responses!  I had only a couple of days to collate the information and submit it to the chair of the Urban Transport and Development committee.  So to be honest, I only got half way!   But by that stage some common feedback had started to emerge.  And enough material to go back to the committee with.

Unfortunately it won’t reflect everyone’s specific comments but the reality is that a survey like this was not going to gives a clear consensus.  Again to be honest, I realise now that there is a real art in putting a survey like this together and that I didn’t do a great job.  So my apologies.

Here is the link to the presentation file that I provided to the Council committee.  Who knows how much of an influence it had as part of their workshop this week? We will find out when the proposed refreshed programme gets published this Friday.    There was a leak to the Dominion though that resulted in today’s article that the focus is on developing a key part of the Great Harbour Way between Miramar and the CBD.

The shared cycling and pedestrian path along Evans Bay Parade.

CAW’s position is that we support that as a pragmatic choice.  We need a big cycle infrastructure win to get past the Island Bay situation.  A large part of this Great Harbour Way route can hopefully be done without the ire of local residents or businesses.  It won’t be without its challenges and there cannot be short cuts if the aim is for a wide enough route that can be safely shared by cyclists and pedestrians.  The result will be a great asset for Wellington however, no doubt.  And a nice commuter route for people living in the Eastern suburbs, specially on those sunny and not so windy days!

At the same time we hope that the Council will tackle some of the high risk routes as well.  It is already committed to fixing the Hutt Road and together with the NZTA will implement the seaside shared path between Ngauranga and Petone (another part of the Great Harbour Way) that hopefully will be all completed between next year and 2018/19.  There is however an urgent need to sort out for example Thorndon Quay where on a daily basis lots of commuters are at risk from angle parked cars and buses crossing the path of cyclists.

There will be a consultation on the refreshed cycling programme, and CAW will definitely use all of your survey feedback to make our submission.  And we urge you to make your own submissions when the time comes.  Thanks for your passion in wanting to make cycling a safe and enjoyable option for all of our community!

Ron Beernink
Cycle Aware Wellington chair




Island Bay Cycle Way Revisited

Screenshot from 2016-07-30 14:13:53

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.


CAW August Meeting: workshop the year ahead and an update on Island Bay


Get excited!  We’re going to try out a different approach for our monthly meeting.  We’re going to listen to you..

Last month the CAW committee got together to review our vision statement and the objectives of what we want the future to look like.  We now would like to hear your feedback on what we came up with.  But we also want to workshop with you what our focus should be for the year ahead.

Below is shown an illustration of the so-called ‘motivation model’ that we will use as a framework.  Don’t worry, I’ll explain what it all means. The important thing is that we discuss the content and agree what is right, what should be added, and what can go.   All of this will help to ensure that CAW is effective in making cycling a safe and attractive option for our communities.

CAW new motivation model
Higher resolution copy available here.

We will finish up with some short updates, including the upcoming community re-engagement at Island Bay; what it means and why we should support it.

So looking forward to seeing you all there:

  • When: 6-7:30pm Tuesday 2 August
  • Where: Sustainability Trust, Forresters Lane (off Tory Street)


CAW Meeting Report – July 2016

We had a very busy agenda!  Apologies for the long list of minutes and no doubt not all of the discussion was captured.  In future we will probably change these meetings to become more action-focused workshops and less of a ‘talk fest’.  So watch this space.

 Updates on initiatives, future activities

    • CBD network plan
      • Some good ideas from WCC
      • Looking at setting up scenarios

      • Feeding the ideas into Getting Wellington Moving

      • Will take a while to happen, although some things can happen sooner particular where it is not part of the bigger transport changes.

      • There is a good picture of what is most needed.

      • NZTA also interested in quick wins for the CBD.  Needs to be pragmatic and sensible.  Similar to some of the recent improvements in Auckland [e.g. allowing cyclists to go both ways on some CBD one-way streets].

      • Doesn’t need big projects.  Can be slower speeds to create better shared spaces, e.g. in Cuba Street

    • Temporary closure of Waterloo Quay
      • WCC has been asked to monitor impact of roadworks on the traffic
      • Can be used as evidence to show that taking part of the road for a cycleway does not in fact impact on traffic
      • WCC said they would look into this
    • Reset of UCP
      • NZTA and WCC working together on the reset of the UCP plan
      • Should not mean that everything stops
      • But may reprioritise some of the routes such as Island Bay to CBD; creating better connections
    • Easter Bay Routes submission
      • Key message was not to focus on big projects alone; small changes will make a big difference too
      • This can be a network quieter neighbourhood street, as well as safer crossing like at the sports stadium
      • Not clear what is next and what timeframes, and action to confirm this at the next meeting
      • Note that UCP money would need to be spend by 2018
    • Rebicycle – Hilleke
      • A great initiative to make bikes, helmets, training etc available in the communities; making cycling more accessible for people on lower incomes, e.g. refugees
      • Needs to be made available in the communities itself
      • People / organisations can donate old or new bikes.  Can be dropped off at the Sustainability Trust building in Forrester Lane < not just yet – working on it!
      • Working with other parties like Mechanical Tempest, Pedal Ready, local bikeshops
      • Great opportunity for CAW to support this and show that it is a community organisation
    • Hutt road improvements – update on CAW survey from Alastair
      • Results submitted to WCC
      • WCC have boosted parking enforcement
      • A couple of different surveys have been done recently over a number of days to observe driver behaviour at driveways and also ask people about their purpose for parking along the shared path and journeys
    • Committee planning day
      • Focus was on updating the vision and objectives statements [where we want to be]
      • Further workshop to be hold to look at the mission, strategy & tactics statements [how we will get there]
    • Go By Bike Day
      • Concern that we have not heard from WCC
      • Time is running out to get the organisation moved to WCC
      • Recommendation that CAW organise the next event but in partnership with WCC
    • Local body elections – lobbying webinar from Alastair
      • Webinar run to talk about how to lobby candidates as part of the local body elections
      • Key points were to research the person you’re meeting with, meet with a small group, don’t lecture, focus on the positive, concentrate on issues not personalities

Island Bay Cycle Way

    • Working together with the Island Bay Residents Association (IBRA)
      • Ron had a very productive get together with Vicky & Jane of the IBRA, facilitated by Justin Lester and Paul Eagle.  We agreed to more collaboratively together and get away from the polarised views
    • Update on IBRA meeting
      • Ron was invited to the June meeting
      • It was good to hear the views from locals and also to hear David Chick from the WCC acknowledge that they got it wrong and about the opportunity to re-consult.  He faced some tough questions though.
    • Recap of the audit reports
      • The report focused on the construction (and not the design) of the cycleway
      • The report noted some moderate & minor improvements such as improving visibility at driveways by removing car parks, and better signs
      • The major concern was that the old road markings had not been removed
    • Our own observations / key messages
      • The overall design could have been done better to make it work as a shared space for walkers, cyclists, public transport and cars
      • Marking for car parks are not clear, particularly in the dark and wet.  
    • What happened at the Council committee meeting
      • We highlighted that the cycleway is already achieving what it set out to do; it has got people young and old cycling who would not have done so with the previous design
      • We urged the council to implement the recommendations made in the report and take some of these into consideration with for example avoiding car parks to close to driveways at the Hutt Road
      • In response to a question about cyclists still using the road, Ron explained that faster cyclists typically do not use a cycle way because it slows them down too much, and that the cycle way is designed and targeted for less confident cyclists
      • The Council agreed to start re-consultation with the Island Bay community asap, but the review will still take place early next year
    • What’s next – review & consultation
      • IBRA and CAW are meeting with the WCC to discuss how to ensure a community led consultation
      • Suggestion that we can do a workshop to get ideas of how to get the right community engagement / representation

Committee items (10-15 mins)

  • Updates from regular and other stakeholder meetings
    • Ron / Timon / Patrick meeting with Dougal from the NZTA
      • CAW/CAN provided very positive feedback on the OPUS consultant (Jessica) that NZTA have used for engaging with us on cycling / transport projects
      • We discussed the opportunity to do some quick / non-controversial cycling improvements in the CBD
      • Recommendation that NZTA get involved in the Hutt City Council cycling steering committee
    • Ron / Patrick / Timon participation in local government authority workshop
      • Had a variety of stakeholders provide input in how the LGA could better assist with transport choices & projects
    • Patrick / James / Ron / Timon meeting with Jessica from NZTA
      • Focused on the early prototype implementation of a cycleway connecting the slipway just north of the Ngauranga interchange to the Hutt Road just past the underbridge (going south)
      • Will be 5 metres wide except for under the bridge where it will be 3 metres
  • Upcoming submissions
    • Open spaces 
      • Main issues are definition of e-bike
      • Possible commuting routes in areas designated to be closed to bikes
      • Further info available on the CAW website
    • Airport runway extension 
      • Chance to talk about concerns how large number of trucks shifting fill for the extension will impact on cyclists, but also opportunity to factor cycling into the design
  • Promoting CAW – logo, name change
    • Hilleke has come up with a fantastic logo and there has been various ideas about changing the name as we have moved on from “Aware”.  Could be simply “Cycling Wellington”
    • Committee will agree and we can then use this to create a flyer and business cards

Rants & Raves (5 mins)

  • Rant about vegetation blocking the path around the bays; needs to be cut back properly, not just a bit of a trim.
  • Rave about Gill Penalosa’s talk about sustainable urban Development and how it spoke very much about the things that are dear to all of our hearts in creating better shared spaces.  A big pad on the back for ourselves that we advocate and help to bring about these changes.

Hutt Road Improvements get the green light. Or is that Orange?

How long before the Hutt Road obstacle course will be resolved?  The good news is that some of these obstacles like the lamp posts will soon be gone.  That is fantastic.  But we will have to wait till next year to see the illegal car parks removed and a proper cycling and walking commuter route created.  Or perhaps longer?  No end date has been confirmed for this project.


As reported in Scoop the WCC Transport and Urban Development Committee today voted in support of the recommended staged approach to implementing the cycleway and other transport changes along this busy route.

The first stage will involve not just removing the lamp posts, but also shifting the bus stop from outside Animates to south of Spot Light, and improving the path surface.  All of these are significant improvements in their own right.  But it doesn’t solve the problem that both pedestrians and cyclists have to share a 3 metre narrow path, with motorists regularly crossing this to park alongside or over the path.  The Council admitted that this parking is in fact ‘technically’ illegal.

The first phase of the project will give the Council time to investigate alternative options.  That is fair enough as there will be a real impact on some of the businesses, but also for the number of people of who park along the route in order to walk or cycle into town.  What will the Council do if it cannot find alternative options is the question?   Will it still commit to removing this illegal parking?  Or will it silently keep its fingers crossed that the initial improvements are enough to keep everyone happy?  Which is very unlikely.

The reality is that the number of cyclists will continue to increase on this major commuter route.  Add to that the inevitable upsurge in e-bikes (apparently 80% of bikes produced in China are now electric bikes!).  Which will put extra pressure on this shared path.  Including making life more uncomfortable for the pedestrians.  The rate of accidents between cyclists and walkers may be low, but as a pedestrian it is not comfortable to have cyclists race by.  And people on bikes cannot always predict what walkers will do.  Particularly little kids by the Play Centre.  Or dodging people who are plugged into their phones and happily daydream their way into the path of cyclists.  Not their fault.  They are entitled to their own space without having to worry about cyclists.  Which is why we need a proper 5 metre wide path that gives 2 metres to the pedestrians and a separated 3 metre two-way path for cyclists?   Urgently please.

Significantly the WCC Transport and Urban Development Committee also voted unanimously to go ahead with the Great Harbour Way.  This is fantastic news as it will create a shared path that will follow the Harbour from Pencarrow to Eastbourne.  This should be in addition to the Hutt Road cycling and walking commuter path.  But can the Council get the money together to do both.  Will it rob Peter to pay Paul?  Hopefully not.

So it will be interesting to see how all this plays out of the next couple of years.  The good news is that the WCC and also NZTA are keen to get on with it.  Which makes today’s announcements an historic day for all those people who cycle or would like to.




Hutt Road Improvements: a longer wait for the right outcomes

Last Friday the Council confirmed via a press release that it is now looking to implement the Hutt Road improvements in stages.  The key reason: to give time to sort alternative solutions for the car parking.  This is a hard pill to swallow for the many cyclists and walkers on this major commuter route, who have to wait many years and were initially given the hope of an urgent start on getting a proper width separated cycling and walking paths built.

Each day there are frustrations and close shaves as people on bikes and on foot navigate a shared path that is far too narrow and with many obstacles blocking the way.  Then there is the daily danger of avoiding cars and trucks coming in and out of the many business yards or car parks along that route.  The high accident rate speaks for itself.

These problems will only get worse with the steady increase of people biking, including on electric bikes.  Action is needed urgently.  The good news is that the Council is looking to start work as soon as possible on removing the lamp posts, shifting the bus stop by Winchester Street, and improving the path surface.  Each of the business driveways will also be made safer.  But for now the route will remain as a three metre wide shared path, and car parks will not yet be removed from the path.  This is clearly disappointing, and the fear is that the Council will not deliver on the full proposed design for the Hutt Road improvements.

Committee members of Cycle Aware Wellington, Cycle Action Network and Hutt Cycling Network got together over the weekend to discuss this latest turn of events.   It was agreed to support the proposed staged approach, but with clear commitment and a timeline from the Council to complete all stages of the project.  Only once all stages are delivered, will we see the benefits of separated walking and cycling paths, that ensures better safety and comfort for everyone.

It is good to see that the Council has listened to the concerns raised by the various parties through the consultation process and is taking action.  This includes finding an alternative option for the many people who currently park along the route to walk or cycle into town. And avoiding significant impacts on the businesses along the Hutt Road.  This needs time to do it right.

In the meantime, everyone using the route can also do their bit; showing consideration and care for each other as cyclists and walkers continue to share the narrow path.  This means that people on bikes need to keep their speed down, give pedestrians room when passing, use bike bells, and in particular keep an eye out for children by the Day care centre.

Motorists also need to do their bit.  Blocking or parking over the shared path is not acceptable.  The good thing is that over the last couple of years we have seen an improvement in motorists’ awareness of cyclists along this route; treating them with more respect.  Most drivers wait patiently to let cyclists pass.  There will still be times when motorists make mistakes.  All of us make mistakes.  Even with a properly improved Hutt Road, this cannot be avoided altogether.

Let’s make this work and be patient while we give the Council the extra time to find a solution that works for the everyone.

Ron Beernink, Chairman Cycle Aware Wellington

Finally an answer to the Hutt Road cycle route nightmare?

For many years the route between the CBD and Ngauranga Gorge has been singled out as the worst cycling infrastructure in Wellington.  It is a frustrating obstacle course of dodging trucks and cars, lampposts in the middle of the path, and an increasing number of walkers.  The number of accidents along this route speak for themselves.

Hutt road - shambles
The current shambles along the Hutt Road; trucks, cars and lamp posts making it a regular obstacle course for cyclists and walkers.

So it is fantastic to hear that the Wellington City Council, with the backing from the NZTA, is about to embark on major improvements.   This focuses on creating a dedicated cycle way and separated footpath alongside the eastern side of the Hutt Road between the Ngauranga gorge and the Aotea Quay over bridge.

Hutt road - concept image
A concept drawing showing what the improvements may look like.  Note that most of the parking is intended to only be available after 9am.

A key challenge for the project will be the removal of car parks to allow the cycle and walk path to be widened and to make the route safer.  The council has already talked to affected businesses about this.  But it will also impact on the high number of people who park along the route and from there walk into town, particularly as a no-parking zone will be enforced before 9am to allow for a “T2” lane that will help to speed up bus travel times.

A number of the problems with the route may not disappear with all these improvements.  How will the design ensure that cars enter and exit the many business yards along the route in a safer way?  Specially as the improved cycle way will result in people cycling at faster speeds.  And does the design provide a safer crossing at the Ngauranga gorge; how will it ensure that cyclist can safely get across the SH2 north and south bound slip roads?

Hutt road - concept design
The tricky design at Ngauranga gorge.  Will the crossing as shown at the bottom left hand corner be any safer?

People will want to know what alternative options were considered, such as creating a harbour-side cycle and walk way that will connect up to the same sea-side shared path that is intended for the route between Ngauranga gorge and Petone.  And what is happening about the equally dangerous route along Thorndon Quay?

Details of the project are available in a ‘traffic resolution’ document that the Council has made available on its website.  Not exactly written with the general public in mind.  And it does not address all of the questions and concerns that people will have.  There will however be ‘open days’ held to provide information and answer questions:

  • 3pm−6.30pm, Wednesday 30 March, La Cloche, 134 Hutt Road
  • 9am−1pm, Saturday 2 April, 241 Thorndon Quay (formerly Nancy’s Embroidery)

Information about this project and the design is available at the Council website.  At the bottom of the page you will find a link to tell the Councillors at the Transport and Urban Development Committee what you think.   The submissions closes on  5pm, Wednesday 13 April 2016.