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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Thorndon Quay, Biketober and more – report of the CAW April 2018 meeting

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Associate Transport Minister Julie Ann Genter presents a special lifetime award to Jan Nesbit at the Love Cycling Awards

Here are some of the things discussed at the April Meeting:

  • Love Cycling Awards: Very successful, raises the bar for future events! Great atmosphere, TV3 coverage. Diversity of people attracted. A credit to the hard work and efficiency of Jill Ford.
  • Thorndon Quay. There have been around 400 submissions on the interim solution between Davis St and Mulgrave St. Oral submissions include informal consultations with councillors on 5 April, and formal submissions to the council as a whole on 12 April. The interim proposal sets a precedent for replacing angle parking by safer parallel parking; but the painted bike lanes don’t meet NZTA guidelines. Currently there is poor enforcement of the clearway.
  • Newtown connections are “next off the rank”. Bike Newtown will be revitalised to give feedback. There is a suggested route from Wilson St/Owen St around the back of the Hospital that could provide an interim solution for people coming from Kilbirnie to the CBD, but currently involves some steep steps.
  • Ron met with NZTA. Melling to Petone is expected to start in 2018, concern about connections for hill suburbs and Alicetown. Ngauranga to Petone is still on the horizon, need resource consent for reclamation. 2021 start. In the mean time, need to keep the SH2 shoulder clear and bike friendly.  SH58 from Hutt to Pauatahanui is being widened, with a slow lane for cyclists etc on the narrow section from SH2 junction. (An existing alternative is to turn right out of the Manor Park railway carpark onto Mcdougall Grove, then pick up the Old Haywards Rd past the transformer station)
containers narrowing shoulder, SH2 Petone/Ngauranga
Containers blocking SH2 shoulder at Ngauranga on ramp
  • Ngauranga interchange: WCC is widening the cycle path under motorway and around to stock entrance/bus stop.
  • AGM – in June, ideas for speaker/event welcomed. Your chance to volunteer for the committee!
  • We feel a need for a “Voice” for CAW – someone representing people we campaign for younger, female, Interested but Concerned. Some names suggested.
  • Membership. High visibility events such as the Love Cycling Awards attract people to our web site and FaceBook Group (Instagram is suggested to communicate with younger people). But our challenge is to get people to join as financial members. If you’re not a member, sign up now – it’ll be the best $50 you spent on cycling!
  • Biketober – Krissie and WCC are working together, hope to include an open streets event from PO square to Pukeahu.
  • Thumbs up, thumbs down
    • Tory St one way – part of a VUW architecture project It’s Tory Time which will result in a shared space for cars, cyclists and walkers. [Stop Press: the shared space has been opened up – looks good and an example of urban activation as promoted by Ellie]
    • Ellie suggests making Molesworth St contraflow.
    • Mark gave big ups for John Randal’s running a very successful Good Friday Criterium.
    • Ellie saw good news in the new Government Policy Statement on transport favouring cycling, and IPENZ Christchurch backing cycleways.
    • Ride for HELP are doing a presentation on their Tour Aotearoa ride, 1730 11 April Sustainability Trust.

February meeting report

Go By Bike Day: A successful, well run event, though numbers seemed a bit down, perhaps due to the public holiday, and lack of publicity through banners etc. But thanks to WCC for taking on this annual event. CAW needs to think about how to get more members signed up – topic for future meeting.

CAN Survey: Jill reminded us that Cycling Action Network is launching a major road safety campaign, the first stage of which is a survey of cyclists views. Take a few minutes to respond, if you haven’t already.

Love Cycling Awards: nominations close 13 March: quite a few nominations, but Jill would like more. Event will be 27 March at Bicycle Junction, tickets a mere $10. As well as support from Bicycle Junction, Garage Project and WCC are sponsoring.

EBikes in open spaces: Joel de Boer from WCC talked to us about the trial of allowing eBikes on selected tracks. Joel is preparing a report for Council, and welcomes feedback. People were generally relaxed about eBikes on appropriate tracks, feeling that they should in general be treated as ordinary bikes.

Lessons from the Wisconsin Bike Fed: Michelle is visiting NZ and talked about initiatives undertaken by the Wisconsin Bike Fed. They have good relations with police, who are active in enforcing laws relating to cyclists, including a mandatory 3 foot passing rule. They visit workplaces and do presentations on green lifestyles, including biking. We discussed getting Wellington Police more involved in cycling safety.

Zero Carbon Act. Ellie spoke about this campaign to make zero carbon emissions a legal requirement. There’ll be a ride from Pomare to Parliament on 1 March.

WCC infrastructure initiatives: Ron met with WCC. The modifications to the Island Bay Cycleway are expected around May. Council is hearing submissions on the Kilbirnie connections in local groups: James and Eleanor are going. The Hutt Road shared path is expected to be largely complete by March, and there are plans to extend the shared path to the northern end of Thorndon Quay.

Bits and Bobs: Peter suggested that Strava could be used to get more insightful bike statistics. Jill talked about how horrible the John St intersection is, but we’ll probably have to wait for the Berhampore cycleway project to resolve this. Peter (the other one) agreed with residents who oppose shared paths.

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).

CAW August meeting report

IBoptC
Island Bay Option C – submissions due 13 August

Lots in the pipeline, and if you want to make it happen, there are plenty of things you can give feedback to Council on.

Ron reported back on the regular meeting he and Linda had with WCC Cycling Team. There will be quite a few projects to submit on, as the UCP projects gather pace. Eleanor doing a register of submissions. There are proposals for a shared footpath route to connect Kent Terrace to the Waterfront. This would have to be done without inconveniencing pedestrians. Hutt Rd shared path issues were discussed, including the illegal car parks (Sarah Free and Chris Calvi-Freeman are following up on this), lack of safety measures at business exits, and the narrow gap between posts on the shared path. Options for access to Bunny St West are being investigated. Traffic lights at Brooklyn Rd/Ohiro Rd may improve safety for cyclists at this intersection. Western routes, e.g. to Karori, may be in the next tranche of cycling projects.

Newtown cycling projects: engagement has started on possible cycling connections through Newtown/Berhampore. The Bike Newtown group has been promoting to cycle commuters with Pit Stops at Basin Reserve and John/Adelaide intersection. At this stage it may be better for CAW to promote awareness, rather specific solutions.

Bike Sydney has been in touch – their advice is to talk about space, not design. Relevant to Thorndon Quay, where it’s important to create a space that will be attractive to traffic and people patronising businesses.

We discussed the Island Bay consultation. Councillor Diane Calvert (responsible for Community Planning and Engagement) and WCC staff helped explain the four options, which all include making the cycleway more direct, and extending it through the business area. The decision is about quality of feedback, not quantity, and shouldn’t be construed as a “vote”. Other options are not being considered, since the four options are the result of a thorough engagement process which all stakeholders could participate in. The aim should be an “8-80” cycleway, that can be used confidently by people between 8 and 80 years of age. Please read the Council’s material, including the FAQ. James has provided the 30 second summary on the CAW website. Please submit by 13 August.

CBD “quick win” improvements. We discussed these small projects, which will make it easier to get around the CBD by bike. The proposals include contraflow lanes, which are common in other cities, and have been used in Christchurch and Auckland. Risk analysis may show that contraflow lanes improve safety – for example in Cuba St, drivers of parking cars will be facing towards people on bikes. Submit feedback by 11 August.

Shelly Bay development. We discussed the cycling implications of this development, which over a 13 year period will see a four fold increase in motor traffic on one of Wellington’s best recreational cycling routes. The Miramar Ciclovia has attracted thousands to the peninsula. Have your say by 14 August.

Asia-Pacific Cycling Conference is being held in Christchurch 17-20 October.

AGM meeting report, June 2017

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[Previous AGM report here]

Present: Ron, Peter Bu, Patrick, Alex, James, Sridhar, Frank, Andrew, Peter Ba, Ben, Mark, Paul Br, Linda, Nick, Andy F, Sean, Alastair

APOLOGIES: Andy Gow

Chair Ron Beernink reviewed the year.

  • By September 2017 any changes to Island Bay should be known.
  • Work on the Hutt Road Shared Path has started, working north in 100m section.
  • Let’s Get Wellington Moving is proceeding, although not as fast as we’d like.
  • We’re seeing more non-Lycra cyclists around town

Treasurer Linda Beatson reviewed our finances

  • Plenty of money in the bank. Apparent deficit is due to overlapping years, and late payment of our share of CAN subscriptions.
  • Andrew asked if we’d considered becoming a charity so tax isn’t paid on donations. James responded that reporting requirements are more onerous, and Alastair suggested CAN (which is registered) might be able to make better use of donations.
  • Finances approved subject to final approval by committee.  Final 2016 financial report.

Committee confirmed:

Chair: Ron Beernink
Treasurer: Linda Beatson
Membership secretary: Sridhar Ekambaram
Minutes secretary: Alastair Smith
Submissions leads: Eleanor Meecham, Alastair Smith
SASTRG reps: David Laing, James Burgess
General committee: James Burgess, Patrick Morgan, Sean Linton

Andy Gow, Andrew Macbeth, Nick Ravi, and Benjamin Burkhart prepared to help out on an ad hoc basis.

Year ahead:

  • Discussed getting the message out: social media (Bike Auckland have a paid role for this), email, conventional media
  • Have asked that Kaiwharawhara station be reopened to provide options for people who drive to Hutt Rd and park. Metlink not keen.
  • Urban Cycling Programme on a tight timeframe
  • Consultations coming up on Petone to Ngauranga.

Urban Cycling projects: Ron, James and Alastair reported back on workshops for Thorndon Quay, Oriental Bay, Evans Bay, Kilbirnie and Miramar. Newtown-Berhampore will be coming up soon.

Discussed implications of footpath cycling Select Committee report.

Roadworks signs on cycle lanes and shoulders have been a problem. Ron is pursuing with NZTA.

WCC has responded swiftly to deal with misplaced sharrows.

Thumbs up/ Thumbs down:

  • Benjamin: Metlink bus blocking lane at Thorndon Quay
  • Andrew: uncomfortable cycling uphill on Terrace south of Salamanca, remove parking at rush hour – could apply on other arterial uphill routes
  • Paul: free left turn for cyclists? NZTA is investigating a rule change.
  • Alex: Congestion Free Wellington is a new organisation campaigning for better transport options.
  • Ron: support bus drivers, generally good to cyclists
  • Andrew: changes in public transport are looking to improve overall service
  • James: post AGM pub visit….

CAW July 2017 meeting notes

roadworks on Evans Bay parade
Temporary traffic management in Evans Bay. At least cycling was considered, but parked cars seemed to be more important

14 of us gathered to discuss cycling issues in Wellington. 

Ron updated  us on the regular CAW and Hutt Cycling Network meetings with WCC, Hutt City Council and NZTA.

  • Petone to Melling. People on bikes give a thumbs up for this project which will establish a cycling track between the expressway and the railway.  Plan for implementation later in 2017.
  • Riverlink project will connect Hutt CBD to a relocated Melling station with a pedestrian/bike bridge.
  • Early engagement on the Petone to Ngauranga shared path is expected in October.
  • Improvements are needed at Ngauranga interchange (e.g. vegetation, rubbish). WCC do not see as a priority, but CAW & NZTA do. Maybe we should hold a working bee, which CAW did in the 1990’s.
  • Temporary traffic management issues (e.g. construction signs in bike lanes) are being addressed but seem to be systemic. It’s a national issue: Dougal List of NZTA has been approached about holding a workshop with contractors and road controlling authorities. Some discussion of Evans Bay, where there was a sign warning that cycle lane was closed, but could have used parking lane for a temporary lane. Do you have photos of particularly good or bad examples? Send them to Ron.
  • Quick win improvements in Wellington CBD are about to go to Council. These include
    • Grey St covered bike parking close to showers
    • Contraflow bike lanes (on otherwise one way streets). Mercer, Cuba between Vivian and Ghuznee, and lower Cuba, Willeston, Pukeahu Park between Tory and Martin Square, Basin Reserve at Rugby St, Bunny St W. Are there other good places for contraflow lanes?
  • Progress on Hutt Road Improvements
    • Construction work has started!
    • Orange rugby posts at Aotea overbridge are there to stop cars, but create issues for biking. Problems with lighting on north side need to be addressed before removal of poles.
    • The staged approach to the project will involve limited removal of parking at this stage. Back in June 2016 we looked at what needed to happen.
  • Thorndon Quay and Eastern suburbs have been having early engagement workshops with the community that are producing short lists of projects for detailed design.
  • Newtown will soon start an engagement process. Still deciding on stakeholders, many groups need to be involved.
  • Next steps for Island Bay, going through the formal process.
  • Congestion Free Wellington. new coalition aimed at getting sustainable transport options from the Lets Get Wellington Moving process.  Patrick and Alastair involved, Alex also keen.
  • Bike Newtown FaceBook page has been started to get Newtown and Berhampore people involved in upgrades for the Newtown community.
  • Bike to the Future awards – discussed what and who we should nominate.
  • What’s happening about Ciclovia? An event organising company is looking at a CBD event.
  • Ellie of Generation Zero, talked about the campaign for a Zero Carbon Act, including a cycle tour.
  • Thumbs up, thumbs down…
    • Up. Alex: WCC funding for Bikes Welcome
    • Up. Ron mentioned the Asia Pacific Cycle Congress to be held in Christchurch 17-20 October.  Should CAW sponsor someone to go? Advocate rate $500 before 1 Sept. Perhaps $250 each for 2 people. To decide next meeting.
    • Down. Alex finds reporting parking infringements difficult. Have to give personal details, only through phone, not through Fixit app,
    • Ron gave a thumbs up for Simon of HCC who has been good on engagement, for example on the Beltway
    • Up. James notes a Bike fix-it stand is now at Brooklyn, also Aro Valley. Maybe carrying a repair kit will become obsolete!

Mid Winter blues? Treat them with a dose of CAW conviviality!

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The days are short now, leaving plenty of time to attend CAW’s regular evening meeting in July. Lots of things to talk about.

Tuesday 4 July, 6-7:30 pm, Sustainability Trust, Forresters Lane (off Tory St)

CAW June meeting + AGM

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It’s that time of the year again for our annual general meeting. Nothing too painful. We’ll keep the official stuff short!

– Reflecting back on the year that has been
– Our financial state of affairs
– Confirming the committee
– Our key focus for the year ahead

And then back to the business at hand of discussing what cycling changes are happening

  •  UCP updates
  • Sharrow shenanigans
  • Cones kerfuffles
  • Congestion Free Wellington
  • Mechanical Tempest
  • Thumbs up, thumbs down

6 June at 18:00–19:30
Sustainability Trust, 2 Forresters Lane, Wellington, New Zealand 6011