CAW April Meeting

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Hopefully you’ll all be energised after the Easter weekend for another exciting meeting!  On offer for discussion this time:

  • How to stay safe along Thorndon Quay during the darker days?
  • Updates from WCC and NZTA meetings
  • AGM – put it on your agenda for June
  • Having a new voice for CAW
  • Ideas for increasing membership
  • Biketober and Open Streets – promoting cycling
  • Tour Aotearoa slideshow
  • Thumbs up, thumbs down

Usual time & place.   6-7:30pm, Tuesday 3 April, Sustainability Trust, Forrester Lane.

 

 

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March meeting

Safety for people on bikes cannot be compromised

Already getting well into the year, with another action-packed agenda

  • Thorndon Quay: a compromised solution, compromising safety?
  • Love Cycling Awards: show your love for this great event
  • “But we’re not Copenhagen”: a perspective on cycling infrastructure in Europe
  • Ngauranga gorge & interchange: a continuing challenge
  • Helping CAN & CAW to help us: increasing our membership numbers
  • What’s happening: WCC, NZTA and other updates

Be there to be part of the movement.   Tuesday 6 March, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, Forrester Lane.

Thorndon Quay: a u-turn design

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Last year the Wellington City Council initiated a project and established a community stakeholder working group to find options for creating safe cycling along Thorndon Quay as part of the Urban Cycling Programme.   The various people on the working group represented local businesses, residents, walkers and cyclists.  Together they came up with a vision that would change Thorndon Quay from the current day ugly industrial looking commuter route to a boulevard-style destination.   A number of objectives were agreed to enable that vision including avoiding impacting on the local businesses, but also ensuring a safe traffic design.   The working group were on the same page and getting close to agreeing design options.

That is till the business representatives decided to approach the Council directly because of concerns that the parking changes for the design options would in fact impact on their businesses.  After escalating this to a couple of the Councillors, our mayor was brought into the conversation.  Justin Lester decided to pull the plug on the project (and effectively the working group) and instead go with a very watered-down design that would have painted cycle lanes at the south end of Thorndon Quay.  

The cycling representatives from the now-defunct working group met with the Mayor to discuss their concerns and understand Justin’s motivations.   This was what came out of that meeting, and our observations of that conversation:

  • Justin said that Aotea Quay was an alternative option that should have been considered by the project.  (That despite the fact that the project was asked to clarify this a number of times, and that David Chick – WCC Chief City Planner – categorically confirmed that Aotea Quay was not a consideration as it would be years away if it ever got agreement from the different authorities along that route. For more details, see the WCC document Why Thorndon Quay.)
  • He had a concern that the design options would not get the backing from the majority of his Councillors.  (It is understood that he never talked to his team to get confirmation of this).
  • He was concerned that this could turn into another Island Bay situation.  (Understandable, but this project was following a much better community engagement approach, and the working group had made good progress).
  • He felt that the Council was making great progress with the other cycling improvement projects, and did not want to put all of this at risk.  (A fair statement).

The key messages that we left him with is that his decision does nothing to address the risk of vulnerable road users on this dangerous route, but also that his action undermined the trust in the engagement process.

The Council has recently published the revised proposed design for Thorndon Quay for public consultation.   The design only deals with the section of road between Davis and Mulgrave Street.   A key aspect is that it changes the angle parking to parallel parking along the Westpac Stadium side of the street.   You can see the proposed design and get access to the online feedback form on this WCC transport project page.

Thorndon Quay hero image

Meanwhile the cycling representatives who were part of the working group have set up a “Fix Thorndon Quay” Facebook page to encourage people to have their say.   But also to highlight that this revised design proposal does nothing to address the risk to vulnerable road users along the busiest and most dangerous part of Thorndon Quay, between Davis Street and Tinakori Road.

With the darker and wetter winter months, the danger from cars pulling into or reversing out of the parking is unacceptably high.  The angle parking forces cyclist on to the main road in the path of cars, trucks and buses; particularly with a number of cars now too long for the parking space.   There is a real risk of a cyclist being seriously hurt or killed.   

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But also for walkers this part of Thorndon Quay poses a significant challenge and risk, with the lack of pedestrian crossings.  Often we see people dashing between angle parked cars, cyclists and traffic on the road.  Again an accident waiting to happen.

Pedestrian crossing TQ

We have waited for years for the Council to resolve this situation.  We don’t want to wait longer.  Even if an alternative route via Aotea Quay would become a reality, then Thorndon Quay would still be used by a high number of cyclists and walkers as the most convenient route to get to their work or to get to the local shops.

We urge people to submit their feedback to the Council.  Tell your own story, how the proposed design may help to address your concerns, and what concerns it does not address.  Guidelines on writing your individual submission can be found here.

Have your say!

Writing an individual submission

The Council relies on advocacy groups but also individuals to make submissions on design proposals like for cycle ways.  Below are some tips on how you can put together an effective submission.

  • Introduce yourself and explain why the particular route or location is important to you personally, e.g. for your daily commute, or getting your kids to school.
  • Give your story that best describes the key concerns are that you experience today, e.g. cars pulling in and out of parking spaces.
  • Explain how the proposed design will help to address your concerns.
  • Detail what concerns it does not address, or what issues the proposed design may create for you.
  • Give your view of what more can be done to make this a great solution not for you right now, but for the future and for others.

Below is an example.  Don’t copy and paste, but use this to create a submission that is uniquely yours.

“My name is Shirley Bessy.  I can be classed as a concerned but keen cyclists, and I use Thorndon Quay most workdays as the most direct route to get to or from my work on The Terrace, and sometimes to visit one of the shops on Thorndon Quay.   Cycling has helped me enormously with my fitness.

Thorndon Quay is the most dangerous part of the route.  I have had a few too many close calls where cars pull in and out of car parks, and each day I am really worried that someone will suddenly reverse out of one of the angle car parks and force me into the path of other traffic.   I am sure that if I have an accident or too many more close calls that I will stop cycling for my commute.

The proposed Thorndon Quay changes will go a little towards making it safer.  It will avoid the illegal angle parking along the clearway that currently continues to happen between the VTNZ building and the lights by Mulgrave streets.  The road side painted cycle lane will however probably do little to make my commute in the event any safer as drivers will no doubt still pull in and out of car parks without looking for cyclists.

The proposal sadly does nothing to make the main part of Thorndon Quay any safer and I am really disappointed that I have to continue to risk my safety on the evening commute back home, particularly during the darker and wetter winter days when I’ve come closest to having an accident and feel really worried.

I am desperately waiting for a Thorndon Quay that is safe enough for less confident cyclists like myself.  I understand that the Council is considering Aotea Quay as an alternative option, but I would not use that as my commute option as it would add considerable distance and time to my journey.  I am not sure why the Council would want to force me to do so, when in fact in should encourage cycling by providing a network of convenient routes.    I see Thorndon Quay as an important connection for people commuting between Wellington and the northern suburbs and the Hutt Valley.”

It does not need to be perfect.  The important thing is that you have your say!

CAW February Meeting

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Welcome to our first CAW meeting for what will be an exciting year with lots of cycling related initiatives happening around the city.  But also challenges.  So some of the hot topics for this month are

 

 

  • How did Go By Bike Day go?
  • Celebrating cycling: the upcoming Love Cycling Awards
  • e-Bikes on tracks around Wellington
  • Share and be Aware: a Wisconsin perspective
  • Lessons learned from 2017
  • Giving CAW a fresh voice
  • Holiday raves, thumbs up, thumbs down

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday 13 February, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, Forrester Lane.

Submissions: Make your voice heard

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Making personal submissions on cycling related improvements is important!

That is the clear message that we have been hearing from initiatives like Let’s Get Wellington Moving and the various Wellington Urban Cycleway programme initiatives such as at  Kilbernie and Evans Bay.

We are against voting by numbers as this will always disadvantage the needs for minority groups, and we are all for voting through good reasoning.  The more reasonable submissions by individuals, the better the outcome for all.

CAW obviously makes submissions on behalf of all of you, but that doesn’t mean that you should not have to submit your own comments.   Whether it is to explain why the proposed improvements are important to help your own cycle journeys more comfortable, convenient and connected.  Or what aspects you feel are a concern and can be done better.

It only needs to take a few minutes, but can make a long term difference.  So be heard!

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Let’s get Wellington Moving: have your say

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WCC Transport Projects: Have your say on Evans Bay phase 1, and Kilbernie Connections

End of Year CAW meeting

St Nic on bikeLet’s make this a fun final one!

  • PechaKucha-style stories of overseas cycling experiences
  • CAW photo competition results
  • Highlights from 2017 and,
  • Our wish list for 2018

Who knows, Saint Nicolaas (the original Santa Claus) may put in a guest appearance!

Come dressed for the occasion (e.g. lycra santa costume).  All welcome!

Tuesday 5 December, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust, Forrester Lane

Proposals for Hutt Road and Wellington CBD – a quick run-down

WCC have 2 proposals open for submissions until Monday 16 October – extension of the separated path work for Hutt Rd, and a whole set of minor changes for the CBD.
Please make a submission on anything you are interested in. The council would love to hear your individual opinions; here are some starter points to consider.

Hutt Road

We think:
  • The transition to the road opposite Tinakori Road needs to be safe for travel in both directions – bus conflict heading south and crossing difficulty heading North both need improving.
  • Here (and for the whole Hutt Rd project) take care to separate biking and walking areas well. A height difference of planted / tactile boundary would help – different colours may not be enough.
  • The on-road clearway/parking arrangement sounds a sensible way to give businesses parking off the path – but MUST leave enough clearance around business driveways for good visibility between drivers and people cycling on the path.

CBD minor improvements

These cover Featherston St (the block just south of the station), Post Office Square, and crossing Kent & Cambridge Tce near the Basin Reserve.
Some context first – these minor improvements obviously don’t make a big difference to interested-but-concerned potential cyclists, or a connected network across the CBD. That has to wait for the frustratingly slow Lets Get Wellington Moving project – UNLESS someone runs a nice temporary trial…more thoughts on that soon. In the meantime, these minor changes should make a slight improvement for people who already bike around the CBD.
Now to each proposal in turn.

Featherston St

Basically, this replicates the current layout on the previous block, and shares its pros and cons. It’s preferable to what’s there the moment. However, we see this as an interim solution only.
We think:
  • The narrower traffic lanes may help to slow traffic slightly. And the green cycle lane will help to endorse cyclists’ right to claim some space on the road. We’re pleased to see the painted buffer zone to protect cyclists from the ‘door zone’.
  • WCC should add a ‘hook turn’ waiting box at the far corner of the Whitmore/Featherston intersection, clearly signposting it. This will allow a safer right turn from Featherston into Whitmore. This page has more detail: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/walking-cycling-and-public-transport/cycling/cycling-network-guidance/designing-a-cycle-facility/intersections-and-crossings/signalised-intersections/cycle-storage-facilities/. The proposal doesn’t yet provide any solution for the many cyclists needing to turn right into Whitmore Street. They still have to cross two lanes of fast moving traffic.
  • Cars entering and leaving the parallel parks on the left of the road are still a hazard.
  • The way the cycle lane leaves the left of the road to travel between two traffic lanes (at the approach to Whitmore Street) is a design that’s proven to be problematic, both further north on Featherston (at the approach to Bunny Street) and on Victoria Street (on the approach to Vivian Street). This is not a design that we want to see replicated around Wellington. It puts cyclists between two lanes of moving traffic, which can be more dangerous than ‘claiming’ the lane (where vehicles have to follow cyclists rather than pass). With moving traffic on both sides, a 1.6-meter lane seems narrow — there’s little room for error, especially considering the strong side winds that frequently gust around the streets adjacent to the waterfront.
  • Car drivers frequently block this type of cycle lane while trying to change lanes. 
  • This style of cycle lane will be a mild improvement for the cyclists who currently brave the traffic in Wellington – and who deal with having no cycle lane on the next blocks of Featherston St. But it won’t encourage many new riders.

Kent/Cambridge crossing

Info and easy submission form at: http://transportprojects.org.nz/current/central/kent-cambridge-terrace/

As an interim solution, this looks like a good improvement on what exists at the moment. However, we expect to see much more comprehensive solutions for cycling around the Basin and on Kent and Cambridge Terraces as a result of Let’s Get Welly Moving. In particular, we want to see separation between cyclists and pedestrians, as forcing them to share the same space causes conflict.
We support Living Street Aotearoa in saying that shared paths are not a good solution for busy central city routes. We recommend separated paths for cyclists and walkers, which should be do-able with the space available in this area.

Post Office Square

We think:
  • This gives you a way to get from Post Office Square to Queens Wharf  and the waterfront – at the moment you have to ride on a few metres of the square’s pedestrian space.
  • The proposal doesn’t seem to include clear marking – probably more important than the technical right/wrong difference here.
  • The dropped kerbs will smooth out your ride across the Quays road, and probably will help keep people on bikes to an alignment that avoids getting in the way of people on foot.

CAW October Meeting

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  • Updates on WCC initiatives / projects
    • Island Bay cycle way decision
    • Shelly Bay master plan decision
    • Miramar / Kilbernie / Oriental Bay / Thorndon Quay working groups
    • Hutt Road improvements & consultation
    • Other consultations
    • Updates from monthly meeting with WCC cycling project team
  • Shared view on shared paths
  • Reflections from overseas cycling experiences
  • Getting ready for Roll On Wellington cycling awards
  • Thumbs up / thumbs down

Tuesday 3 October, 6-7:30pm, Sustainability Trust shop, Forrester Lane (off Tory St).

Project Glow Wear hits the runway

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One way to avoid the biker’s blight of SMIDSY (Sorry mate, I didn’t see you) is to wear high visibility or reflective clothing. However some people don’t like to look like road workers when they pedal around town. Project Glow Wear provides stylish options for being visible on a bike.

The Project Glow Wear design competition shows how creative you can be with reflective gear and really stand out from the crowd. Get your tickets to the Runway Show in Wellington (Sat 12 August) as this is the place to be seen!

It’s in the underground area beneath Frank Kitts Park, and kicks off at 7:30pm.