Let’s Get Wellington Moving

There’s some incredible stuff coming out of LGWM at the moment, with the first two rounds of in-depth consultation focusing on changes to make the central city much more people-friendly. This consultation closes this Sunday, 15th December. Have your say to make sure that the LGWMers know that this is what Wellingtonians want.

NZTA have gone with their funky map-based feedback machine to get feedback on Let’s Get Wellington Moving, which is amazing if you have a while to spare poring over maps of Wellington. However, it’s Kirihimete/Christmas so if time is not on your side there’s a TL;DR version

Hit these links which jump you straight through to the easy form-based feedback sections:

https://lgwm.nz/goldenmile/#e55

http://lgwm.nz/saferspeeds/#e56

These are great for overall feedback. The simplest comment you could put here is “Yes, do it already!”, both for improving the Golden Mile and for bringing city centre speeds down to a safer 30km/h. Two minutes and you’re done.

Still reading and have time for an in-depth submission? Here are some pointers, please let us know in the comments if you spot anything we’ve missed:

Golden Mile

This consultation gathers your ideas but doesn’t set out any concrete plans.
They say:

We want to make it better for people walking and on bikes, and give buses more priority

We say:

  • Separated cycle lanes to keep less confident riders away from buses, with well signposted, comfortable alternative routes where space is limited
  • Intersections are too intimidating for vulnerable road users and these people need safer means to change lanes and turn into other roads with clear right of way to drivers behind them. A suggestion is to make protected intersections with dedicated space and priority lights for people on foot, bikes, and scooters.
  • Giving people riding e-scooters and bikes a safer road space helps to keep pedestrians out of harm’s way
  • Make the Golden Mile for buses, bikes, scooters and people on foot
  • Allow goods deliveries in time windows outside of peak hours
  • If the Golden Mile is made car-free then design and enforcement will need to work together to make this a reality
  • Continuous walking along the route wherever possible – by closing side-street ends like Bond and Grey streets, and where a street crosses with through traffic give green walk signals with minimum interruption (like some of Featherston side streets)
  • Changing flow around Boulcott/Willis/Mercer/Victoria somehow to make life better for everyone

Te Aro Park, Golden Mile – what would make you more likely to ride here?

Safer speeds

This consulation proposes a 30km/h limit for the city centre – effectively everything within Karo Dive/Cambridge Terrace/the Quays apart from Vivian Street, extending North as far as the station.

We say:

  • This should be implemented for non-arterial CBD roads, and is already or is becoming the norm for cities around the world
  • Lower speeds make it feel safer or will make it more feasible for people on bikes and e-scooters to share the road
  • This needs to go hand in hand with road design features that naturally slow down the speed and clearly tell drives to give priority to vulnerable road users
  • Clearly there is a push for priority bus lanes through the CBD and this is where we expect separated cycle lanes
  • No easy suggestions how to deal with this but consideration needs to be given to people on bikes (e.g. road and electric bikes) and e-scooters who can and typically will try to travel faster than 30km/hr. This will give frustration to other road users who are keeping to the speed restrictions
  • Some roads feel too fast for 30km/h today, but these streets also have plenty of people living on them, walking on them and biking on them. They deserve safety too, and road design changes will help the lower speeds feel more natural here. The LGWM programme needs to show that these streets will be used for living, working, shopping and playing in future, so lower speeds are appropriate.
  • For central streets that remain at 50km/h (eg Quays, Kent & Cambridge, Vivian) use protected bike lanes to achieve 2 things – safer biking, and more separation between footpaths and moving traffic
  • Enforce new speed limits with cameras at high traffic volume / high risk places – do the same on the 50km/h arterial roads too
  • Green-waves for traffic lights so that people travelling below 30km/h don’t need to stop as often – making speeding futile

Taranaki Street – lots of space for living, working, playing, eating, partying – 30km/h makes sense to pave the way for new uses

Stay positive!

It’s tempting to use a consultation exercise as an opportunity to vent. However, we think a good submission should be really positive and future focused, try to imagine the Wellington you’d happily take your mates for a ride around next summer!

From all of us at Paihikara ki Pōneke/Cycle Wellington, Meri Kirihimete, Merry Christmas and enjoy riding your bike over the holidays. Looking forward to an amazing 2020!

The new Newtown Countdown

So the new Countdown opened today in Newtown. Have you been there yet? Looks pretty fancy. It’s the reason cycling through Newtown has been even more like a video game than usual.

I thought I’d check it out on my way home, as I needed a loaf of bread anyway. Luckily, I was in my car today, as the new Countdown doesn’t seem to cater for cyclists.

I know it’s been discussed amongst many in the neighbourhood and the cycling community, what a nuisance the roadworks have been, how they’ve endangered pedestrians and cyclists, how they don’t seem to have thought much about congestion, etc. etc. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised once it opened. I was not.

I sat for about three minutes outside Countdown on John St. I’d already given up on using the Hanson St entrance as the vehicle turning bay only fits three cars and was already full. After two light cycles I made it around the corner to attempt a right turn from Adelaide Road into the car-park. Of course the oncoming traffic lane was blocked with a long queue of traffic waiting at the lights (heading north). After some friendly manoeuvring they managed to make a gap for me. I’m sure that’s just teething issues, right?

The car-park looks very fancy. And, there’s two levels! I know… two whole levels of underground car-parking goodness. At a rough estimate, I’d say there were about 200 parks. Flash! No expense has been spared getting into the supermarket either – you have the choice of elevators or escalators. None of these old-fashioned energy-saving stairs. Not here!

Being opening day, they had people at every entrance helpfully giving out maps and generally being helpful. So, I thought I’d ask one where the bike parks were. I hadn’t spotted any so far in my partial circumnavigation of this brand new Newtown landmark.

Alas! The first helpful helper didn’t know. But she thought there were some on Hanson St, and Customer Services would know for sure. Optimisically, I found the bread and went along to Customer Services.

“Do you have any bike parks?” I asked cheerfully.

*blank stares*

“Places to park your bike?” I tried, thinking they might not have understood.

I may as well have asked where to land my spaceship. “No,” they replied. They did not.

So how does a fancy new building like this, which has changed the geography of Newtown and access to Wellington’s southern suburbs quite significantly, get approved without any cycling facilities? None. Nada. (Never mind the congestion which is inevitable. We can all see it – I’m just not sure if the WCC can?). Don’t they have to get permits and approval from the Council? Surely, somewhere in the Councils building guidelines there is some condition about large new buildings with excessive amounts of parking and causing ridiculous amounts of congestion should have alternative transport facilities? (To be fair, there are some motorbike parks.)

I’m about to investigate further, and will let you know what I find out. But until I hear more, please do read what Countdown has to say about their ‘new generation stores‘:

“We’re working harder than ever to make our stores greener,” says Managing Director Peter Smith. “In fact, Progressive is committed to helping to achieve an overall 40% reduction in our company’s carbon footprint by 2015 (on projected growth levels), bringing our emissions back to 2006 levels.”

With this goal in mind, Progressive is introducing tried and true sustainable principles to reduce the environmental footprint of all stores.

Hmm…

If you’re curious about how they intend to meet those goals, without any thought about transport, please feel free to ask them. The best contact details I can find are:

Phone the Customer Care Centre: 0800 40 40 40

Alternatively, please email your query or comments to customerinfo@countdown.co.nz

 

***UPDATE***

I put a cheeky post on Countdown’s facebook page yesterday and promptly got a response. Unfortunately it wasn’t telling me I had overlooked the bike racks. But they say they’re onto it. Let’s hope so.

 

***FURTHER UPDATE***

After some investigation Countdown has informed me that they do have bike parking. (Perhaps they should share this information with the staff, as I’m sure they’ve told them that they have car parking?) After some searching, I found them. Tucked away in the corner on level 1 of the carpark. Access is via the car park ramp, then around half the car park and to your left just before you exit again. Up a step, or if you’re lucky and don’t have wide panniers, or a cargo bike, you may be able to squeeze through to use the little ramp (shown in 3rd pic). They are possibly my least favourite design – not conducive to leaning a step-through frame against them, and with angular metal edges which chip nicely at your paintwork. (Also, I know it’s not so much of an issue in NZ… yet, but those bolts look like they could easily be undone and your bike stolen along with the rack – it happens frequently in Europe where these types of racks wouldn’t last more than a week.)

So there you have it, tucked away in an awkward, out-of-sight corner but not completely forgotten, there are bike racks. It really is a shame they still seem like such an after-thought.

  

Why we need our cycling champions in local government

A good film made even better by Irish accents. 2 minutes 43 is never enough when listening to the Irish.

This is a good opportunity to thank the people working for cycling in our local and regional councils. Claire and Simon at Greater Wellington, Emma and Paul at WCC, and all the other people in the region whose names I don’t know (I hope there are some!), thank you.

Now, if the decision-makers would give them proper budgets relative to their importance to the city that would be most helpful.

Vote Bike for Wellington

Unity has had this really good idea for Auckland. I rather think Wellington deserves some too. If the following sounds good to you, click the link and add some weight.

I want to be able to ride my bike around Wellington and feel safe and accepted; I want children to be able to ride their bikes to school; I want cycling to be mainstream; I want riding a bicycle to be a simple, practical choice for my friends, family and whanau.

The Vote Bike for Wellington petition is now live. Spread the word!

Wellington 2040 – transport cycling success

Next week Wellington City Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee will consider the recommendations contained in the nattily titled report Wellington 2040 City Strategy and Central City Framework: Feedback from Public Engagement. OK so that’s not actually a natty title.

Excitingly (yes, Council reports can be exciting), recomendation 1(b)(v) is that WCC alters the 2040 plan to “Strengthen focus on mixed modal transport options, including support for… safe cycling… infrastructure.” The report’s recommendations grew out of public consultation that expressed a number of common themes, including “desire for commitment to and improvements in public transport and cycling and walking accessibility in the city”. See, I told you it was exciting!

I haven’t read the public submissions, but I’d be interested to know whether they focussed on improving cycling infrastructure or whether there was a general desire for easier cycling and Council officers have thought “I know what that means, that means infrastructure!”

While I’m a big supporter of generous amounts of high-quality cycling infrastructure – and no-one is better placed to implement that than a council, I’d also like to see councils in our region step up to the cycling culture challenge. Infrastructure is great once you’re on a bike and riding to work or school or the shops or wherever, but what gets people on bikes is being able to identify with other people who ride for transport.

So what could councils do to give people that opportunity to think “I could do that”? How can councils work towards the cultural utopia pictured below? Suggestions so far include putting in some fun, attention-getting bike parking, and passing a bylaw making helmets optional. But what else is there? Answers on the back of a postcard, or in the comments box.

By Apoikola (Own work) [CC0 (creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Bus lanes – buses love ‘em! But they could be better for bikes.

Wellington City Council are currently consulting on their bus priority plan. They’re doing some good things over there in terms of improving transport and creating more bus lanes is another one for the list. Hooray for bus lanes!

Now, I hate to be that annoying person that follows positive statements with a ‘but’ -….but……

This plan has some major implications for cyclists – here’s why. (Have a read and then submit your own thoughts here ). Submissions due Tuesday Sept 6, 5pm.

The bus lanes are sensibly planned for the key arterial roads into the CBD, where the busiest traffic exists. This network of roads is also known as the strategic cycling network, and has been recognised in the Regional Cycling Plan as the focus for making improvements to cycling as a mode of transport. These bus lanes are Wellington City Council’s plan for improving cycling on these routes, with no significant plans for alternative routes currently on the agenda.

I’m sure most cyclists would be very supportive of off-road or separated facilities for cyclists on these routes, and Cycle Aware Wellington will continue to advocate for these. However, if these bus lanes are what are proposed in lieu of separate facilities, we really need to give more thought to how they’ll affect all of the users in the shared user arrangement.

A survey Cycle Aware Wellington undertook earlier in 2011 indicated that most cyclists do not currently see bus lanes as a cycling solution – it just feels unsafe. For new cyclists on the road, riding in a bus lane is kind of reminiscent of that Tyrannosaurus Rex chasing the jeep in Jurassic Park (or, you know, something else big and scary).

Attitudes between bus drivers and cyclists are sometimes strained and while efforts to improve these are afoot, road design, rather than education campaigns, is best placed to ease this strain.

So here are a few ideas for getting the best bang for our cycling buck out of these bus lanes:

  • Review of best practice for sharing. Cycle Aware Wellington hasn’t had time do a comprehensive review of best practice for sharing bike/bus lanes, but we really think WCC needs to do one.
  • Signage. If the bus lanes are also going to be the bike lanes – we need them to say that! Signing bus/bike lanes as ‘Bus and Bike lanes’ both on the road and on signposts is common practice overseas and would be a great improvement on the current situation. See how they did it here?

This would give cyclists much more confidence sharing these lanes with buses and would make us slightly more comfortable with them being referred to as the cycle network. Yes, taxis and motorcycles are also allowed in these lanes but by signing the two most extreme users, the most vulnerable and the largest vehicle, everybody will win in terms of safety.

 

  • Adequate lane width. A bus lane width of 4m is recommended as the minimum width for shared bus/bike lanes with 4.5 recommended in other places. Lane widths of between 3.1m and 4m are the worst for cyclists as it feels like its safe to pass, but its not. If these bus/bike lane widths cannot be provided, we need to think of something else for cyclists along that route. Where lanes are less than 3.1m (as most of them are planned), there’s even more reason to sign them as shared on the roadway.
  • Let’s do something AWESOME for Kent/Cambridge Tce. “Wellington streets are too narrow for cycle lanes”. Really? Kent and Cambridge are amongst the widest streets in Wellington with parking on four sides, bus lanes, at least two lanes of traffic in each direction and significant space running down the middle. They are the perfect location for Wellington City Council to implement a showcase piece of roading, serving all transport modes using best practice techniques. The image used to illustrate WCC’s 2040 vision had it all figured out.

 

Imagining this street makes my knees shake with excitement.

So basically, bus lanes are a stellar idea and can provide benefits for cyclists by creating convenient routes with less traffic. BUT! Where bus lanes provide benefits for cyclists, careful consideration of their design and implementation to accommodate cyclists has taken place – so let’s make sure that happens.

Don’t forget to give your feedback on the bus priority plan by Tuesday Sept 6, 5pm at: www.wellington.govt.nz/haveyoursay/publicinput/buslanes/2011-08-traffic-buslanes.php

Claire Pascoe

Chair, Cycle Aware Wellington 

WCC consultation on Courtenay/Kent/Cambridge bus lanes proposal

Wellington City Council would like your views on a proposed traffic resolution to extend the city’s network of bus lanes along Courtenay Place, Kent and Cambridge terraces and Adelaide Road.

Bus lanes can be used by cyclists, so have your say at www.wellington.govt.nz/haveyoursay/publicinput/buslanes/2011-08-traffic-buslanes.html Closing date 6 September.

How to trigger the traffic lights with your bike

CAN is working on a Respect: Stop at Red campaign.

It’s a campaign to reduce crashes and improve the status of cycling in the eyes of the public and policy-makers, and to tackle the attitudes of those cyclists whose behaviour perpetuates the image of cyclists as irresponsible.

At yesterday’s inquest into the death of Steve Fitzgerald, the Coroner noted CAN’s request for changes in road user training and behaviour, then mentioned the unfavourable impression caused by bikers who run red lights.

I’d appreciate any feedback on this video (also at at stopatred.org.nz).

Wellington City Council’s response: the future

This is the second part of the Council’s response to Lesley’s post.


Upcoming work:

Later this year Council will consider the next stage of the cities bus priority network; this could see the introduction of shared bus/cycle lanes on Kent and Cambridge Terraces, Taranaki Street and southbound on Adelaide Road.

Officers are working closely with NZTA to secure good cycling provision though the Basin Reserve and tunnel duplication projects.

Officers have developed a series of improvements to traffic signals on routes into and out of the city, these improvements include advanced cycle stop boxes and where possible feeder lanes to these stop boxes. We will roll these out route by route or take advantage of other works at an intersection.

We have developed a storm water sump detail that is friendlier to cyclists as the grates are not parallel with the kerb; these will be installed on a case by case basis, and we have a list of sumps to progressively work through but would like cyclists to report particularly bad cases.

In coming months an improvement will be made to the exit to Spotlight, to reduce the number of crashes involving cyclists. This work has cost approximately $250,000.

As winter approaches and daylight savings ends we will be out again working with the NZ Police to remind cyclists about the importance of being seen at night.

We will continue to fund cycle training and support campaigns that highlight the needs of all road users.

There is very limited funding for the installation of new cycle stands and often limited space to install stands on footpaths, however we do consider all requests on a case by case basis. The project currently underway to upgrade lower Cuba Street will see the introduction of a number of new cycle stands.

To report a fault, request cleaning or maintenance contact Council on 499 4444 or email info@wcc.govt.nz for general cycling enquiries or suggestions email cycling@wcc.govt.nz

Launch of the Great Harbour Way, a project the Council is keen to see developed

Wellington City Council’s response: the story so far

The Council has responded to our post of Lesley’s letter to Cr Pepperell. It’s a fairly lengthy response so I’ve posted the first part here and the second part, which addresses future plans, will be posted separately.


Progress on the 2008 Cycling Policy as at March 2011. To date:

Considerable effort has been put in to improve the city’s worst performing cycle route between Ngauranga and Featherston Street, work along this route has included:

  • Thorndon Quay clearway for southbound morning cyclists, including the associated pedestrian crossing
  • New lane arrangements and advanced cycle stop box approaching Bunny Street
  • Highlighting potential conflict points with green surfacing on both the Hutt Road shared path and on Thorndon Quay

 

Commuters contend with angle parking along Thorndon Quay. Image credit: WCC

We have removed parking on the seaward side of Evans Bay Parade through Balaena Bay to complete the on road cycle lane between the Oriental Bay shared path and the Greta Point – Miramar shared path.

We are currently consulting on a proposal to lower the speed limit on Oriental Parade and around the northern Miramar Peninsula roads of Shelly Bay, Massey and Karaka Bay. The proposed 40kmh speed limit is being recommended as a means to improve both areas for cyclists and pedestrians and indicates to drivers that there are other road users whose needs have been considered.

We have commenced work on the Tawa shared cycle path. The Shared Path will provide a safer cycling route and encourage more people to get about on foot or by bike. The five-kilometre path from Willowbank Park to Kenepuru Station will link to nearby streets, the shopping centre and other key spots like railway stations, schools, recreational areas and parks. The path will be 3m wide where possible. The path will eventually link through to Porirua Station. The project is expected to cost $3.5M and will take 7 years to complete.

We have supported the initiative of bells on bikes and have run a campaign highlighting the need to share pathways and gave away a free bell.

We have run a series of adult cycle training days and are working with a number of schools to help deliver cycle training to primary school aged children.

Cycle skills training course for parents and kids at Lyall Bay. Image credit: WCC