Wellington Scoop

Island Bay and the art of compromise


by Diane Calvert
For various reasons, the Island Bay cycleway on The Parade has been fraught since its inception. If you drive down The Parade you can see why.

For me it seems like a champagne idea developed on a beer budget. The local people said to the Wellington City Council that they hadn’t listened to the local community well enough. An independent review in 2016 confirmed this. So later in 2016 and through 2017, the Council worked to rectify the cycleway design. Community workshops were held, ideas were sought, and the Council’s professional advisors developed up 4 new options.

In the past, the mayor and councillors had been accused of interfering with officer-developed options, so we kept well away this time other than saying we wanted a small number of pragmatic options.

We did however oversee the consultation – checking in with community groups on the approach beforehand. The Council wrote to 5500 households in Island Bay and adjacent suburbs and advertised the consultation widely. A pop-up shop in Island Bay was set up to display information about the council’s options and councillors attended at various times to discuss issues one-on-one.

From time to time conversations became agitated. We certainly understood the depth of feeling within the community across a range of views. The Island Bay Residents & Business Associations (IBRA) put forward an alternative view which they called Option E.

We received over 3700 submissions with 53% from Island Bay and a further 13% from neighbouring suburbs. Many submitters didn’t just select an option. They also gave us feedback on what elements they liked or didn’t like. This was extremely helpful in understanding the drivers behind various choices and considering alternatives. We had said up front that it was never just a popularity vote and we wanted to consider future use as well as being able to accommodate a broader range of cyclists.

Approximately 60% of the submitters from Island Bay wanted a roadside option, while 40% wanted kerbside. A compromise was inevitable.

We had both the consultation and the analysis of the submission independently reviewed to assure us that we could rely on the findings.

We invited IBRA to come in and discuss their original eight point Option E so we could understand it better. They further defined their proposal into 34 points.

While officers were analysing the submissions and preparing their own recommendations, the Mayor led independent discussions on a possible compromise solution. The solution would involve kerbside, safety was a key factor, the road would be widened, bus stops sorted and car parks would be retained.

Last week, we thought we were close to a deal. 31 out of the 34 points were either met or close to being met. What remains of the IBRA’s concerns? It seems they believe the outcome of the submissions does not support a compromise. They now want everything put back the way it was except for a small widening of the existing footpath allowing under 12 year olds and accompanying adults to ride on the footpath. They were also not convinced their safety concerns were being addressed.

We have listened to all parts of the local community and are deeply appreciative for their considered feedback and taking their time to engage with us once again. We have also listened to other road users and our professional advisors.

Before this latest consultation, I was leaning towards putting it back. However after listening to all perspectives and the possibilities that the width of The Parade allows, I fully support the Mayor’s compromise solution – all 31 points.

The road and cycleway is not fit for purpose. We can do better and we should – for a broader range of the community. I asked myself if I lived on a street like The Parade would I settle for this compromise, and yes I would.

The local community and the wider city want to move on. We know we won’t be able to please everyone and we have made our decision after extensive engagement and in the best interests of both the community and the city. That’s what we have been elected to do.

When the original cycleway was put in, the Council resolution was passed by just one vote. This time it was passed with 13 out of 14 votes. The Mayor and Councillors are united in getting the best solution for as many people as possible.

I hope all parts of the Island Bay community will continue to work with us to refine the solution through to detailed design, and finally get that high quality footpath, cycleway and road on The Parade that’s long overdue.

Diane Calvert is a Wellington City Councillor for the Onslow-Western Ward. She is portfolio leader for community planning and engagement.


  1. Rumpole, 1. October 2017, 11:43

    The Land Transport Act definition for a bicycle is a “vehicle”. Their proper place is on the roadway. The Island Bay Parade upheaval for a few cyclists is unwarranted.

  2. Simon, 1. October 2017, 18:05

    $100,000 per cyclist for a 10 minute ride. A waste of council time. money and resources.

  3. Michael, 1. October 2017, 19:59

    Next we will be having skateboard tracks for all those who skateboard along the roads in the city these days.

  4. Concerned Wellingtonian, 2. October 2017, 7:23

    I do not think that skateboard tracks are a starter. There are two reasons for my thinking on this, firstly because Celia Wade-Brown seems to prefer cycling and secondly because she has “stepped down” from being Mayor.

  5. Kerry, 2. October 2017, 11:41

    A recent paper showed that in 2012, NZ road transport was responsible for about 650 deaths: 308 in crashes and 342 from health effects. The health effects were broken down as 218 from particulate matter, 65 from nitrogen dioxide and 59 from noise. Research like this cannot be fully accurate, but neither can it be dismissed as nonsense; it is ‘reasonably consistent’ with overseas results.

    Other overseas research indicates that for every dollar paid to run a bicycle, the community benefits by a dollar, mostly health benefits. For every dollar paid to run a car, the community spends nine dollars, mostly on ‘free’ car parking and health costs. The health costs include most cycle crashes because few of them are the cyclist’s fault—the risks are too obvious.

    Converting a traffic lane to a cycleway or busway increases its people-carrying capacity at least five-fold. The Dutch were onto this in the 1970s and many other cities are following. London is promoting cycling, including ‘superhighways’ and is anticipating more cyclists than cars and taxis, within a decade.

    Half of all local road costs are paid from rates, which cyclists also pay.

    Road ‘improvements’ have for many years been improvements for motorists, often making the road more dangerous for other users. So what is the justification for continuing such a trend?