Wellington Scoop

City councillors vote to seek $24m for cycling and walking improvements

News from Wellington City Council
Wellington City Councillors today unanimously agreed to an approach aimed at securing up to $24 million in Government funding for walking and cycling improvements in the city’s southern suburbs – Island Bay, Berhampore, Newtown and Mt Cook.

The approach will see essential road maintenance carried out in Island Bay before Christmas, but the redesign of The Parade postponed until an integrated plan for improvements between the south coast and city has been agreed next year.

Mayor Justin Lester says the Council and the Government are committed to making Wellington become an easier and safer place to get around by bike, and today’s unanimous decision by the City Strategy Committee reflects that.

“We have been working very closely with the NZ Transport Agency in recent years to achieve this shared goal, including having ongoing discussions in recent months about the best way to maximise funding in the south of the city.

“The new Government, through its Policy Statement on Land Transport, announced in June that it plans to invest significantly more money making walking and biking safer and easier.

“It has more than doubled the available funding and increased the financial assistance rate to local authorities, which means Councils like ours have an opportunity to get more work done without needing more ratepayer money.”

The Council has previously approved $8 million in ratepayer funding to improve connections in the south of the city between now and 2021, including the agreed redesign of The Parade in Island Bay.

“Working with the Agency and Government, we can potentially fund up to $32 million worth of changes in these areas by 2021, with the Council paying 25 percent and NZTA potentially paying up to 75 percent,” the Mayor says. “It would be remiss of us not to be taking their advice on how we can achieve the best for the city and get our share of this increased funding.”

The Council is working towards an integrated plan for high-quality biking and walking connections from the south coast to the city – including the Island Bay improvements – for which it aims to achieve signoff from NZTA by mid-2019.

Councillor Sarah Free, the Council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking and Cycling, says a second round of discussion with the community to help develop connected bike routes in and through Berhampore, Newtown and Mt Cook is due to start in mid-November.

“Of the 775 people who provided initial feedback in June, 85 percent thought it was important or very important to make it easier and safer for people to bike in and around the wider Newtown Connections area,” she says.

“It’s always been planned that the Island Bay bike paths would form the southern end of a wider southern bike network. We’re now at a point where those wider connections are being planned.”

In the meantime, the following maintenance work will happen on The Parade over the next couple of months:

· Repainting the centre line and right-turning bays from Dee to Reef streets

· Removing redundant road markings from intersections and other asphalted areas

· Any necessary road repairs between Dee and Tamar streets so this block can be resealed in early 2019.

The Council is in the early stages of developing a connected citywide bike network to make it possible for more people of all ages and abilities to choose to make some trips by bike. It has prioritised work in the eastern and southern suburbs, and from the north along Hutt Road, over the first few years as these are the areas where there is expected to be the greatest uptake when safer, connected facilities are in place.

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  1. Island Bay Cycleway, 18. October 2018, 15:31

    I was thoroughly impressed by the various comments made in support of this by WgtnCC councillors this morning. Not only were they positive, they were very well informed. It really feels like we are all starting to understand what we are collectively trying to achieve. [via twitter]

  2. Sarah Free, 18. October 2018, 16:35

    Thanks to staff for hard work done on this over many months and to colleagues for their support.

  3. Paul, 18. October 2018, 17:03

    Backslapping from the cycling fraternity. $10m more being pumped into IB cycleway that was never needed and is hardly used. The cost/benefit analysis on that piece of road would be an interesting read. The latest brilliant innovation is a 10 metre strip of cycleway on Bowen Street, that starts and finishes randomly midway along the road. utterly useless.

  4. aom, 18. October 2018, 22:02

    Re Sarah Free’s comment: Who created the expensive stuff-up in the first place? Surely not the same hard working staff was it? Guess this is another councillor who won’t incur the wrath of the Mayor by questioning the competence of overpaid management and the CEO.

  5. Anabel, 19. October 2018, 7:19

    The council’s cycle-way stuff ups that cost us so much debt are a shameful thing, hardly a matter for self congratulatory backslapping.

  6. Richard, 19. October 2018, 13:22

    Great news! With the fuel prices going up and the increasing congestion, it only makes sense to invest in alternative modes of transport (24million is still very little compared to what is being spend on roads for cars). I bet a connected cycle route from the CBD to the south will see an immense uptake of cycling. Currently it is quite a dangerous route once you get to the end of the Island Bay Cycleway and you have to get through Berhampore and Newtown. Can’t wait for this to happen.

  7. Erina, 19. October 2018, 15:51

    Oh dear!!!!! The cycleway to nowhere getting a revamp to become another cycleway to nowhere and we the ratepayer have to fork out yet again.

  8. Cecil Roads, 19. October 2018, 16:41

    I invested in alternative transport when I was 14 and I didn’t need a subsidy from the Government! What is wrong with the human race. Just buy a bicycle – they are not expensive, and ownership means you will look after it. $24 million to me equates to 24,000 bicycles that could have been bought by the tax money had it not been collected by the “we know what’s best for you Government”.

  9. Andrew, 19. October 2018, 16:54

    Please do not push the cycleway through residential Adelaide Rd/Berhampore. The back street alternatives that have been raised are far more attractive to me as a cyclist.

  10. luke, 20. October 2018, 9:26

    hurry up and build a cycleway into town. It will be a lot more popular than the isolated one currently is.

  11. Jonny Utzone, 21. October 2018, 7:27

    Luke – start a trend – put your bicycle on the rack on the front of the buses. I’ve only seen one bicycle loaded so far in 3 months. Has anybody else seen any?

  12. Glen Smith, 21. October 2018, 20:59

    Congratulations to Sarah Free and the staff on progressing the much needed cycle network across our city.
    Erina. Island Bay doesn’t have be a ‘cycleway to nowhere’. There are options for a high quality almost fully segregated cycleway all the way to the CBD (see my article of 16 July). The existing cycleway should be altered to be a dual cycleway on the West side of the Parade (see comments in article of 27 Sept 2017), an option that was never even considered (sorry Sarah but this is a basic flaw in planning procedures).
    Cecil. The $24 million isn’t to buy bikes but for the cycling infrastructure (a bit like the $3 billion for Transmission Gully isn’t to buy cars). You say you dont need a subsidy from the Government and yet you continue to get a huge subsidy to drive your car (equivalent to at least $120 per week for a family of 4 – happy to supply research references)
    With new road construction approaching $49 per lane km the $24 million would only buy about 250 metres of new dual roading capacity (something the NZTA seems very happy to pay for in large quantities). It will be a struggle to get proper cycleways built across the whole of the southern suburbs on this budget and I suspect that, rather than taking a ‘do it once and do it right’ approach, inferior options will be pursued that will then require revisiting (with the resulting further waste of money). Cycleways have a much higher capacity than equivalent new road capacity and should be funded to the same level.

  13. Cecil Roads, 22. October 2018, 7:34

    Glen every dollar spent on a painting green lines and symbols on roads and weaving paths around lamp posts for a cycleway then inviting the public’s views and then undoing the infrastructure is money that could be spent on something useful like buying a bicycle or planting a tree or buying a prescription from a doctor or a new pair of shoes …. I suppose they are ‘make-work schemes’ for our underemployed councilors and officers.

  14. Manny, 22. October 2018, 7:43

    @Anabel yes it sounds very wrong following what has occurred in Island Bay. The WCC roadmania & cyclemania is mania non the less set up for another of the debt creation schemes. @Glen unfortunately for us the council don’t “do it once and do it right” as the expensive munted Island Bay cycle-way shows us.

  15. Barbs, 22. October 2018, 10:22

    Hey Glen Smith I pay for using the roads. Haven’t you noticed the fuel excise went up last month? When did cyclists ever pay a cent for using their cycle paths. It’s all central govt tax and ratepayer money.

  16. Andrew, 22. October 2018, 15:42

    Barbs, where exactly do you think central government money and ratepayer money comes from? I pay both and ride a bike now and then and do not mind if my contributions go towards bike infrastructure. In the same way I do not mind if my money goes towards footpaths (do pedestrians pay??) parks, sports fields, etc, even though I do not use most of these facilities.

  17. Glen Smith, 23. October 2018, 8:48

    Cecil. Your last comment is facetious. What logical argument do you propose against funding high quality segregated cycleways to the same level as new road funding? If we were to achieve the same level of cycle use as many overseas cities, then we would likely produce the same (or greater) increase in across town transport capacity as the proposed across town roading plans but at a tiny fraction of the cost. Why would you argue against this other than because you have an illogical irrational bias towards cars?
    Barbs. You pay a part of the cost to society of running your car (likely 50% or less of the total costs depending on what ‘external’ costs you count) – the rest is picked up by everybody else. I don’t begrudge you this subsidy that I pay for you to use your car but would like to see my preferred mode of transport funded to the same level. Or is that too much to ask?

  18. Cecil Roads, 23. October 2018, 10:18

    How about a tax on bicycles and e-bicycles to part fund bike lanes? Say $50 a bicycle? My guesstimate is that 25,000 bicycles are bought a year in NZ. (Please prove me wrong someone). So at $50, the tax would raise $1.25 million.

  19. greenwelly, 23. October 2018, 12:26

    @Cecil , you are woefully underestimating bike sales. In 2012 it was over 200K, it will still be around that number. There were 20K e-bikes sold in 2017 alone (and quarterly imports have tripled from Q2 2017 to Q2 2018).

  20. Dave B, 23. October 2018, 13:09

    Problem is the whole motorised-road-transport mode is so damned dangerous. That is what needs fixing. Bring road-safety standards up to those set by the Dept of Labour for pretty-much any other industry and then you probably wouldn’t need separate bike lanes. They are only necessary because cyclists have been bullied off the public roads by inadequately-regulated motor traffic.
    But as long as the roads remain so ridiculously dangerous (to everyone, not just cyclists), then motor-vehicle users should pay the full costs of mitigation (including cycleways).

  21. Cecil Roads, 23. October 2018, 21:13

    Thanks GreenWelly – with 200,000 bicycles purchased a year and taxed at $50 each to pay for cycleways, the annual revenue could amount to $10 million. Would help to reduce the increase in my rates bill.

  22. Andrew, 23. October 2018, 21:42

    Cecil, the gst component of a $1500.00 bike is $225.00. I think fifteen percent tax on a mode of transport that reduces the amount of cars on the road is enough. Note that $1500.00 is fairly conservative, one pays a lot more than that for an e bike.

  23. Glen Smith, 23. October 2018, 22:49

    Cecil. Paying a $50 tax would only act to increase even further the large net subsidy you receive to drive your car. I would be happy for you to return some of this subsidy – this could go towards lowering the price of bikes to encourage people to cycle and so reduce pollution, global warming, obesity etc.
    Having said that, if funding for cycling increases so that it becomes a level playing field I would then be happy to pay something extra (this would have to be a huge increase so not much chance of that). You could reduce your rates and taxes a lot more by opposing roading projects and support building the same transport capacity as cycleways.

  24. Cecil Roads, 24. October 2018, 6:22

    Andrew and Glen – the most bicycles I see are on car racks on weekends and holidays. Sometimes 4 bicycles are racked on one car which with my tax would reap $200. So not only would my tax help pay for building and maintaining cycleways in NZ’s bush (that damage the tracks and environment) but it would pay for the roads that get them there. A double whammy. Oh and in terms of GST, I paid a heap on my car when I got it restored recently and of course I continue to pay GST on my fuel excise. Another double tax whammy.

  25. Andrew, 24. October 2018, 9:35

    Gosh, where to stop with taxing? Shoes (pedestrians on a public footpath), rugby balls and kites (using public parks). As for the bush trails, a lot of them are built and maintained by volunteers.

  26. kerry, 24. October 2018, 9:37

    —All cyclists except tourists already pay road taxes, because half the cost of local roads comes from rates.
    —Surveys for LGWM show that a high proportion of Wellington residents would cycle if they thought it safe.
    —The reason why cyclists need cycle lanes is that car drivers are incapable of sharing road-space safely. (Or is that ‘unwilling’?)
    —Converting a traffic lane for exclusive use by cyclists increases its people-carrying capacity about six-fold.
    —Cycling brings very large benefits to both individuals and society: reduced pollution, congestion and emissions, greater safety, and above all, public health benefits because people are getting regular exercise.
    —Re-allocating road-space for walking, cycling and public transport are the only effective, let alone cost-effective, ways to reduce urban congestion.

    Cecil’s double-tax whammy is trivial: he ain’t seen nuffink yet. Carbon taxes must come soon, and an estimated reasonable rate is about NZ$60/ton. If he tries converting that into $/litre, he will find that the GST on getting his bike restored is a very good deal.

  27. Cecil Roads, 24. October 2018, 11:42

    Kerry I have three bikes, one from when I was 18 (my first one was stolen) and the second is 20 years old. My third is a road bike but I’m getting a bit too old for it. I use them a lot on common carrier highways aka standard roads.

  28. Paul, 24. October 2018, 17:11

    @ kerry: “Converting a traffic lane for exclusive use by cyclists increases its people-carrying capacity about six-fold.” While it may increase the capacity (not sure of the source or validity of that dodgy statistic) it decreases its actual use, from well utilised to tumbleweed collector. It also removes all capacity for freight and service vehicles, and restricts access for the elderly and disabled. But don’t let that stop a minority hijacking our city in the dream that it will suddenly become Copenhagen.

  29. Glen Smith, 24. October 2018, 17:13

    Cecil. The number of cyclists in Wellington is low compared to car users (ranked 208th in the world in 2014 in terms of percentage – see http://www.cityclock.org/urban-cycling-mode-share/#.W8_lgFUzaUk ) but this tells us nothing about the potential ridership given the right technology and infrastucture. Between 1898 when the first car was introduced into NZ (allowed to go up to 12mph!) and the 1940s/50s we saw the ‘Golden Age of Rail’. This wasn’t because people, given the right conditions, didn’t want to drive but because car technology and more importantly road infrastructure was lacking. Most roads were gravel and many only rutted tracks. What changed this was improved car technology and, more importantly, infrastructure.
    The same can happen with cycles. E-bikes are undergoing an almost exponential evolution and, given the right infrastructure, there is no reason we couldn’t achieve the cycle mode share percentages seen at the top of the table (commonly 20-30% and up to 40-50%).
    The Tonkin and Taylor report identified only 5% of the population as ‘dedicated cyclists’ (fig 4 , page 5) but 33% as ‘safe cyclists’ – characterised as “Safety-related factors are the most influential for safe cyclists when deciding to cycle. This is the largest group that will be likely to start cycling if improvements to infrastructure are made.” Even in the next category of ‘likely cyclists’ (12%) the study identified that ” a large percentage would cycle more often if infrastructure were improved.”
    Based on these research figures, I once again ask you what logical argument do you propose against funding high quality segregated cycleways to the same level as new road funding?

  30. Cecil Roads, 24. October 2018, 20:13

    Glen – Some good news for you. Like all my meetings in town – I rode my 20 year old bicycle to my meeting today and locked my bicycle next to a lamp-post. No extra facilities needed. Economical or what?

  31. Kerry, 24. October 2018, 20:33

    Paul. My ‘six-fold’ figure came from the Global Street Design Guide, published in 2016 by the Global Designing Cities Initiative (world-wide cities including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) and NACTO (a US cities group). Section 1.7 gives the capacity of a 3 m lane (not the total vehicle capacity in a 3 m lane) as:
    –Private motor vehicles 600-1600 persons/hr
    –Two way protected bikeway 6500–7500 persons/hr
    The ratio of the average figures is 1:6.36, call it six-fold

    —You claim a decreases actual use. This seems very unlikely, because other road space fills up to capacity: what evidence do you have? If cycling is faster than driving, AND safe, cycle lanes will fill up too. Transport for London has built very successful cycling ‘superhighways’ and expects to see more people on cycles than in cars within a decade.
    In Wellington this kind of suppressed demand is shown by LGWM’s Online public opinion transport survey, April/May 2018, p 43. Among other proposed solutions was “Create a network of cycle lanes,” and the percentages of wellingtonians for and against was:
    Inner Wellington city, 53% for, 20% against
    Outer Wellington city, 47% for, 28% against
    Rest of Wellington region, 42% for, 27% against
    If you are still not convinced, try videos of Dutch cycle routes. Or Copenhagen if you prefer.

    —You claim such a lane “…also removes all capacity for freight and service vehicles, and restricts access for the elderly and disabled.” Let me get this right. You are saying that increasing the capacity of one lane six-fold will remove all capacity for all other purposes? On all other lanes? On all other streets? For all users except cyclists? Really?

    —Similarly, public transport will attract drivers to buses and trains, as well as cars. Transport for London has demonstrated that one too.