Wellington Scoop

What Wellington walkers can expect from new councillors

News from Living Streets
Living Streets Aotearoa has surveyed Wellington City Council candidates for their ideas on key improvement for pedestrians in the lead up to local body elections.

Living Streets pedestrian improvement scorecard for the last triennium in Wellington has seen little movement. Many of the big transport policies have stalled such as Let’s Get Wellington Moving and the parking policy (yes, this should help get those parked cars off footpaths).

Even smaller changes for pedestrians have been modest: the return of footpaths (rather than shared paths) to a small section of Oriental Parade and part of the Hutt Road, or the upgrade of street lighting to LED, which is brighter (and will save on our city power bill), but hasn’t reviewed lighting levels on the footpath. We did appreciate the roll out of more diverse images on our pedestrian traffic lights: Carmen and Kate, and the waiata wahine and haka tane, are fun.

We asked five questions. One of the biggest safety improvements for all road users from walkers and cyclists to car and public transport users is to lower speed, especially in areas where lots of people walk. We asked if there was support for 30km hour zones in central Wellington, around schools and shopping areas and got almost unanimous support. We’re looking forward to this proposal being bought back to the Council table in the next triennium.

The biggest new issue for pedestrians in the last three years has been the increase in vehicles using footpaths. We’ve seen NZ Post Paxsters in Tawa, Onzo bike hires cluttering footpaths, continuing cyclist use, and most recently hire e-scooters. This has had a big impact on the most vulnerable of pedestrians, making it less safe and less pleasant to be out walking. We asked candidates if they see footpaths are for pedestrians. Candidates agreed or strongly agreed that indeed footpaths are for pedestrians!

Remember thought that only five of the sitting councillors voted for pedestrians when the hire e-scooter companies came to town. Councillors Sarah Free, Diane Calvert, Simon Woolf, Nicola Young and Brian Dawson voted not to allow the hire e-scooters on footpaths. Vote carefully to ensure that we get e-scooter conditions reviewed when the trial is finished.

Candidates had good ideas for improvements for walkers: a car-free Golden Mile, better footpaths and crossings, more pedestrian malls, new walkways, better lighting, lower speeds, and improving walking to school. More details on what these mean are available here https://www.livingstreets.org.nz/regions/wellington.

All candidates agreed that walking is good for the environment and will help reduce our carbon emissions. Candidates also identified footpaths that need maintenance and improvement around Wellington.

Living Streets thanks these candidates for taking the time to put down their thoughts on walking and making Wellington better for pedestrians:

Sarah Free, Nicola Young, Iona Pannett, Brian Dawson, Steph Edlin, Ray Chung, Justin Lester, Laurie Foon, Peter Gilberd, Conor Hill, Fleur Fitzsimmons, John Peters, Norbert Hausberger, Andy Foster, Michelle Rush, Anna Scott, Bernard O’Shaugnessy, Rohan Biggs, Jenny Condie, and Lee Orchard.

Now it’s time to vote before 12 October.

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  1. Alan, 1. October 2019, 9:14

    I expect nothing from new councillors. The word “footpath” no longer means what was intended. Footpaths have become quasi roads for skateboarding, cycling and scooter riders and council has given its blessing by allowing this takeover. We need a new word instead of “footpath”.

  2. Steve Doole, 1. October 2019, 10:21

    Is walking the golden mile in Wellington killing us?

    Wellington commuters have a long history of walking part of their jurneys.
    Those who arrive by train have been counted many times – less than half workers catch a bus to their destination from the station.
    Lets not forget School and university students.

    But are they being harmed by pollution?
    Along the golden mile pollution appears to be mainly from buses.
    Along and near the Quays route, pollution is largely from cars and trucks.
    Additionally there are the cars and trucks that use the motorway route.
    During peak hours, there are so many slow moving vehicles, polution spews across Te Aro, Lambton, and Thordon.
    Who is doing anything about this?

    To enhance our ability to walk, how about adopting a wider standard of footpaths, even in hilly suburbs.
    1m minimum everywhere, and 1.3m most places.
    Wide enough for a wheelchair, mobility scooter, pram, or kids to walk to school. Yes, some carriageways will be narrowed.

    Lets not forget steps either.
    City designers seem to have forgotten to connect new streets on hills together with steps.
    Walk on…..

  3. Mary M, 1. October 2019, 13:20

    Is this to distract from the Council’s failed bus system?
    Just walk.
    The footpaths were safe but now they have the Council hazard of dangerous escooters.

  4. Dave B, 1. October 2019, 19:38

    The road code prohibits cars from parking on footpaths. This doesn’t seem to stop them however. They can be far more of an obstruction than scooters or Onzos which are at least moveable.

  5. Groggy, 2. October 2019, 12:27

    “We asked if there was support for 30km hour zones in central Wellington, around schools and shopping areas and got almost unanimous support. We’re looking forward to this proposal being bought back to the Council table in the next triennium.” Um We already have 30km zones covering the CBD and suburban shopping areas, what is there to “bring back next triennium”??

  6. Mary M, 2. October 2019, 15:03

    Nope escooters are definitely more dangerous Dave, lucky for you that you haven’t yet had the pleasure of a near collusion experience with an escooter while walking on the FOOTpath.

  7. Dave B, 2. October 2019, 23:22

    Indeed Mary M, but I was referring to things BLOCKING the footpath. Cars are far more difficult to negotiate around and to lift out of the way than escooters, wouldn’t you agree? I am not denying the danger caused by speeding escooters.
    However, I suggest that stationary cars which block the footpath and force pedestrians out into the road where there is moving traffic are also a big hazard.

  8. Mary M, 3. October 2019, 5:14

    Nope Dave I was pointing out what the Council has done for walkers in creating hazards. The escooters are more dangerous to have on the footpath than parked cars (that do not ever collide with walkers).

  9. steve doole, 3. October 2019, 9:04

    Perhaps drivers stopping with wheels on footways or verges should be towed away.