Wellington Scoop
Network

Safe-distancing: WCC votes for more (temporary) spaces for walking and biking

News from WCC
The Wellington City Council yesterday agreed to some temporary street changes around the city – but they are subject to Government funding assistance. Seven of these are Covid-19-related responses that, if approved, will involve repurposing traffic lanes or parking spaces to make more space for walking and biking while safe-distancing requirements are in place.

An application for funding through the Government’s recently announced Innovating Streets Fund will go to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency today. It is hoped decisions on which projects will get funding will be made next week. In the meantime, planning to make all of these changes will continue at pace so those approved can potentially be rolled out as quickly as possible.

The Innovating Streets Fund will meet 90 percent of the cost of any projects approved.

It is envisaged most of the footpath extensions and pop-up bike lanes would be removed when social distancing restrictions are eased, but having them in place for a short while would help in the development of future more permanent changes.

The Council also agreed to speed up its part in the decision making process around the Let’s Get Wellington Moving proposal for lower central city speeds so, if approved, this could be in place sooner than planned.

The Council will apply for funding for the following temporary projects:

· footpath extension in Stout Street to provide more space for people coming from the Railway Station

· bike lane on Featherston Street

· uphill bike lane on Brooklyn Hill

· bus lane and protected bike lane on Victoria Street

· shared path on the Miramar Peninsula between Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay (one-way only for traffic (Shelly Bay to Scorching Bay) with the lane next to the sea used by people on foot and bikes)

· bike lane on Onepu Road connecting Leonie Gill Pathway and Rongotai Road

· bike lane on Evans Bay Parade between Greta Point and Cobham Drive.

The Council also agreed to apply for funding for some other projects that could qualify for trial funding. These are temporary street changes that could be further developed with local businesses and residents and made permanent following an initial trial. They include:

· changes to make the intersection of Abel Smith and Cuba streets safer and easier for pedestrians

· central city pop-up park and public spaces

· central city parking spaces for e-scooters

· a trial bike route via Wilson Street in Newtown.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Free says to ensure the changes can remain in place as long as they are needed, the Council has been advised it is legally required to complete a traffic resolution process.

“There’s obviously a lot of public support for these, but this means there will be a two-week opportunity for affected parties to look at the designs and comment before we make final decisions in June,” she says. “We will also look at whether there are other projects we could apply for in the next funding round.”

It is expected to be about mid-June before work on the temporary street changes starts. The work would be done over a few weeks, with some changes in place ahead of others.

Cr Jenny Condie, Associate Portfolio Lead for Transport, says the temporary changes proposed are consistent with the Council’s and Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s commitment to mode shift, and developing a transport system that can ultimately move more people with fewer vehicles.

The projects, estimated to cost about $2 million, have been selected due to their benefits and ability to deliver, from a longer list that included suggestions from the community, Councillors, Council staff, the Regional Council, interest groups and the public. All were assessed against a range of criteria including whether they can aid social distancing, encourage walking or biking, are worth trialling, and how well they align with the city’s long-term goals.

Hutt City also seeking money for temporary cycleways and pathways

Wellington.Scoop – May 6
The Wellington City Council will this week be asked to approve seven cautious plans for creating more space for cyclists and pedestrians to achieve social distancing in the covid-19 environment. If councillors approve the recommendations, they will seek a 90 per cent subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets programme:

A pop-up cycle lane on Evans Bay Parade from Greta Point Road to Cobham Drive
A pop-up uphill cycle lane on the Brooklyn Hill Road
A pop-up cycle lane on Onepu Road (from Leonie Gill to Coutts Street)
A one-way shared path (for cyclists and pedestrians) from Shelly Bay to Scorching Bay
A temporary pedestrian route from Wellington Station to Stout Street
A pop-up cycle lane in Featherston Street
A temporary bus lane and cycle lane in Victoria Street

Council staff have listed other possible cycle lanes and pedestrian routes which are not recommended because the removal of car parks would be involved.

Cyclists criticise focus on car parking, propose new route to hospital

News from WCC – May 6
Wellington City Councillors are to discuss possible projects to put forward for consideration under Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s recently announced Innovating Streets Fund. Applications for the first funding round close this Friday. Some of the possibilities the Councillors will consider are COVID-19-related responses. These would see traffic lanes or parking spaces temporarily repurposed to provide more space for walking and biking while safe-distancing requirements are in place.

Projects submitted under this category will be considered immediately so they could be rolled out more quickly. It is envisaged most of the footpath extensions and pop-up bike lanes would be removed when they are no longer needed, but having them in place for a short while would help in the development of future more permanent changes.

These possible projects include temporary:

· footpath extension in Stout Street to provide more space for people coming from the Railway Station
· bike lane on Featherston Street
· uphill bike lane on Brooklyn Hill
· bus lane and protected bike lane on Victoria Street
· shared path on the Miramar Peninsula between Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay (one-way only for traffic (Shelly Bay to Scorching Bay) with the lane next to the sea used by people on foot and bikes)
· bike lane on Onepu Road connecting Leonie Gill Pathway and Kilbirnie Town Centre
· bike lane on Evans Bay Parade between Greta Point and Cobham Drive.

Councillors will also consider other projects that could qualify for trial funding. These are temporary street changes that could be further developed with local businesses and residents and made permanent following an initial trial. They include:

· changes to make the intersection of Abel Smith and Cuba streets safer and easier for pedestrians
· central city pop-up park / public spaces
· central city parking spaces for e-scooters
· a trial bike route via Wilson Street in Newtown.

The projects, estimated to cost about $2 million, have been selected due to their benefits and ability to deliver, from a longer list that included suggestions from the community, councillors, council staff, the regional council, interest groups and the public.

All were assessed against a range of criteria including whether they can aid social distancing, encourage walking or biking, are worth trialling, and how well they align with the city’s long-term goals.

Mayor Andy Foster says the Council is committed to reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, and with Let’s Get Wellington Moving partners NZTA and the regional council, is intent on developing a transport system that moves more people with fewer vehicles.

“The situation the world finds itself in at the moment, while deeply unfortunate, has never-the-less provided a rare opportunity to experience and enjoy our streets with more people out walking and cycling in their neighborhoods and little traffic. It has also created a need to use some of our road space in different ways so people returning to the city under lower alert levels can get about safely no matter which form of transport they choose to use.

“Like other cities, we have an opportunity to trial some things that would be more challenging to do in busier times. We are also hearing from many in the community who are very keen to see this happen. Our task this week is to confirm we want to apply for this Government funding, decide what we will put forward, and potentially consider other ways we might be able to do some of these things.”

The Innovating Streets Fund will meet 90 percent of the cost of any projects approved.

14 comments:

  1. Big Mac sauce, 5. May 2020, 10:59

    Time to buy shares in the traffic cone industry. Is there a need for cyclists social distancing on Brooklyn hill and Onepu Road? Logic would dictate that confining cyclists to a specific lane would increase the chances of coming into contact.

     
  2. Patrick Morgan, 5. May 2020, 11:00

    Some good ideas there, but I reckon the WCC should do much more. People need safe space to walk and ride.

     
  3. Traveller, 5. May 2020, 12:13

    How can council staff say that car parking is more important than social distancing? Councillors should over-rule such poor judgement.

     
  4. P Barlow, 5. May 2020, 15:12

    Temporary bike lanes need to run through the city from Adelaide Rd, Kent/ Cambridge Terrace to allow direct access into the CBD. The city is for people including pedestrians. Social distancing is not valued in the number of car parks that can be retained. Remove the car parks and make room for people – people in the city is what makes it vibrant and healthy. Covid-19 could allow us all to look at how we live now and the changes that can be made now for a better future.

     
  5. Patrick Morgan, 5. May 2020, 15:15

    Karori people are calling for a protected bike route to and from the city. How much longer will we wait, while commuter carparks are prioritised? Am looking at you, Glenmore, Chaytor, Karori Rd. [via twitter]

     
  6. Felix Marwick, 5. May 2020, 15:17

    We are still waiting for something of substance (ie other than painted lines) to be done to fix the accident hot spot that is Chaytor-Curtis-Raroa. I’m not holding my breath on this one though. [via twitter]

     
  7. Casey, 5. May 2020, 18:01

    I wonder why it is that a small number of Karori people take to their bikes and endanger their health?
    Every week before COVID 19 there were 3500 diesel bus movements through the Karori Tunnel, most being Euro 3 buses some 15 plus years old.
    Cycling up Glenmore Street and Chaytor Street inhaling all sorts of noxious emissions, including particulate matter (which adheres to the lungs) from old buses, newer buses, trucks and cars is a decided health risk which far outweighs the health benefits of cycling. If, and it’s big if, we ever see the buses replaced with battery ones, private car numbers reduced and replaced with electric models, then cycling would have decided health benefits.

     
  8. JayRod, 5. May 2020, 21:52

    It is unclear how a string of cars sitting on public space helps the city deal with social distancing, safety for pedestrians & cyclists, or making the city more livable? [via twitter]

     
  9. Sarah Free, 6. May 2020, 8:07

    We are taking out car parking all the time! But at the moment, buses are at half capacity and not everyone will walk or cycle. They way you get progress is by a steady consistent approach… and keep pushing forward. [via twitter]

     
  10. Conor Hill, 6. May 2020, 8:40

    Glad to hear it. I am deeply impatient! The context is the innovating streets proposal which directly calls out removing car parks as a reason to not apply for govt money.

     
  11. Spike protein, 6. May 2020, 8:48

    Sarah are you saying it is the long term plan to eradicate parking from Wellington streets?

     
  12. Keith Flinders, 7. May 2020, 9:08

    One of the routes suggested, but not recommended by the WCC, for a temporary pop-up cycle lane is Oriental Parade. See page 90 of the paper being discussed by the Council today; the more vocal cycling advocates are still pushing this case.

    Oriental Parade already has a shared pedestrian/cycle lane which works well, although the reinstatement of the painted dividing line is considered by locals to be an ideal. This dual purpose provision is up to 10 metres wide from the Freyberg Pool to Carlton Gore Road, and at which point it reduces to 5 metres wide. The road has already been narrowed from Carlton Gore to Point Jerningham, so there isn’t room to create a wider cycle lane. At Point Jerningham the pedestrian/cycle lane reduces to 1 metre wide, due to the protracted work on it being done at less than a snail’s pace. Painful and pitiful progress for 15 months has seen traffic delays amounting to the loss of hundreds of thousands of otherwise productive hours. Main activity each working day is putting out, and later collecting, the 500 orange cones.

    How many cyclists does Oriental Parade see each day? Not a vast number. 40 – 45 in the morning peak, and fewer non peak, with half of them using the pedestrian/cycle way. Last week 20 per hour immediately after the Level 4 lockdown was lifted. On Tuesday just gone, when it rained, two per hour. Pedestrian numbers are more than twenty times that number, but only once since mid March have I witnessed congestion that could cause social distancing issues should cyclists share the same facility.

    Oriental Bay is for all Wellingtonians to visit, some come in their cars merely to enjoy the views and relax in the sun out of the wind especially in the winter. They patronise local businesses and add to the local economy. Yesterday between 11am – 3pm virtually every angle park was full and customers were lining up at the two businesses serving coffee and light snacks. Yet others bring their families to enjoy the beach and an ice cream from Mr Patel’s dairy. We must support all local businesses to the hilt where-ever they are. Small businesses are trying hard to keep going, so lets not make it harder for them. Cycling I do support, in case readers think otherwise, but its implementation must be at a measured and affordable pace, not disadvantaging those who use other forms of transport.

     
  13. SoOverCyclists, 15. May 2020, 18:39

    The cycling lobby is calling for an “essential workers” route from Ngauranga to the hospital. Can they provide statistics on the home suburbs of hospital staff and how many would consider cycling?

     
  14. Andy Mellon, 16. May 2020, 8:34

    Seems odd to me that the footpath past Kelburn Normal School has been narrowed to accommodate more parking at this time.