Safer, easier cycling – work starts on planning new Island Bay cycle route

News from WCC
Wellington city councillors today agreed to proceed with public consultation on options for improving parts of the cycle route between Island Bay and the city. They are looking for clever thinking, compromise and creative solutions.

At a meeting of the transport and urban development committee, councillors were briefed on the considerations, implications and costs involved in making Wellington an easier and safer place for cycling.

Councillor Andy Foster, who chairs the Committee, says the Council is committed to improving the city’s cycling networks and has proposed tripling the amount it spends on cycling in the coming financial year from $1.3 million to $4.3 million.

“Staff have done a lot of work this year on the logistics and costs of improving the route from the southern suburbs and it is likely to be the next major cycling project we commit to,” he says.

“We have also got information from cyclists through this year’s Cycle Forum, from Cycle Aware Wellington, and from having cyclists out on the street with helmet cameras identifying problems and opportunities across 19 other key routes into and across the city. We have a list of over 300 opportunities and problems to work through,” he says.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, a keen cyclist, says cycling improvements are about providing a real transport choice for the growing number of people who want to cycle to work, school or university, or for leisure.

“We have a multiple award-winning mountain bike park and lots of great mountain biking tracks that people use for recreation. We want to complement these with much-better on-road routes so people can cycle more easily and confidently.

“Wellington is the worst city for cycle safety and we want to be a cycle-friendly capital. Modern, progressive cities around the world cater well for cyclists – it’s time Wellington caught up,” she says.

Cr Foster says the new Council is determined to make Wellington a more cycle friendly city.

“Commuter cycling numbers in Wellington doubled between 2006 and 2012 despite relatively little investment prior to 2009, and it’s fantastic to see more and more people of all ages getting about on bikes. We really want to encourage that.

“We have 19 important routes across the whole city covering about 125 kilometres that we would ideally like to improve too over time, so we will carefully consider the standard and style of cycle lane improvements as well as the costs and implications.”

The case for Island Bay

Cr Andy Foster says the proposed strategic cycleway from Island Bay to the CBD is a good example of the complexities and community issues involved with the project.

“In respect of Island Bay, we would like to start making some improvements along The Parade between Reef and Dee streets midway through next year if we can. But before we do that we need to do some more work and talk with the community about the options.”

“One option is to improve the existing cycle lane by making lane markings much clearer at the intersections of Humber, Mersey and Tamar streets and potentially altering the road layout near 14 bus stops so cyclists won’t need to worry about buses stopping in front of them or pulling out as they ride by. The cycle lane would be in the same position as it is now but would curve in adjacent to the footpath behind the bus stops and shelters, which would be located on new islands just off the footpath.

“An alternative option is to remove the existing lane and instead create a dedicated, European-style cycle lane adjacent to the footpath that would be clearly delineated from the road in some way.”

He says improvements along this part of the route can be made fairly easily without losing any parking because the road is very wide.

“We don’t have this luxury on the next 2.5 kilometre stretch of the route, between Dee Street and John Street, because it is much narrower. Instead we’re looking at a range of possible changes that could be made along Adelaide Road as well as other route options that are partly off-road, either via Berhampore Golf Course, Martin Luckie Park and Rintoul Street or Russell Terrace; or via Wakefield Park, MacAlister Park and Hanson Street.

“We can’t magically create more space so if we want better on-street commuter cycle routes, it will usually involve losing some parking. We will talk with residents, the wider community and cyclists about the benefits and implications of the different alternatives in a few months time and get their views before we make any decisions.

“Possible options for Adelaide Road include peak-hour clearways, uphill cycle lanes, cycle lanes on both sides of the road and a two-way cycle lane on one side. Consideration is also being given to ways more off-street car parking could be created, including providing incentives for property owners to create parking spaces on their own properties, creating car parks on areas of reserve land for park users and buying properties to create off-street car parks for residents.

“Costs vary significantly depending on what’s done and whether new off-street parking is factored in, but upgrading the Island Bay route between Dee and John streets alone could cost anything from $500,000 to more than $10 million. It is likely to be part-funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

 

10 comments:

  1. Driver, 17. December 2013, 18:32

    Why is the council so hesitant about separate cycleways – they are the only choice.

     
  2. CeliaWB, 17. December 2013, 22:17

    Dear Driver: Some of the possible options are separated. look forward to your input when we begin more extensive community engagement. Both separated routes and cycle lanes require some limitation on parking unless they are totally within parks which isn’t possible the whole way.

    Look forward to hearing your suggestions on where separate cycle routes are possible and desirable.

     
  3. Cr Paul Bruce, 17. December 2013, 22:25

    Hopefully, this marks the beginning of a significant cultural shift away from prioritising the needs of single occupancy cars, to favouring public transport and active modes.

    A lot of people have contributed ideas over the years, and now is the time to make some quick decisions, and get something on the road (so to speak). And it is better to spend more in order to get the high standard which will allow budding cyclists to become commuters without fearing for the lives.

     
  4. Driver, 18. December 2013, 7:38

    It’s good that the council is at last recognising it must start reducing the excessive amount of on-street parking, specially in the narrowest streets. Removing parked cars will benefit all of us: not only drivers and cyclists but also pedestrians too.

     
  5. Patrick Morgan, Cycling Advocates Network, 18. December 2013, 10:10

    I was underwhelmed by aspects of the staff’s presentation.
    While it was good to see the detail, I have some concerns:
    It was framed as a cycling vs parking decision. Not helpful.
    Benefits of quality cycleways were undersold.
    Demand for on-street parking was presented as a given.
    Councillors were cautioned that this was a hard, complex problem which would take ages.
    What we end up with in Island Bay will determine the level of service of future cycling routes.
    Do we want more paint-on lanes in the car door zone, or quality protected lanes?
    How will we take the community with us, that reallocating road space from parking to safe cycling is a good choice? How do we demonstrate to all Councillors that we have their backs on this?

     
  6. Ron Beernink, 18. December 2013, 11:20

    The discussion needs to shift from focusing on providing ‘safer cycling for current commuters ‘ to ‘enjoyable cycling for families and all’. In other words, what change can be made to encourage families / individuals to start cycling and leave the car at home? Having separated cycle lanes is a key to that, but may not feasible for some specific sections of road, so alternatives need to be thought of. This can be a different route, or dropping the traffic speed, or removing parking.

    It is great that we have the real opportunity and funding to make this happen!

     
  7. NigelTwo, 18. December 2013, 12:47

    Buy a tunneling machine. Start it at Wakefield Park and tell it not to stop until it can see Tasman Street. Send the bill to the Residents Car Parking department.

     
  8. laura, 18. December 2013, 16:06

    The council put those new car parks on Adelaide Road to make up for the car parks on Riddiford Street that they took away for the new hospital’s entrance and the car parks they took away for Countdown’s entrances. Why is their removal even an option?

     
  9. jp, 18. December 2013, 17:01

    The cycle lane should a) take the flattest route from Island Bay to Newtown and b) be separated out from traffic. These two features should be non-negotiable. If NZ’s old school traffic engineers aren’t able to cope with the above they should be replaced with people who can. Hire from abroad if necessary.

    As this is a new kind of project, political leadership is important. I’d like to see one councilor step up and become the public face of cycling in Wellington just as Len Brown was with the CRL in Auckland. As it’s a new territory, Wellingtonians will need a lot of hand-holding. Celia Wade-Brown? Justin Lester?

    It is to be expected that some residents will lose the ability to park on the public road directly outside their house. Where possible adequate provision should be made for them to park on side streets.

     
  10. Ross Clark, 19. December 2013, 2:01

    Getting councillors to see the benefits of removing on-street parking, indeed *any* sort of parking is akin to pushing water up hill. I have no idea how you get round this sort of mindset.

     

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