Cycleway at risk?

by Patrick Morgan
The truce between Wellington city councillors is over. Despite voting 15-0 in favour of a bigger cycling budget, nine councillors are seeking to reverse decisions made by the Transport and Urban Development committee. Progress on safer cycling is at risk.

The “demand” by the nine councillors was announced this morning by Nicola Young and Paul Eagle.

Last month the Transport and Urban Development committee gave the green light to detailed design work on the first stage of a cycleway from Island Bay to the city. A citizens’ panel has been set up to recommend options for the next section, through Berhampore and Newtown.

Most agree that Council could have done a better job when consulting on options for Island Bay, but the latest move may delay construction.

Cycling has grown by 73 percent since the 2006 Census despite little investment, and Wellington has the worst crash record in New Zealand. The Council’s cycling policy aims to make cycling safer and to grow the number of people cycling.

Here’s questions I would like answers to.

The last Council was criticised for doing nothing. Will the current Council be any different?

Will voters punish those delaying progress on safer cycling?

Is this really about qualms over a cycleway, or are some councillors seeking to raise their profiles and score points?

Island Bay to City Cycleway Fact Sheet
http://can.org.nz/island-bay-cycleway-facts

Patrick Morgan is a member of the Cycling Advocates’ Network

 

14 comments:

  1. peter@east-welly, 17. June 2014, 8:56

    188 submissions were received on the cycleway in Island Bay. Just 61 lived in Island Bay, 17 of those live on The Parade. This shows a flawed process from the get-go.
    Over 250 people showed up to the public meeting in Island Bay outraged at the loss of democracy. So far, over 700 have signed a petition to reverse the decision made by the Council on the cycleway in Island Bay, and calling for greater consultation.
    ‘Consultation’ is not ramming your agenda through regardless.

     
  2. Maria Persico, 17. June 2014, 9:40

    If the council were honest and came to the people (the biggest stakeholder) we could have easily worked together. Seems like on this issue the council has made a big boo boo, and it’s now costing us all. At the end of the day honesty is the best policy – you and the cycling avids and the council all thought that this could be swept under the carpet but Island Bay has woken up and now other suburbs are following suit. All councilors should be able to vote as representatives of their wards as this issue is a Wellington issue. I congratulate the councilors who are standing up. Council thought they could push this through with little nor no consultation with the public, funny that NOW we are receiving addressed mail to householders in island bay, a bit late now. This should have happenned at the beginning. I ask you Patrick, where was the public in your meetings with WCC, Opus and other consultants? Who was representing the (public- biggest stakeholder) here?

     
  3. nlelaine, 17. June 2014, 10:26

    It is very easy to sign a petition. Way more effort is required to make a submission. Too many New Zealanders seem to feel that they have the right to be able to park their cars in front of where ever they want to go and never experience any road delays even at “rush hour” – extremely unrealistic beliefs in a modern urban setting.

     
  4. Vicki Greco, 17. June 2014, 10:46

    While Wellington may have the worst crash record in NZ, you will probably find this is in the central city and in dangerous areas. Island Bay does not fall into this category. The record for accidents in Island Bay is virtually zero.
    As a cyclist I find Island Bay and our current cycle lanes very safe, it is when you leave Island Bay the problems arise.
    The money would be better spent fixing the dangerous areas, which haven’t even been looked at yet. Some commonsense please.

     
  5. Ron Beernink, 17. June 2014, 12:42

    When you see a headline like “From bedroom to boardroom” and comments like “cycleway to nowhere”, then you know that this is mainly grandstanding by some councillors, being more interested in raising their own profile then moving Wellington City forward.

    And clearly the petition is mainly driven by people who may not oppose the idea of a cycle way, but not in their own back yard. The main opposition is from those who are worried about losing a car park or having a cyclist going past their front yard. Most of these people have not seen what enormous benefits these dedicated cycle lanes already provide around NZ and the world; not only to the community, but also to themselves as without fail property values go up where ever such cycle lanes are built.

    Yes, consultation could have been better. But this does not change the fact that there is a real benefit in building a safe cycle way for Island Bay that allows children and less confident people to cycle to the shops, park, beach, etc. Regardless of whatever happens with the next part of the route through Berhampore and Newtown.

    Island Bay has the opportunity for creating a fantastic asset for its community, and the funding. Lets not waste this opportunity just for the sake of more consultation and for political point scoring.

     
  6. Concerned ratepayer, 17. June 2014, 13:30

    Island Bay people are not against cycle ways – they just want genuine consultation, an opportunity to consider ALL possible cycleway options and sensible spending of ratepayers’ money. Ratepayers are entitled to know that this is not going to end up as a “cycleway to nowhere”. Spending $1.3 million on The Parade without a plan for Stage 2 and Stage 3 is a gross waste of ratepayer money. Let’s get all the planning done and then prioritise where to spend the money – not just do the easy part and then run out of steam. NZ Transport Agency states The Parade is low risk for cyclists and therefore it will not fund any work done on The Parade nor will it fund any cycle way project until Stage 2 and 3 plans are in place. In other words – plan properly before you start to spend the money.

     
  7. Morgan James, 17. June 2014, 15:44

    So glad that someone has ‘demanded’ that the full council makes the decisions on the overall plans for the cycle ways in Wellington. Any astute business person who is spending a large amount of money would budget and plan how this money is being spent and present this fully to other business partners – why should this be different for the council?

    Answers to your questions:

    1. We don’t want to go from one extreme to the other – ie. a council that did nothing to a council that does everything just to be seen to be doing.

    2. Voters would be unwise to consider not voting for somebody just because they delayed a process so that it was done properly and thoroughly! A process that was in full consultation with the WHOLE of the public should be admired by voters not denigrated by them.

    3. I don’t think there are qualms over the cycle way but rather over the poor consultation process that the council has provided, or not as the case is. However it must be said that a full and thorough consultation has been done with CAW and CAN, and cycling enthusiasts. Now it is time for the residents to be consulted including the disabled, elderly, and affected residents (still waiting WCC!!!) Because of this I do wonder if Celia and her Transport and Urban Development committee people have been working hard to raise their profiles and score points for pushing through the cycle ways from the Green party supporters and the cycling ‘fraternity’

    Can’t see why people are so up and arms over Councillors asking for more transparency on the plans and spending of ratepayers’ money.

     
  8. Ben, 17. June 2014, 17:38

    Let’s be honest, local opposition to the cycleway is about Island Bay Parade residents protecting their parking spaces. More consultation won’t change this Nimby attitude.

     
  9. Sridhar Ekambaram, 17. June 2014, 20:31

    @ peter@east-welly and Maria Persico. where were you when the council called for submissions to their draft annual plan that included cycling? You kept out of the process and now you are complaining you were not consulted? How fair is that?

    Myself and other members of CAW went around informally talking to businesses in Island Bay’s shopping area. Most were supportive of the cycleway. What they were most annoyed about was the lack of information on the project.

    As for the councillors who have decided to put spokes on the wheel, they have demonstrated they are not interested in looking at the merits of the projects but saving their own position. If the consultation process was not enough (which I agree is the case), then how about fixing the process?

     
  10. Morgan James, 17. June 2014, 20:38

    You may want to ask the residents of Island Bay why they want to protect their parks – have you heard of the elderly, the disabled, pedestrians and young children (passengers coming out of cars)? Perhaps there is a good reason to protect their car park! But with a one sided perspective, I do understand this is really hard to see. Open your eyes to your neighbours and fellow community – might give you a little perspective.

     
  11. Maximus, 18. June 2014, 0:42

    I’m not sure why people in Island Bay are so up in arms. The Council advertised the meetings, and interested members of the public turned up – I did, as did many others – and the venue was right in the middle of the area concerned. There were flags flying outside the Baptist Church. If you’re just too damn lazy or disorganized to get out of bed and walk next door to discuss with the Council what is happening in your street, then don’t come running to complain later.

    So, yes, Ben is largely right – it is all about loss of carparks, or a perceived loss. Some scurrilous blogs are writing of 500 carparks lost between Island Bay to the city (no, not me), others are saying just 40 in Island Bay. Perhaps what is really needed is for everyone to just calm down, take a deep breath, and look at what is actually planned here.

    Is the work they are planning to do in Island Bay, really just a Cycle Way to nowhere? No. It’s stage One, and they’re now planning stage Two. After that comes stage Three.

    Is this just a vanity project for the Mayor, who, shock horror, actually lives in Island Bay? No. The first project, probably ill-advisedly, was the Tawa to Porirua cycle way which is a long way from where Wade Brown lives. It’s taken her three years to get to this point – the place where a major cycle way gets planned for a major traffic route out to a major destination.

    Why aren’t things being done for bikes in the city first? Well, actually, they are. There are cycle boxes going in all over the city, thanks largely to Councilor Andy Foster of the transport committee, and the workers at the Council who have been asked to install cycle boxes to enable cycles to occupy positions at lights safely.

    Why are the council deleting the existing cycle way in Island Bay and putting in a new one next to the kerb? Because the existing cycle way is not that safe – it puts cyclists (the most vulnerable of road users) into the lanes with buses, cars and trucks, and into the same zone as car doors. That’s just not the safest place for a cycle way – the safest place is for cyclists to be near the pedestrians, well away from the traffic. You’re complaining because somebody is doing something safe, and proper for once? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Grow up, people.

     
  12. Let’s introduce a few facts.
    There’s 190 residences along The Parade. All but 10 have off street parking – many for 2, 3 or more vehicles. Among the 10, most have room for an off street park. Let’s ask the Council to share the costs of that.
    Parking at the shopping village is unaffected by the planned cycleway.
    Every time I go along the Parade, there is an oversupply of parking. It is never fully parked. It makes sense to remove limited spaces to make intersections safer for everyone.
    The kerbside cycleway design has a buffer space to reduce risk of dooring and to protect passengers.
    What consultation was done? 2 public meetings, leaflet drops, door knocking, press and web notices. Many councillors campaigned on cycling safety last year. There were 12 stories in local papers. This is pretty standard for the Council. Everyone had the same chance to have a say.
    Regardless, I accept some residents feel consultation could have been better. I do too. But why are petitioners boycotting the citizens’ panel? Let’s all have our say, look at the evidence,benefits and costs, and get a great solution for all the community.
    This is about safety and progress.

     
  13. Gerard Bellam, 18. June 2014, 20:05

    Shameful behaviour from Labour Councillor Paul Eagle with cheap shots at the mayor. I voted for Paul Eagle in the local body election as a Labour candidate who supported cycle lanes and public transport in his election campaign. Now he jumps on a conservative reactionary nimby bandwagon of a few bewildered discontents who demand car parking in front of their properties on the roadway along the Parade in Island Bay.

    Are these car-park-demanding folk paying encroachment fees for these car parks? I suspect they are parking on public roadway owned by the ratepayer of all Wellington city. So, it is not their carpark!

    As a ratepayer who voted for him I demand Paul Eagle support the Island Bay cycleway. Paul support your mayor who was voted in with a mandate for a city wide boost in spending on cycling, walking and public transport.

    From a social justice angle, young people like students need cycleways as bus fares are very expensive. My son could save $50 a week in fares to university if he felt safe enough to bike from Island Bay to university. This mean less student debt for him and others.

     
  14. Gerard Bellam, 18. June 2014, 20:22

    Think of the planet and act in your own village. Climate change is happening, and the biggest threat to the current version of civilization. We need to act to sharply reduce the burning of fossil fuels. This means switching to walking, cycling and public transport.

    People should think about the futures of their children and grandchildren who are very likely to inherit an earth with rapidly raising sea-levels swamping most major cities, more severe storms and droughts triggering political instability so visible on the world stage in e.g Syria.

    The National Government plan to spend $40 billion on roads in the next decade. This is folly on a huge scale. $1.3million for the Island Bay cycleway is small change compared for the delusional plans for huge spending on roads in this country.

     

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