News from WCC
Recommendations made by a panel of Wellingtonians this week are a first step towards making Berhampore and Newtown safer and easier places to get about by bike. The panel’s preferred options for developing the second stage of the proposed Island Bay to city cycleway between Wakefield Park and John Street are:
· Adelaide Road (from Dee Street), Luxford Street, Rintoul Street, Waripori Street, Russell Terrace and Riddiford Street to the John Street intersection
· Adelaide Road (from Dee Street), Stoke Street and Hanson Street to the John Street intersection.
The citizens’ advisory panel, which was established to consider the multiple options and determine the best routes and ways to make a difference in these neighbourhoods, presented these recommendations to Wellington City Councillors and staff on Monday night. They will be used to help create a cycle route plan for the area for wider public consultation and will also help determine what gets done first.
The panel selected the two routes because they would complement each other and could individually – or together – provide the backbone for a more comprehensive cycling network that could be developed over time. It believes both will also be easily accessible and used by people wanting to get to and from the city, as well as between and around the two suburbs. A key consideration was keeping any parking loss to a minimum and the panel believes there are ways these routes could be developed to help achieve that.
The panel’s recommendations report says the routes will provide choice, convenience and safety – encouraging people who don’t bike at the moment but would like to, opportunities to do so and build skills and confidence.
Routes involving Berhampore Golf Course and the perimeter of Martin Luckie Park were not favoured mainly because they weren’t direct enough. There were also concerns people might not want to use them at night. Rintoul Street had potential but the section between Lavaud and Luxford streets wasn’t included because of bus-related safety concerns.
The panel has recommended some design features for the cycle routes, plus complementary changes, including:
· creating a two-way cycle path on flat sections
· providing dual cycle lanes on both sides of the road on hills
· reducing or further reducing the speed limit in certain places, including from Wakefield Park to Berhampore shops and in the Newtown shopping area
· a possible future third route (a loop from Adelaide Road, behind Wakefield Park, along Duppa Street, Stanley Street and back into Adelaide Road).
Councillor Andy Foster, who chairs the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says the panel was established as a way to narrow down the potential options and get some well-considered community input early in the planning process.
“We’re determined to make the city more cycle friendly but doing that through neighbourhoods with busy, narrow roads is a challenging task. The panel has done a great job of grappling with the transport, social and safety issues and suggesting the solutions they think are best. “The next step is for Council staff to look in more detail at those recommendations, explore the costs, benefits and trade-offs and work up a cycle route plan for wider public consultation later this year. There will be lots of opportunity for people to have a say.”
The 16-member panel toured the area on foot and by van and received and considered extensive information about multiple route options, including presentations from some 25 groups and individuals. They compared the routes using criteria they agreed on, including safety and security for cyclists, pedestrians, residents, motorists and other users; how direct, usable and accessible the routes were; a desire to minimise disruption to residents, other road users and businesses (including parking); how well routes met the needs of the target users – city commuters and those wanting to get around and between the neighbourhoods by bike; likely development costs and legal requirements.
You can read the panel’s report here: http://wellington.govt.nz/services/parking-and-roads/cycling/island-bay-to-city-cycle-route/wakefield-park-to-john-street/citizens-panel
Background on the panel
Panels like this are a recognised way to get well considered community input to help find solutions in complex situations or projects.
The panel had an experienced independent facilitator, Anne Pattillo. Members were selected to reflect the Wellington City population, with an extra emphasis on particularly affected groups. Six people were selected to make sure the values and viewpoints of the following groups were represented – southern suburbs residents (two people), local businesses (two people), people who regularly cycle and Town Belt users. The other members were recruited from the Council’s representative online research panel. They represented a cross-section of Wellington by age, gender, income and attitudes to cycling and came from around the city (including four from the southern ward). Their ages ranged from people in their 20s to over 60s and they included people who believed at the outset that having more people cycling would be good for the city as well as people who thought it wouldn’t be.