The cycleway from Island Bay’s Shorland Park to Wakefield Park was given a second go-ahead by Wellington city councillors yesterday.
Planning had started in December, aiming to find “clever thinking, compromise and creative solutions.”
The plan was given a greenlight in May by the council’s Transport and Urban Development committee, which approved detailed design work on the first stage of what is to be a cycleway all the way from Island Bay to the city. The committee also set up a citizens’ panel to recommend options for the second section, through Berhampore and Newtown.
But in June nine councillors decided that such decisions should not be made by the committee, but should be moved to the full council. Lambton Ward councillor Nicola Young lodged a Notice of Motion for the whole Council to take over the decisions. Southern Ward Councillor Paul Eagle seconded the motion. Seven other councillors supported it.
Critics of the move worried that, if successful, it could delay the cycleway indefinitely.
The debate continued from then till yesterday, when the motion was put to the vote.
And it was defeated by eight votes to seven. Two councillors who’d supported the motion, changed their minds. So the first stage of the cycleway can go ahead, though it’s taken much longer to get to this stage than had originally been intended.
The reason for the new cycleway was persuasively explained by Maximus in June:
Why are the council deleting the existing cycleway in Island Bay and putting in a new one next to the kerb? Because the existing cycleway 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.