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A broken promise in Berhampore – cycle-way delayed for 3 years

by Curtis Nixon
The Wellington City Council has made the politically-expedient decision that there will be no money for a cycle-way through Berhampore over the next three years. This dis-honours its previous commitment through setting up a citizens’ panel and hearing submissions towards building the cycle-way.

Also there has been no movement towards a 30km safer speed zone through Berhampore, though officers stated that we should have heard something by July. I expect that the 30km zone will be consulted on shortly, but that is unconfirmed.

I wonder how the City Council hopes to engage people on this after the shameful treatment we’ve had over the cycle-way. I am “consulted-out” and won’t believe anything they say until I see workers in hi-vis out in the street DOING something. The in-fighting amongst Wellington City Councillors (you know who you are) that has brought this situation about is a disaster, and highlights how political motives can out-do practical action.

I have emailed a big rant to Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, so read it if you like and contact your councillor or the Mayor if you feel the urge. I think that Celia has done the best she can in the circumstances and the fault lies with others. But she is the head of the council so she needs to hear people’s views.

Dear Celia
Please allow me to express my disappointment and upset over the decision by the Wellington City Council to cancel the Berhampore cycle-way. What a waste of energy and time by all those who have worked on this. Plus why has there been no official communication to me and the other interested parties who were involved in the citizens’ panel that was consulted in depth about this? I only found out second-hand. Paul Barker has not been in contact as he said he would after this decision was made; or about the 30km/hr safer speed zone for Berhampore – another broken commitment.

I feel that the residents and travelers who use the streets of Berhampore have become victims of political game-playing by some councillors. Politics is fine but there are real-world consequences that we in Berhampore are facing. I hope the councillors involved realise the damage to their support they have incurred with this action. I wish the council’s non-political side could overcome the politics in this case, being a special instance of a combination of bad politics combined with serious need.

I have had a friend run down at the Britomart Street lights. I need to start cycling for fitness and also to accompany and teach my daughter cycling on the road. But I won’t do so for safety and peace of mind reasons until there are cycleways which we can use without fear of injury.

Berhampore is not a big suburb and to some it would appear that we are just some connecting roads in-between Island Bay and Newtown. The council makes noises about developing our infrastructure but nothing is done. I see the main bus stop at Island Bay shops has the suburb’s name over the top of the bus shelter. Can the main Berhampore bus stop on Luxford Street outside the BP service station please have this too? Where is our “Welcome to Berhampore” sign? Is the council going to build a decent-sized children’s playground at Wakefield Park to act as a community focus the way Shorland Park does at Island Bay? Even picking up the rubbish on and next to the road would be a start, as well as spraying weeds on the footpath.
Regards
Curtis Nixon

Curtis Nixon is a long-time writer of letters-to-the-editor, parent, and road safety and cycleway advocate in the best little suburb in Wellington – Berhampore.

23 comments:

  1. Lindsey Hill, 24. August 2015, 12:25

    Kia ora Curtis
    You will be pleased to hear that consultation on the proposed 30km safer speed zone through Berhampore opens next month – on Tuesday 8 September.
    Printed submission forms will be delivered to residents, business and property owners in the area. There will be a notice in the local paper, some posters and social media.
    People can submit in writing or online. They can also make an oral submission.
    We look forward to hearing what people think about this

     
  2. Regan Dooley, 24. August 2015, 15:37

    I agree with Curtis that it’s a real shame the rest of the southern route (from Wakefield Park into the CBD) will now sit on the back-burner for a few years until the CBD and Eastern route packages that attracted UCF money are delivered. There really was no need for it to happen that way. The only consolation is that a big part of the problem is a capacity one. There is now so much work building cycleways needing to be done in Wellington over the next 10 years that I guess something had to give. Berhampore and Newtown’s loss is the CBD (out to Ngauranga), Kilbirnie and Miramar’s gain. A 30kph speed limit in Berhampore would be easy to implement though and would also greatly improve cycling through there. Good to see it is now being consulted on.

     
  3. Newtown, 26. August 2015, 19:51

    How many more kids will be hit in the busy intersections of Berhampore with cars at speeds around 50kph and the stupid phasing of traffic lights giving pedestrians and turning traffic the green light. Someone I know has witnessed a hit and run, but luckily the rego of the company van was taken (not the smartest driver to take off in a company van huh).

    I just don’t get why slower speeds aren’t enforced around schools. If our reactive council could explore how Euro countries are creating safer zones, accidents could be mitigated. Like, what’s up with the signs outside Berhampore School or SWIS with flashing lights – you’ll never get a motorist to slow down since there’s no speed enforcement or judder bars.

    In Sweden, every single school has a 30kph speed restriction with higher speeding fines as well. Two signs of how it should be done, hope someone from WCC takes notice:
    http://www.ntf.se/vast/bilder/30_rapp_400p.jpg
    http://sverigesradio.se/sida/images/94/2584898_1200_675.jpg

     
  4. Phil, Newtown, 27. August 2015, 10:36

    As a resident of Newtown I’m really annoyed about this. The delay in completing the southern route is the fault of councillors who turned the Island Bay cycleway into a political football. If either Nicola Young or Paul Eagle tries to claim this proves their “cycleway to nowhere” theory I hope they cop some serious stick for it. Great job representing your ward Paul. Now Berhampore and Newtown cyclists have to put up with at least 3 more years of unsafe roads. Surely you could have advocated for a cycling master plan without sabotaging your own ward?

     
  5. Ryan Brown, 31. August 2015, 15:22

    I’ve contacted the council (Joe Hewitt) and it hasn’t been cancelled as claimed, it’s just not a priority but the Central city, Eastern and Northern areas are. Apparently Curtis Nixon was contacted by the council before this got posted so it’s a little mischievious. First of all @Phil, I’ve lived in Berhampore for many years, and I have to say that I get a little sick and tired of Newtown-ites and Island Bay-ites having an opinion about Berhampore. We can decide for ourselves what we like and don’t like thank you very much. We certainly don’t need you chipping in your sycophantic feedback. You’re right about one thing though @Phil, Paul Eagle did lead the charge to get us the masterplan that got Wellington the millions of dollars for cycling from the Government. But the bad news for you is that’s he’s hugely popular because he reflects the concerns of residents’ and businesses in the area, not just a few fanatical cyclists who attack him on Facebook pages and websites for not doing what they wanted. Every Berhampore-ite I have spoken to is very proud of him for sticking his neck out on this. Also, Paul Eagle is the only Southern Ward Councillor who actually lives in the Ward so knows what’s going on, unlike the other Green Party Councillor who is not only absent, but puts Green Party policy ahead of what’s good for Wellington.

     
  6. Curtis Nixon, 2. September 2015, 1:20

    Hi Ryan Brown. Thanks for taking an interest in my story about the Berhampore cycleway and for making time to leave your interesting, creative, and compelling comment; and . . .
    it’s spelt “mischievous”. My 6th Form English teacher “Gravel Guts” Anderson – (he had a husky voice) – said many times if there was only one thing he taught us all year it was the correct way to spell “mischievous.” And he was right.

     
  7. Karen Corbett, 2. September 2015, 17:04

    Hey Curtis, If that’s all you’ve got to complain about, then Ryan is correct in what he says!

     
  8. Curtis Nixon, 3. September 2015, 13:20

    Hi Karen and Ryan. I think I hear the three billy goats gruff trip trapping over your bridge. Better go back and hide under it.

     
  9. Curtis Nixon, 3. September 2015, 18:43

    Ryan uses all sorts of false arguments and mistakes.
    WCC’s Joe Hewitt emailed me 5 days AFTER this wellington.scoop article went up, and I can prove that. Plus he tries to exclude neighbouring people from Newtown or Island Bay from the debate (but we all use the same streets). Also nasty ad hominem attacks like calling Phil a sycophant because he rightly sheets home the blame to P.Eagle for his part in wrecking the Berhampore cycleway’s prospects of being built till after the next local body election . . .

     
  10. Phil, Newtown, 4. September 2015, 12:26

    I agree that Paul Eagle generally does a good job but he has to accept some blame here. Go back 2 years and the Island Bay to city cycle route was the big cycle project in town with potentially huge benefits for southern ward residents. Fast forward to today and all the focus is on the CBD and eastern ward while the southern route won’t be completed until 2019 at the earliest. Whatever Paul’s motivations were, that’s a terrible outcome for his ward. Was it really that hard to advocate for a masterplan while also supporting his own ward? At least the Island Bay bit is going ahead but Paul can’t claim any credit for that either after consistently siding with the local NIMBYS instead of taking a more neutral position (but hey that’s just politics I guess).

     
  11. Island Bay Rules, 4. September 2015, 23:30

    Here in Island Bay, short of applying the safety formula provided by the Cycling Framework, we will never know whether the Council’s plan is safer then what we have now. An Official Information request to Dr. Lavery confirmed the test will not be applied to the preliminary plan approved by council thanks to a second motion by Councillor Peck.

     
  12. Laura Newcombe, 6. September 2015, 10:47

    Retailers here at Riddiford Street north will always be grateful to Cr Eagle for advocating for the part reinstatement of the kerb car parks that were removed overnight by the Council chief transport planner Mr Steve Spence, who deemed that the effect was less than minor. Cr Eagle was unanimously supported by his councillor colleagues (Green ones too). Still incomes were slashed and businesses went to the wall. It is ignorant to think that you can rush a cycleway through Berhampore and Newtown without massive consequences that will impact negatively on both retailers and residents.

    I am hugely relieved that the cycleway is delayed and that we are spared from the Council wrecking ball for a cycleway that cyclists don’t even have to use.

     
  13. Curtis Nixon, 7. September 2015, 12:48

    However, the outcome was that there are no carparks outside your florist’s shop on Riddiford Street so P.Eagle made a big noise but achieved nothing. Being a city councillor seems to be all about positioning himself to inherit the Rongotai seat from A.King when she retires.
    My preferred option for the Berhampore cycleway is behind Wakefield Park, along Stanley Street linking to Berhampore School and MacAlister Park. Not through Adelaide Rd and Berhampore shops, not affecting businesses and not removing carparks.
    Your use of words like “massive consequences” or “wrecking ball” reminds me of your use of the phrase – “They’re doing their supermarket wars, it’s like commercial terrorism” to describe the Countdown versus New World rivalry when what you were really upset about was competition for your florist business.

     
  14. Vicki Greco, 9. September 2015, 10:54

    I think the fact that Behampore section has been halted and Island Bay is going ahead, proves this was never about safe cycling. The money should be spent in Berhampore and the Island Bay section delayed for 3-5 years as Berhampore is a danger zone for cyclists.
    Sadly this has been about the Mayor and a couple of Councillors and Council staff pushing their own agendas at the expense of rate payers.
    It is time for both the Mayor and CEO to be held accountable.

     
  15. Curtis Nixon, 9. September 2015, 14:52

    All that the postponement of the Berhampore cycleway proves is the damage the dedicated and well-connected group of oppositionists at Island Bay can do when they/you are motivated by an intense dislike of our democratically elected Mayor Celia, when they/you are prepared to overlook traditional National/Labour rivalry to attack a Green politician, and when you are prepared to cut off our nose/cycleway to spite your face.
    The final argument is whether any infrastructure project should be built end-to-end (Island Bay to CBD), or built piecemeal over time, a bit here and a bit there. What the opposition faction including P.Eagle and N.Young have ensured is the ridiculous and expensive piecemeal approach.

     
  16. Vicki Greco, 9. September 2015, 15:28

    Island Bay currently has safe cycleways, and ratepayer money would be better spent on danger zones. Colour, green, blue, red or otherwise doesn’t come into it. (I’m not sure what colour the CEO is?)
    Democracy on the other hand should, and the majority of Island Bay residents have said no. Berhampore want and need a safe solution.

     
  17. Karen Corbett, 9. September 2015, 16:56

    Gosh how powerful you make P. Eagle and N. Young!! You seem to be really angry about this. I think you will find that those who supported the Island Bay Cycleway are the ones who have postponed Berhampore and beyond. It should have been done by priority and going by NZTA crash statistics Island Bay is nowhere near the top of the priority list. That strikes me that it has been pushed by the likes of Mayor Wade-Brown and her supporting councillors! A big mistake if/when there are any future crashes in dangerous areas elsewhere. Who will take responsibility then? And before you say anything else – cars cause 50% of all cycling accidents and the other 50% is caused by the cyclists themselves.

     
  18. Phil, 9. September 2015, 17:44

    Have you actually read the Cycling Framework that all councillors approved Karen? There are a lot more factors involved in deciding where cycleways should go than just crash statistics.

     
  19. Karen Corbett, 9. September 2015, 19:53

    Actually I have Phil!! And it states on Page 17: “We will only implement cycleways if they are safer than what we have now. Safety considerations include:
     Speed and mass differentials between modes
     Minimum requirements
     Crash history
     Perceived safety barriers
     How safety affects uptake of cycling.”

    If you look at all of these, they do not prioritise this section over other areas. We have an amazing amount of people who cycle, including the elderly, young and commuters and I would have thought for a cyclist safety is paramount. Isn’t that obvious?

     
  20. Curtis Nixon, 10. September 2015, 9:24

    The current Island Bay cycle lanes are just painted lines next to a busy car road. Obviously not as safe as a separated, kerbside lane. As my daughter said to me last night she doesn’t want to ride on the road next to cars. But she would ride on a kerbside lane. And yes, the speed and mass of cars are much more than cycles. I perceive a safety barrier that prevents me from uptaking cycling, I know others who feel this way too.
    Sorry to say both P.Eagle and N. Young do have powerful connections to influential party machines that back them up. Even a network of volunteer trolls to go into bat for them eh Karen.
    Maybe time to close this one off Ed?

     
  21. Karen Corbett, 10. September 2015, 12:26

    I have children cycling on the road in Island Bay as it’s a lovely wide road with good visibility. It’s the narrow roads up in Berhampore that I get nervous about for them. It’s all about the priorities for the council – safety or a political win? Thanks for the implication of being a voluntary troll but you couldn’t be further from the truth.

     
  22. Maria van der Meel, 10. September 2015, 13:06

    I have a letter from the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges dated 11th of August saying: “The NZTA believes that the WCC should prioritize resources towards the other three sections of the Island Bay to City cycle-way, between Dee Street and the city centre, where the road is narrow and the service level for cyclists very low”.

     
  23. Curtis Nixon, 11. September 2015, 15:05

    Karen: I find it hard to believe that you have children who use the on-road cycle lanes in Island Bay and you can’t see the sense of a continuous kerb-side cycleway that starts at Reef St and goes all the way to town. Those on-road lanes are not safe. As you point out, The Parade is wide with good visibility so it made a lot of sense for WCC to start at the easy end and show everyone how much safer and what a great improvement the kerb-side lanes will be. Why don’t you wait until they are built and see for yourself?