Wellington Scoop

Curious incident of missing cycle route

by Alastair Smith
Detective: “is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Sherlock Holmes: “To the curious incident of the cycleway from Berhampore to the CBD”
Detective: “There is no cycleway from Berhampore to the CBD”
Sherlock Holmes: “That is the curious incident”

It’s great news that the Island Bay Parade Upgrade, which includes a kerbside cycleway, is under way. Making Island Bay Parade more cycle friendly will encourage more journeys by bike in the suburb, which benefits everyone: less congestion for those who need to drive, a more relaxing journey for those who bike.

But of course, Island Bay was stage one of a cycle route from Island Bay to the CBD. An Opus report of May 2013 found that the route had “a high strategic fit” and a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 3.7 – for each dollar invested, almost $4 of return could be expected (Transmission Gully has a BCR of only 0.6).

In July 2014, a Citizen’s Advisory Panel identified the most promising routes for stage two of the cycleway, between Wakefield Park and Newtown. In July 2015, an ePetition called for building a cycleway through Berhampore.

However the Wellington City projects to be funded under the Urban Cycleways Programme don’t include Island Bay to CBD, and the Wellington City Council doesn’t appear to have current plans to press ahead with it. Instead, concentration will be on the northern route, from Wellington CBD to the Hutt Valley, improvements to cycling routes within the CBD, and the Eastern Urban Cycleway connecting the CBD with Kilbirnie and Miramar.

These are all important projects, but why the change in priority for Island Bay to CBD? Of course, the reaction of some Island Bay residents to the unfamiliar concept of a kerbside cycleway, and the resulting political delays in implementing the Island Bay Parade changes, have probably played a part. Also, the uncertainty surrounding transport provisions at the Basin Reserve may make planners hesitant to commit to a definite route.

Earlier this year, over 300 people who bike urged the Council to “get on with it” and build cycling infrastructure. If Island Bay to CBD is on the back burner, it’s vital that the city council proceeds quickly with the routes that have been prioritised under the UCP. With government funding available from the UCP, and councillors voting unanimously for the Cycling Framework, there really isn’t an excuse to lose momentum.

This article was first published earlier this week on the website of Cycle Aware Wellington.


  1. Frances de gregorio, 29. October 2015, 17:07

    (NOTE: This is not the Fran de Gregorio from the Island Bay Festival.)
    My question has always been: who is going to use this cycleway in the bay? The mayor at the public meeting said that little johnny will be able to cycle safely to Wakefield Park. But the cycleway will now end at the Dee street roundabout. What a waste of money.

  2. Island Bay Rules, 29. October 2015, 17:23

    Dear Sherlock, a letter from the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges dated 11 August confirms the Wellington City Council had not asked NZTA for any funding for the Island Bay Cycleway. NZTA had deemed section one of the Island Bay to CBD route safe, with reasonable service levels for cyclists.

  3. Curtis Nixon, 29. October 2015, 17:41

    Right on the money Alastair. Berhampore and Newtown have been sadly let down by the WCC’s cycleway process – led by the opposition group with a P.Eagle and N.Young Nat/Lab coalition conspiring to attack what is perceived as a “Green” initiative for political points scoring.

    One problem is that as soon as the negative chorus spooked WCC’s horses it was decided to limit the Island Bay to CBD route to just the Island Bay section – (as a councillor told me) – so that the money amount wasn’t too scary.

    But this opened the door to the “cycleway to nowhere argument”. The same people who ride up and down The Parade and Adelaide Rd every day, including SWIS kids on scooters, will be able to use the new, safe cycleway; plus all those currently frightened of bike riding on the road (like me, my daughter, many others); and where the cycleway ends at Wakefield Park they will continue on to the road or footpath, like they do now, depending on their confidence.

  4. Lance Devlin, 30. October 2015, 10:24

    Scoop, I’m very disappointed that you continue to be biased about anything related to the cycleway debate. The completely ignored “silent majority” is becoming more and more vocal in their fury as to what is happening on The Parade. [We publish opinions from both sides of the debate, including your’s and Fiona’s and Fran’s and others, and (in September) Vicki’s and Sally’s and Roger’s and Luciana’s. Not ignored, and definitely not silent. ]

  5. Fiona C-G, 30. October 2015, 10:53

    Yes Scoop, you do write both sides of the argument but I am shocked that you can allow slanderous comments from one side and then edit other’s comments. Where is the fairness in this? [We continue to edit comments from both sides.]

  6. Fiona C-G, 30. October 2015, 11:34

    For those people reading these comments and to put my comments into perspective, Scoop has since removed the comments that I was referring to. I hope that you publish this comment Scoop.

  7. Curtis Nixon, 30. October 2015, 12:00

    Thanks Wellington.Scoop for using your editorial skills to keep the debate on these pages as balanced as possible.

  8. Fiona C-G, 30. October 2015, 17:40

    Yeah Right!!! And scoop I hope you publish this comment!!!

  9. Sam Grover, 1. November 2015, 15:04

    With regards to the “there aren’t enough numbers for a cycle way” argument, there is an economic concept called induced demand (you can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand#Induced_demand_and_transport_planning). In a nutshell, it describes the fact that when you make an activity easier, more people take part in that activity. We see it all the time in in roads; wider, straighter roads such as highways almost always generate more traffic because they make it easier for people to live and travel further away than they previously could.

    This is relevant to the cycle way debate because it follows that if better roads induce more demand for car travel, then better cycle ways will induce more demand for cycle travel. The flow-on effect of this is that the roads actually become safer and less congested, as more people choose to cycle (taking up very little space) rather than drive (taking up lots and lots of space).

    Anyway that’s a bit off topic, but I’ve seen a lot of people say “there aren’t enough cyclists for a cycle way” which is the wrong argument because it doesn’t account for induced demand.

  10. lindsay, 2. November 2015, 21:20

    To Vicki: We have published ten of your comments in the last two months. Eight of these comments have strongly expressed your strong opinions against the Island Bay cycleway. Proof, I hope, that Wellington.Scoop does publish both sides of the argument.