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Councillors approve $226m ten-year plan for network of connected cycleways

News from WCC
The Wellington City Council today gave the green light to consult on a connected bike network that will make streets safer and healthier.

The project will cost $226m over ten years, if all parts of the network are built.

The Council also voted to get going quickly on safer bike routes between Newtown and the city, and the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā and the city. These will be developed using adaptable materials, so people can use them, make suggestions, and help refine the design.

Transitional changes will include pedestrian and public transport benefits, and pave the way for bigger changes that will come through the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme.

Mayor Andy Foster says rolling out a fully connected, 147km network of safer routes over the next 10 years so people can choose to bike, scoot, walk or take public transport will help set the city up for a more sustainable lower carbon future.

“Public engagement for the bike network will run alongside engagement for a big picture LGWM programme and District Plan. We are very keen, in the latter part of this year, to put our integrated and transformational transport and urban district plan before our community,” says Mayor Foster.

Councillor Iona Pannett, Chair of Pūroro Āmua, the Planning and Environment Committee, is excited that today’s vote will see transitional changes happening more quickly in some parts of the city.

“I want everyone, including children and young people, to be able to get to schools, shops, parks, beaches, and between neighbourhoods and the city safely and independently. Getting connections in quickly to Newtown and the Botanic Garden is a great start.”

Capital Coast District Health Board Chief Financial Officer Rosalie Percival says today’s vote is fantastic news. “The commitment to develop a network that will help more Wellingtonians to be able to safely choose to bike or walk, and enjoy the health and well-being benefits is great for our city.

“We’re delighted that a safer biking connection between Newtown and the city is going to be one of the first things to happen. More than 5000 people work at Wellington Hospital and this will support other work we are doing to enable more of our staff to be able to commute sustainably and conveniently.

“Battling traffic and finding a park can be frustrating and time consuming. We acknowledge and support the great work Wellington City Council and Metlink are doing to improve active and public transport options to Wellington Hospital.”

Councillor Tamatha Paul, Deputy Chair of Pūroro Āmua, says Wellingtonians have been very clear. They want local action in response to the climate and ecological emergency. “Road transport contributes about 34 percent of the city’s carbon emissions ­– so making it possible for more of us to get places in low carbon ways is critical. There’s no time to waste.”

Earlier report on cycleway decision

38 comments:

  1. IBCycleWay, 24. September 2021, 10:47

    One thing that annoyed me about the WgtnCC discussion about the bike plan is the obsession (from some) with ‘KPIs’. There’s currently only 23km of bike lanes in Wellington (3% of the roads & footpaths) surely this is really about equitable access to infrastructure? The proposed plan will shift the % of Wgtn roads with bike lanes from 3% to 20%. That’s all. If we were trying to justify going from say 50% to 100% then maybe ask “is it worth it” but this is just about making a minor correction to a huge inequity. There’s probably hundreds of kms of roads/footpaths in Wgtn that will be used less frequently than these bike lanes. But nobody would dare suggest getting rid of them or not maintaining them. And the $226m cycling capex in the LTP is still only 25% of all transport capex. [via twitter]

     
  2. Michael Wood, 24. September 2021, 11:02

    Local government, community, and central government are coming together in Wellington to do transport better. This plan means fewer emissions, safer streets, less congestion, and healthier communities. Well done all for both the vision, & bringing in the budget to make it happen. [via twitter]

     
  3. Claire, 24. September 2021, 11:04

    Tamatha: how many Wellingtonians have asked for a big spend on cycleways? Don’t lump everyone in with the vocal lobby groups.

     
  4. Ray Chung, 24. September 2021, 15:03

    Has anyone looked at where they propose putting these cycle-ways? One of the roads is Onslow Road from the Hutt Road to Cashmere Road in Khandallah. A few years ago, a resident in one of the houses on Onslow Road asked us (ORCA) to support asking the WCC to build a footpath on Onslow Road as it’s too dangerous for him and his children to walk down this street with traffic passing. The WCC said Onslow Road is too narrow to put a footpath and the only way to get it would be to widen the road by carving away at the hillside that would cost millions or build an elevated footpath over the bank on the other side, also costing millions! So now councillors have approved building a cycle-way when they can’t build a footpath because of insufficient room? So the lives of pedestrians are less important than cyclists?

     
  5. Claire, 24. September 2021, 17:30

    Ray: Why didn’t they just get a small network going in the city and inner suburbs. Imagine how many people will bike from Khandallah to the cbd!

     
  6. Ray Chung, 24. September 2021, 21:00

    I’ve ridden up Onslow Road when returning home as I still find it’s preferable to riding up Ngaio Gorge but the road is so narrow that I often feel guilty when cars are queuing behind me as they can’t pass safely. Notwithstanding this and how it would benefit me, I couldn’t in all conscience agree with the WCC spending millions to make a bike lane on this road.

     
  7. JAB, 24. September 2021, 22:16

    What baffles me is the emphasis on cycleways on main arterial routes when intra-suburb safe-cycling seems to be ignored. If we want to diminish micro carjourneys, surely painted routes, speed humps and appropriate signage to enable say Khandallah residents to cycle to the local supermarket would be cheap and green, with catching a bus the option between suburbs. And thanks Ray for the heads up about public and private transport piling up behind cyclists.

     
  8. JAB, 24. September 2021, 22:51

    As a matter of urban tactics could we not just hand out annual bus passes to anyone caught on a cycle. On current usage that would be about $20k.

     
  9. Ray Chung, 25. September 2021, 13:26

    JAB, excellent point! I was standing outside the New World supermarket in Ganges Road when collecting for Mary Potter and the SPCA and chatted with Mike Walsh, the owner. I said it’s strange but I see the same people coming here every day and he said this is correct, people in Khandallah treat this supermarket as their local and often just drop in for 2-3 items like milk, bread, wine etc, whilst when they go to the larger supermarkets in Johnsonville, it’s invariably a big shopping trolley of shopping. So the point of convincing people to ride a bike to the supermarket is a great one as I see cars in the car park for 10-15 minutes while shoppers just get their few items so it would be relatively easy to put them into a backpack and ride. Maybe we could talk to Mike about putting a bike rack there to try this theory? However, many of the shoppers are older retired folk so perhaps they won’t be so comfortable riding a bike but many of them walk there already.

     
  10. Claire, 25. September 2021, 16:20

    Ray: everytime I have been to Khandallah there is very little traffic. People who want to cycle can do it NOW with no drama. No need for an expensive cycle way there. Or in many suburbs.

     
  11. Ray Chung, 25. September 2021, 19:34

    Hi Claire, yes, I agree! I ride around Khandallah and Johnsonville often and the roads are fine with no need for any special cycle lanes. But I’ve never seen anyone ride to the supermarket which is what JAB was suggesting for those with only a few things that can be easily carried on a bike.

     
  12. JAB, 26. September 2021, 0:36

    If cycles aren’t being used now for relatively short safe journeys within suburbs, why do the cycle proponents imagine that everyone is going to leap onto a bike for longer distance cycleways?

     
  13. Mike Mellor, 26. September 2021, 15:45

    Ray C/JAB: many people would disagree that roads without any provision for people on bikes are “fine” or “safe”, as the reported absence of bikes would appear to confirm.

    Obviously no-one is suggesting that “everyone is going to leap onto a bike”, just that enough people will to make a difference.

     
  14. JAB, 26. September 2021, 22:53

    MM. My point actually was that measures to improve the safety of cycling within a suburb to replace short car journeys are likely to be many factors cheaper than the hard out main route cycleways proposed. And if the uptake is as limited as it appears to be now then why spend the hard out money. As for enough people leaping onto a bike to make a difference they can catch the bus as the rest of us do and make the difference right now.

     
  15. Dave B, 27. September 2021, 4:00

    Ray Chung, you are right that putting a cycleway up Onslow Road would be a major task, particularly around the curvy bottom half where it is most needed. This section as you point out lacks even a footpath. Great if it can be achieved and I suggest that the same facility could double as both a footpath and a cycleway for uphill-cyclists. Downhill cyclists can generally keep to the speed of traffic so do not cause the hold-ups when on the road, and they certainly would not blend well with pedestrians if doing 40-50Km/h. Perhaps a better alternative would be to provide a footpath/cycle-path up through the bush of Cashmere Park, separate from most of the road, a bit like the “bridle track” slightly further south. Whichever way it goes, it is a significant climb up to Khandallah and whenever I ride that way, rarely do I see any other individuals not-in-cars. However a safe route would no doubt encourage more e-bikes as well as walkers.

    I cannot agree that the roads around Khandallah and Johnsonville “are fine with no need for any special cycle lanes”. Cyclists take a significant risk using them and accidents do occur (the most recent one I can remember was at the Moorfield/Broderick intersection). Experienced cyclists generally manage OK, but it is hardly an encouragement for new cyclists or children. One of the biggest causes of conflict is parked cars forcing cyclists to pull out into the traffic-stream to get around them. This is particularly onerous when grinding slowly uphill with a big speed-differential between cars and the cyclist. I would like to see ALL parking removed from ALL streets that have a speed limit of more than 30Km/hr. The main routes should be ‘clearways’ for moving traffic, not cluttered and obstructed by parked vehicles. As well as improving driving conditions, doing this would allow a safe shoulder to be provided for cyclists on main roads, which would be a big improvement even without a purpose-built cycleway. We have to get away from the “cars must come first” design-mentality if we want to seriously encourage people to use more environmentally-sustainable modes.

     
  16. Codger, 27. September 2021, 9:22

    What about people who are too old to use a bicycle?

     
  17. Rebecca Matthews, 27. September 2021, 9:42

    Safe cycling infrastructure is desperately needed in Karori (& other parts of our ward). People are getting injured or worse too often. Disappointing to see my two ward colleagues vote against both the LGWM programme & this. [via twitter]

     
  18. Greenwelly, 27. September 2021, 10:06

    @Rebecca Matthews, The cycleway to Karori will not happen under the council, it’s a LGWM project, and absolutely no details have been made public on its design or timing….. it’s described as part of “LONGER TERM OPPORTUNITIES” – so who knows when that will happen. Council vs LGWM projects.

     
  19. Terrestrial Invertebrate, 27. September 2021, 10:13

    Rebecca: When was the last time a cyclist was worse than injured (killed) in your ward?

     
  20. Dave B, 27. September 2021, 10:24

    Codger, many people who thought they were “too old to use a bicycle”, are discovering that e-bikes enable them to ride like youngsters again!
    For the many who can’t or don’t want to ride bicycles, of course cars will still be their go-to mode. No-one is suggesting otherwise.
    Merely that cars cease to be given such overwhelming priority over transport-design and transport-funding that they stifle everything else. Those who are prepared to cycle, walk or use public transport should be given a much fairer slice of the cake because they actually hold the key to solving many of our problems.

     
  21. Patrick Morgan, 27. September 2021, 10:53

    Great stuff, Wellington City Council.
    There’s huge demand for safe and attractive streets for all ages and abilities. That’s why Councillors voted 14-2 to consult on Wellington’s new bike network plan. That’s why the Council has a sensible plan to build a 147km network that serves our city.
    I agree with comments that we need easy local trips by bike as well as protected bike lanes that connect suburbs. Low Traffic Neighbourhoods help those short local trips by foot, scooter and bike.
    If we are serious about meeting our climate goals, improving health, making streets safe, and boosting prosperity, bike lanes are essential.
    Hills and wind? Gears and e-bikes.
    Narrow streets? Let’s use the space more efficiently.
    Better public transport? Certainly.
    Scarce resources? Bike projects typically deliver $10 for every $1 invested.
    Let’s bike to the future.

     
  22. JAB, 27. September 2021, 18:46

    I cannot fathom why the cycle lobby, council staff and councillors don’t respond with hard data about the viability of cycle networks, given the low usage 500-2000 and the quarter of a billion dollars their neighbours are expected to provide to cyclists. Most of the justification is little more than “feel good” and quoting figures such as $10 is irrelevant. $10 compared to what? Bus travel, car travel, walking, cycling on a road rather than around a park? Public funds are scarce – we need to use them for the most efficient green projects.

     
  23. Ray Chung, 27. September 2021, 19:51

    Thanks Dave B. As I come through streets in Khandallah like Homebush Road, I believe car parking should only be on one side of the road as it’s so narrow and I’ve represented this to council. However, it’s extremely difficult to get the council road engineers to agree to this as they say the owners of these cars will have nowhere else to park. Yet the WCC changed the District Plan to allow houses to be built without off-street parking, acerbating the problem. I have a call in to the WCC road engineers now with another request to consider making yet another street parking one side only, as there was an accident with a bus trying to squeeze through. So I have empathy with your concerns and am constantly representing these to council.

     
  24. Claire, 27. September 2021, 21:37

    Ray; I am guessing those people don’t have off street parking. So you can understand their dismay if you took out half the parks.
    Yes the WCC has said apartment blocks no longer require carparks. Of course in time this will cause a problem as you can’t magic cars away.

     
  25. Dave B, 28. September 2021, 4:40

    Ray Chung, as a society we really have “painted ourselves into a corner” as a result of incentivising car-dependency for the last 50 years, without due regard to the negative impacts this would lead to. It has shaped not only the way we travel, but also the way we design our houses, subdivisons, towns, shopping-centres, roads, footpaths, public transport, even our very lifestyles. There are huge problems with all of this and parking-issues are just one of them.
    Gradually we are waking up to the fact that things need to change, and that change needs to be signalled and led by government and local authorities. Individuals can only do so much when the system we have created largely constrains us to live like this, whether we want to or not. Building cycleways, encouraging ‘walkability’, improving public transport and reducing the dominance of cars are the steps being taken to start turning the ship around.
    Allowing some residential schemes to be built without on-site car-parking is a recognition of the fact that not everyone wants or needs a car and therefore should not have to pay for parking-provision they won’t use. Of course, if people with cars live in these places, or have regular visitors who come with cars, then there will still be demand to park on the street. One way to manage this is to provide parking areas only where it is safe and practical to do so, and drop the expectation that every house should have an on-street park right outside it. People living in or visiting car-free subdivisions (or older suburbs built before off-street parking for every property was provided), may have to get used to parking in designated areas and walking from there.
    But the real problem is not that there are a whole heap of houses without an on-site carpark. It is that many households now have more cars (or more visitors’ cars) than their parking can accommodate. Or they choose to use their garages for other purposes than housing their cars. The expectation that unlimited free parking should always be available in the public street needs seriously challenging.

     
  26. Mike Mellor, 28. September 2021, 9:27

    Ray C/Dave B: absolutely agree about the lack of walk and bike provision on Onslow Rd. It’s very poor that people can’t with any degree of safety get the short distance down the hill to the main bike/bus/foot artery along Hutt Rd under their own steam, and this needs fixing.

    Claire: “Of course in time this will cause a problem as you can’t magic cars away” is just not true if there are decent transport and accessibility options, which is why things like bus and bike lanes and decent footpaths are so important, as is making sure that vehicle users are aware of the full costs that they impose on all of us.

     
  27. Steve Doole, 28. September 2021, 19:27

    Planners used to provide for steps between roads on Wellington hills, some quite long. Steps seem to be missed out now.

     
  28. Julienz, 28. September 2021, 20:25

    From Khandallah there are alternatives to Onslow Road. The Bridle Track (an extension of Nicholson Road) is a well used car free/low car traffic route for walkers and cyclists. In addition there are steps for pedestrians from the bottom of Amritsar Street to Rangiora Avenue and the Hutt Road. Both require a reasonable level of fitness or maybe an electric bike for the uphill journey.

     
  29. Dave B, 28. September 2021, 23:50

    Julienz, carrying a bicycle up the 466 steps from Rangiora Street to Amritsar Street is a strenuous effort. Carrying a heavy e-bike would be nigh-on impossible.
    The Bridle track is a good cycling route to Khandallah from the city, but if you are coming from the Hutt Valley then Onslow Road is more convenient. This route needs some bicycle provision also, and as I suggested somewhere above, a track similar to the Bridle Track up through the bush from Cashmere Park might be feasible. But footpath and cycle provision along Onslow Road would still need to be made from the Hutt Road as far as Cashmere Park.

     
  30. Dave B, 29. September 2021, 0:07

    From a cyclist’s point-of-view, it is great to see that the dreaded angle-parking has been removed from Thorndon Quay. Thanks WCC / LGWM or whoever actioned this. This main cycling-route has suddenly and cheaply become a whole lot safer!

     
  31. Claire, 29. September 2021, 8:13

    Mike we already have parking problems plus more from the the new apartments with no parks. Parking wars exist in Newtown. People start circling at 6am. That is reality.

     
  32. Georgina Campbell, 29. September 2021, 9:19

    More cycleways are coming to Wellington whether you like it or not and despite Wellington City Council’s social licence to build this infrastructure remaining severely compromised. [via twitter].

     
  33. Claire, 29. September 2021, 9:34

    Georgina: that comment reeks of bias. WCC with their record will not complete such a vast network of cycleways. Most of it unnecessary.

     
  34. Laurie Foon, 29. September 2021, 11:18

    My teens are starting to ride bikes as they realise it is easier for them to get to a-b quickly. I must confess I have told them to ride on the footpath until there are protected cycle lanes! [via twitter]

     
  35. Ray Chung, 29. September 2021, 12:57

    Dave B & Claire; I feel that there needs to be a compromise with parking so perhaps if city-dwellers don’t need or have cars, then not having off-street parking may not be an inconvenience to them. But for suburban houses, I believe it should still be mandatory as with too many cars on the narrow streets, buses, emergency vehicles, rubbish trucks etc can’t get through. I just came up Fraser Avenue in Johnsonville and there’s so many cars parked there and it’s an unmarked narrow road so is very dangerous. All these cars seem to be owned by people living in the town houses on the old school site but obviously there’s insufficient parking there.

     
  36. Julienz, 29. September 2021, 14:57

    Dave, I am sorry to have been unclear. I was referring to options for pedestrians as well as cyclists in my comment and obviously the Rangiora steps are not suitable for bikes in either direction. Interestingly according to Google maps it is about 300 metres further to use the Bridle Path rather than Onslow Road for a cycle or walking trip from the bottom of Centennial Highway to Khandallah New World. I am not a cyclist, but as a walker I consider the Bridle Path a far more forgiving gradient. Having said that, I agree some kind of shared path provision from Homebush Road to the Hutt Road would give residents on the lower part of Onslow Road more options. It would offer walkers a safer trip should they wish to catch the far more frequent bus services available on the Hutt Road. I believe an additional crossing is proposed as part of the Hutt Road to Thorndon Quay and beyond changes which would provide safer access to the cycle lane and city bound bus stops. A shared path would offer uphill cyclists who don’t want to divert to the Bridle Path, a safer ride. And, as you say, most downhill cyclists are able to keep up with cars. I appreciate shared walking and cycling is not ideal but when the terrain is so difficult and the numbers of walkers and cyclists are not great then if all users could be considerate to others, a shared path could be the most cost effective in this particular location.

     
  37. Claire, 29. September 2021, 19:47

    One of the problems is people not getting practice on the road on bikes. Back in the day, parents took kids out gradually to get road savvy. I don’t think this happens now so people are freaked out, and demand a separate cycle way.

     
  38. JAB, 1. October 2021, 13:06

    Overseas there are now micro-electric cars (a bit bigger than golf carts) that do about 50kph. They do everything an ebike does and more, without the cost of separate lanes, and are accessible to a far wider range of people.

     

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