Cycle Aware Wellington is a voluntary, not-for-profit organisation aimed at improving conditions for cyclists and encouraging more people to bike more often. We advocate for people who use their bikes for transport and recreation. Since 1994, we have worked constructively with councils, government, business and the community on a wide variety of cycling projects. We represent 600 members and supporters, and the 70,000 Wellingtonians who ride bikes.
Many people have questions about the planned cycleway. Here's some responses.
What's the plan?
We have an opportunity to improve quality of life in Island Bay, Berhampore and Newtown.
Wellington City Council is upgrading cycling links to the city. We expect improvements for all road users including those on foot, on bikes, on buses and driving. We also expect benefits for businesses, property owners, and for the wider Wellington community.
But we already have cycle lanes. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Existing Island Bay cycle lanes are low quality. They are in the door zone, they stop at intersections, and they don't offer the protection from traffic that people on bikes need. There's no lanes north of the shopping village. It's no surprise that Island Bay has fewer regular cyclists than other similar suburbs.
Is this a pet project?
All 15 city councillors voted in 2013 to increase the cycling budget.
The Island Bay - City route is the current stage in a series of cycling improvements.
WCC approved its first Cycling Policy in 2008. Since then it has built Te Ara Tawa, put clearways on Thorndon Quay, installed heaps of bike parking, green advanced stop boxes, and is trialling sharrows. Plans are currently underway for Kilbirnie and Miramar. There are about 20 routes with plans for cycling upgrades. This is now considered business as usual for a council.
But it doesn't connect to local schools
We agree. We need to add safe connections to Island Bay schools. That's just a block or two.
What happens north of Island Bay?
There are several options through Berhampore and Newtown to the CBD. The route could go along Adelaide Rd, Hansen St, Rintoul St or Russell Tce. The City to Sea walkway goes around the west side of Wakefield Park. There's room on the east side for an attractive path around the golf course to Rintoul St or Russell Tce, which would connect to South Wellington Intermediate School..
In all cases, the route will go to Wakefield Park, so there's no need to delay on the Island Bay section.
WCC has set up a citizens' panel to consider the options. The panel has six representatives from Newtown, Berhampore and Island Bay, from businesses, from Town Belt users and from the cycling community. Twelve people represent the wider community. The panel's decisions will be public, and will be consulted on.
Is this good value for money? Why are we spending so much on a few cyclists?
The project has many benefits.
- ride a bike, protected cycle lanes offer a safer and easier trip.
- drive, there will be less traffic and more parking spaces available.
- walk, you won't have to share the footpath with bikers.
- take the bus or drive, you won't be held up by people on bikes.
- run a business, there will be less pressure on car parks.
- live on the Parade, your house is likely to increase in value. There will be little or no reduction in parking availability.
More people cycling means lower health bills for everyone, and more disposable income which can be spent locally.
There's also evidence that streets with protected cycle lanes are safer for everyone, not just those on bikes. Quality cycling projects have high benefit to cost ratios. They are good investments.
What about the rest of Wellington?
Offering people more transport choices is likely to reduce traffic congestion and pressure on parking in the CBD. That's why the wider community gets a say on these plans.
What about the golf course?
Walkers and people on bikes already use the golf course, with few problems.
WCC is considering a range of options for cycling routes, including possible routes around the public golf course. No decisions have been made.
Plans for a walking and cycling route are included in the Town Belt Management Plan 2013.
A path would reduce any risk by directing people away from golfers.
Cycle Aware Wellington held a well-attended and publicised public meeting in Island Bay in August 2013 to let people know about cycle route proposals.
Most people on bikes would continue to use the main road through Island Bay and Berhampore. Kids heading for SWIS and people heading for Newtown would benefit from this route.
Many golf courses share with walkers and bikers e.g. Shandon / Hutt River Trail, Hagley Park in Christchurch, and Millbrook in Queenstown.
Will kids getting out of parked cars be at risk?
We haven't seen the detailed designs yet. It needs to include an adequate buffer zone to keep cyclists clear of the door zone. In any case, it's the law that people exiting cars need to check if it's clear.
There hasn't been enough consultation.
WCC consultation included public meetings, leaflet drops, newspaper and online notices. Local newspapers ran many stories. More than 180 submissions were made, with a strong majority supporting the kerbside cycle lanes for Island Bay.
No consultation process is perfect. If you over-consult, nothing gets done.
Regardless, many say they hadn't heard about the plans, so consultation for the Berhampore and Newtown section has been enhanced. There's a range of views, so please have your say.
What about parking?
Parking at Island Bay village shops is not affected. Residents' off-street parking is not affected. Along The Parade, there are about 190 residences. All but 10 have off-street parking. Depending on the detailed design, up to 45 parks may be affected to make intersections safer for everyone. During most of the week there is plenty of unused parking along The Parade.
Cyclists knew about plans before anyone else
It's no secret that people have been advocating for better cycling infrastructure in Wellington for more than 15 years. Cycling advocates saw these plans when they were made public, at the same time as everyone else.
What do others think?
Hastings has recently spent around $4 million improving cycling. At first, many were unsure, but now there's overwhelming support.
What are those benefits again?
Residents Quality of life: streets are quieter and safer, less chance of parked car getting sideswiped, better public space. Minimal loss of parking availability. Property values rise.
Business No loss to parking by the Island Bay village shops. More people on bikes is great for business. In New York city, there was a 49% increase in retail sales for local businesses on 9th Avenue. Lower fuel and health bills means more money is spent locally.
People on bikes Safer, convenient, direct, popular
Health Lower health costs, healthier people. Wellington is bottom of the list for cycling safety in NZ - a shameful fact
Kids love cycling,and need more places to bike locally.
But what about the costs? Can we afford it?
Cycle lanes are great value for money due to their many benefits. NZTA covers half the costs. Many people will benefit, not just those who cycle.
Costs and timing
Depending on the design, a cycling route from Island Bay to the CBD would cost $3-$10 million,
over 2-3 years. $1.3 million is budgeted for the Island Bay section. As a comparison, Christchurch is investing $70 million on cycling in the next 5-8 years.
Where's the evidence?
Biking is good for business
Cyclists shop more often: 11x p/month vs 7x p/month
They spend less on fuel and more in local shops (cyclists fueled by coffee and cake)
Based on 3 trips of 2.5km each way (15km) per week, save $1.65 actual and $4.51 health costs per trip, and $1921.73 per year
In fact they spend more than drivers
Approximately 75% of people purchase two or less bags of goods, and so could carry their goods by foot or bicycle. Most shopping trips involve distances that could be walked or cycled.
Cyclists don't need car parks. In fact you could fit 10 bikes/ shoppers in the space of one car.
They don't obscure your shop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be2D1Y6f83Y
Retail areas with cycle lanes have reported up to 49% increase in sales (NY).
Each square metre allocated to bike parking generates $31 per hour, compared to $6 generated for each square metre used for a car parking space, with food/drink and clothing retailers benefiting the most from bike riders.
City of Portland, Oregon invested $60 million on 300 miles of cycleways, the equivalent of 1 mile of urban motorway. The people of Portland now spend $1.2billion less annually on transportation, of which $800 million is spent in the local community.
Cyclists spend more