Wellington City Council Annual Plan Submission 2013

Wellington City Council Annual Plan Submission 2013

Cycle Aware Wellington (CAW) represents 600 members and supporters.

www.caw.org.nz http://www.facebook.com/groups/166036183455868/ @CycleAwareWgtn

We wish to speak to our submission, please contact Eleanor Meecham

Our submission:

  • We support WCC's recognition that cycling is a key part of the network, and offers a solution to most of the transport challenges Wellington faces.

  • WCC's proposed investment in cycling, however, is not adequate to satisfy the public's demand for a safe and connected bicycle network. Furthermore, it will not be sufficient to significantly increase the cycling levels around the city or to achieve the council's cycle safety goals. In fact, Wellington has recently been trending downwards, and is now being described as the most dangerous city in New Zealand for riding a bike.

  • While CAW supports the Tawa Stream Path, it should not be the only major improvement to the network taking place as it will not affect the majority of Wellington cyclists.

  • Prioritising road-space for cyclists over on-street parking on key arterial routes is a low-cost way to improve cycle safety.

  • Improved cycle facilities are urgently needed on:

    1. Southern Bypass, Island Bay to CBD - This heavily used route has some of Wellington's worst conditions for cyclists with virtually no facilities provided. Removing on-street parking on Adelaide Road, even just in the uphill direction, would allow cyclists to take the climb the hill at their own pace without holding up vehicles and angering motorists. Furthermore, vehicles would not be tempted to swerve into opposing traffic to overtake slow moving cyclists, a very hazardous manoeuvre.

    2. Jervois/Customhouse/Waterloo Quay from Taranaki St to Bunny St - the current designated cycle route is the shared path along the waterfront, but commuter cyclists tend to avoid this route in peak times due to the high volumes of pedestrians. The reasonable alternative, Jervois/Customhouse Quay, could easily be made attractive for these commuter cyclists by simply painting on a 1.5-metre wide cycle lane or sharrows (cycling symbols) to the far left of the road. We believe the carriageway is wide enough that this could be added without narrowing the lanes below the Austroads minimum lane width for cars.

    3. Hutt Rd shared path - another heavily used route which is dangerous and unappealing, shared, as it is, between cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles parking and pulling into and out of businesses along the roadside.

  • Lower speeds are another low-cost way to improve the safety of all road users, especially cyclists.

  • A dedicated bicycle coordinator person would help the council gain traction in this area, progress projects, find low-cost wins by collaborating with other areas of council, and liaise with the community.

  • WCC should continue to be a constructive partner in the Great Harbour Way project, contributing where possible to get positive outcomes.

Where could the money come from?

While many low-cost improvements to the cycle network could be made, an increased budget is required to advance cycle infrastructure to the level that meets public demand and allow more people the freedom to travel by bicycle.

CAW recognised that cuts are being made in many areas and that the budget is limited. However, the potential for cycling to saves ratepayers money by giving them a cheap transport option in the city makes it a worthwhile spend. Instead of spending money at the pump, they will spend it at Wellington businesses and contribute to the city's economy.

Perhaps we could review the road maintenance budget to see if reprioritising projects would free up budget for cycling. Another option is to deprioritise artificial sports grounds in favour of increasing the cycling budget

Alignment with Council activities

We believe there are huge gains to be made by aligning other council activities with improving cycling e.g. suburban centre development, parks and recreation, parking. If cycling improvements can be made in conjunction with these other activities, the cost of improvements will be less, due to economies of scale.

Suburban centre developments should include installing bicycle corals in front of retail stores and allowing efficient movement of cyclists from the street to these corrals by lowering the curb in places. Similarly, parks and recreational facilities need sufficient signage and lowered curbs to allow cyclists to move between the street to park pathways with ease. Furthermore, storing private vehicles on public roads restricts the space available to move traffic. Removing such parking from just one side of the road would free up road space for a cycle lane in EACH direction, and encourage people to make more trips by bicycle instead of private car. This could easily be done in conjunction with standard road maintenance activities to save costs.


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Here's the submission I made to the WCC, recommending the adoption of a set of guidelines for safer cycling, and applying this to improving key routes as part of the 2013/14 annual plan.  I provided some draft guidelines:

  • Cyclist are traffic. Therefore vehicles need to give way to cyclists as they do for other vehicles, e.g.
    • Turning vehicles must give way to cyclist going straight through
    • Side roads will have a crossing protecting cyclists and pedestrians
  • The higher the speed of vehicle traffic, the more separation is required for routes with a high number of cyclists, e.g.
    • Where the road speed limit is higher than 50Km/Hour there needs be a dedicated cycling lane with a barrier (posts or guard) protecting from vehicle traffic. If there is no room for a dedicated cycling lane and no suitable alternative route for either cyclists or vehicles, the road speed limit shall be lowered to 30Km/Hour
    • Where the road speed limit is between 30Km-50Km/Hour, there needs to be a clearly marked cycling lane. Where there is no room for a marked cycling lane, the road speed limit shall be dropped to 20Km/Hour and cyclist given full right of way
  • Shared foot/cycle paths must have a minimum width of 4 meters with clearly marked sections for pedestrians and cyclists

I have given examples of how those guidelines can be applied to recommending what changes would need to be made to the Island Bay as well as the Southern Coast routes. 

  • In the case of the Island Bay route, it recommends dropping the traffic speed to 20Km/Hour where there are no marked cycle lanes and suggest that vehicles can be made to use Rintoul Street as the alternative faster route.  This would be a good compromise as it avoids upsetting locals by taking away car parks.  It does create more traffic around the hospital however.
  • For the Southern Coast route, it is no brainer in my view that the road speed should be dropped to 20Km/hour and traffic slowed down by installing judder bars and / or planter boxes.  This would further help to enhance the appeal of this beautiful coastline.