Big is an understatement. The agenda for this meeting is huge. There are 4 PDF links to read through, should you be bothered, totalling around 1000 pages. I’m actually quite impressed that any councillor could absorb that much information between publication and the meeting.
There are a few specific transport issues:
- 2.3 Adoption of the Wellington Cycling Framework
Presented by Mayor Wade-Brown
- 2.4 2015/16 Statement of Intent for Wellington Cable Car Ltd
Presented by Councillor Foster
- 3.1 Report of the Transport and Urban Development Committee Meeting of 5 February 2015
Presented by Councillor Foster
- 3.4 Report of the Transport and Urban Development Committee Meeting of 21 May 2015
Presented by Councillor Foster
There are others that fit in on the periphery as well, but these are the few that I’m interested in highlighting in advance of the meeting.
Consultation on the cycling framework was largely positive, but nowhere near unanimous. I’d be lying if I said that I read through every submission myself and I’m reasonably sure that most councillors will be relying on summaries as well, and probably plenty of phone calls and personal messages, given the nurtured controversy that we’ve witnessed.
The recommendations to the council are to amend and adopt the draft Wellington Cycling Framework, appoint up to six councillors to a working party, and agree to a terms of reference for the working party. Officers will report back to the Transport and Urban Development Committee in September 2015 with a proposed list of priority packages and routes.
During the decision to send the draft framework out for consultation, Councillor Eagle proposed a successful amendment to request advice on lower thresholds for parking changes, specifically 40m and 80m thresholds instead of 160m. Officers kindly put in some context:
- A 160 metre, 2 minute walk is the length of lower Cuba St from the Michael Fowler Centre to Manners St.
- An 80 metre, 1 minute walk is like crossing Civic Square from the Library to Nikau Café.
- A 40 metre, 30 second walk is the length of eight cars.
Submissions were open for four business weeks and received 135 submissions.
Of the total 135 submissions, 120 were received from individuals, 13 from community organisations and two from public agencies. In total, 15 (11%) clearly stated their opposition to the Framework, 6 (4%) did not state a position (2 appeared to be opposed, the remainder neutral) and the remaining 114 (84%) submission ranged in their support of the framework.
There’s a refrain within the negative feedback that shows a belief that only motorists spend money and businesses that are deprived of immediate parking will rapidly wither, which is quite contrary to the findings of NZTA Research Report 530:
The data from this study shows that sustainable transport users account for 40% of the total spend in the shopping areas. It also shows that pedestrians and cyclists contribute a higher economic spend proportionately to the modal share and are important to the economic viability of local shopping areas.
The NZTA submission makes the direct link between the framework and the Urban Cycleways Programme and has proposed changes to strengthen the description of the strategic importance of cycling. The end result should be a better case being made to the public for creation of the cycling network.
Interestingly, NZTA provides support for the parking principles beyond the draft wording.
The submission from Greater Wellington Regional Council was clear that negative impact on core bus routes is unacceptable, which had also been indicated by NZTA.
The resulting wording takes this on and indicates that for non-core bus routes, a threshold of 5% increase of journey times will be referred back to full council.
Without extra time, it’s hard to see all the little changes in wording that may have occurred elsewhere. There have been plenty of changes, but nothing struck me as changing the intent or direction of the framework.
The next transport item is the Statement of Intent for Wellington Cable Car Ltd. There’s plenty of content in there for the keen reader, but the highlights will suffice here:
8. Officers have reviewed the 2015/16 SOI and acknowledge that it responds constructively to the Letter of Expectations and the subsequent comments and recommendations of the Transport and Urban Development Committee. The main areas for Council to note are as follows:
9. The company’s SOI does acknowledge the Committee’s request for more information regarding its future capital expenditure needs. In 2015/16 the company will replace the Cable Car’s electric drive and controller in a project worth $2.9m, of which Council has provided for funding of $2.5m in its Long Term Plan, and the company will fund $0.4m.
10. Also beginning in 2015/16, a tunnel strengthening project worth $0.3m is scheduled to be undertaken over 3 financial years finishing in 2017/18 and will be funded by the company.
11. The company notes that in 2025/26 it intends replacing the passenger cars and bogies in a project that is estimated to cost between $8.0m and $10.0m and expected to take approximately 5 weeks.
12. In terms of decommissioning the overhead network, the company notes that variables including project scope, planning and scheduling plus significant negotiations with external parties have not been concluded. As a result, the expected cost of decommissioning the network is not able to be confirmed at this stage.
Item 3.1 reports on the Island Bay Cycleway, including the working party report and proposed amendment to the traffic resolutions required for the cycleway. The report includes a list of 20 recommendations, a number of which set up a scheme of monitoring performance and safety aspects of design compromises. As expected, parking concerns are a dominant theme as well, with a few adjustments being recommended.
Unfortunately, there was also a recommendation to retain Dee Street as a roundabout.
This annoys me greatly, not only for the notably poor safety performance of roundabouts for cyclists. My issue, as I’d mentioned in my original submission on the cycleway, is regarding pedestrian issues, which jumped out at me the first time I had taken a buggy to Island Bay. These are the sight-lines from the dropped kerbs at the Dee Street roundabout:
For a pedestrian to step onto the road at the dropped kerbs, they’d need to be clairvoyant to have been able to properly assess their safety. Motorists can’t be trusted to be looking for pedestrians either, especially when multiple obstacles are on the road at a given time. I hope that councillors realise this before approving this change on Wednesday.
The last item I’ll look at is 3.4, which recommends implementing two cycle lanes, one in Rongotai and the other in Ngauranga Gorge. I’ve been meaning to write about the Coutts Street cycle lane for a while, mostly for the claims that on-street parking must be preserved to that house prices are preserved. This claim is worth looking at yet, but not today.
The Coutts Street cycle lane appears as a vastly cut-down version than was proposed in the 21 May 2015 Transport and Urban Development agenda. Most of the length of the cycle lane was deferred to a further meeting because of resident parking issues and the principal of Rongotai College.
I have to admit that I didn’t notice the Ngauranga Gorge Road traffic resolutions before. The problem identification looks like a horror story for vulnerable road users.
The entire set of proposals were carried by T&UD, so now the recommendation awaits council approval to deliver approximately 250m of cycle lane.
I’ve skipped over the Urban Growth Plan, which is Item 3.3. It has massive implications for transport and will come up repeatedly in future posts. I’ll leave you with this summary.