The upcoming WCC full council meeting has one major agenda point, the Wellington Cycling Framework. It’s a big issue and likely going to be a long meeting anyway. In the lead-up to this point, we’ve seen council unanimously increase the cycling budget to $4.3/year and the central government allocate the $100 million Urban Cycleways Fund. At the same time, we’ve seen councillors collude and stifle progress on the Island Bay cycleway. As it stands, it’s not going to be an easy vote, despite the consultation on the long term plan saying the cycleways are a high priority and cyclists voting with their bodies, even on poor infrastructure.
The framework described in the report looks to reverse some of the additional overheads of having full council voting on cycleway projects.
This looks like a shot across the bow of the councillors who’ve sided against the Island Bay Cycleway. By failing to streamline the process by adopting the framework, councillors would be making the delivery of the network less efficient, wasting resources and invested money. This should be good news to those of us who actually want to see some work getting done instead of further political point-scoring.
In order to achieve some of this streamlining, the delivery model is being changed to reflect the successful model used for the construction of the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.
The biggest criticism of the Island Bay cycleway has been the consultation process. The framework looks to expand the consultation process appropriately and make use of the successful tools developed for the long term plan consultation.
The supporting information is where the bulk of the really interesting stuff happens. I could excerpt page after page, but copying images from a re-scanned document would be nearly unreadable. I suggest skimming through the original instead, especially the areas around principles and thresholds.
The thresholds listed are largely pretty sensible. Any contradiction between a proposal and an existing strategy or bylaw needs to go through full council approval. Changes to levels of service of other modes of transport also need council approval. This may cause a bit of grief when it’s sensible to implement a road diet in order to obtain adequate space for a cycle lane. I can imagine the political machine having to fight for support of those measures. Changes impacting either parking or lane counts for motorists are quickly dismissed as a war on cars instead of considered on actual merit.
Although the list of triggers is long and will require many decisions being made at full council, there is still hope that all of this work won’t get bogged down by politicians.
While all of this is encouraging, there’s still the question of the framework being adopted. The meeting takes place 30 April, 2015, available for streaming on YouTube.