Posted by: Gregory | June 22, 2015

The big meeting: WCC 24 June 2015

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.

WCF NZTA submission

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.

WCF GWRC submission

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.

IBC WP Dee Street

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:

Dee Street sightlinesFor 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.

TR Ngauranga cycle lanes

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.

WUGP Transport



  1. Thank you Gregory

    Negative impacts to travel times on core bus routes can be confirmed by the road width suggested in the diagram on page 10 of the Draft Cycling Framework showing bus-lanes at only 3.00 meters. The 15th of April 2010 decision by Judge Thompson of the Environment Court in para; 38 shows the legal bus width should be less then 2.98 meters and confirms we need more then just 3.00 meter traffic lanes.

    In fact the Transit New Zealand Supplement to Austroads Guide to Traffic Engineering Practice Part 14 – Bicycles, shows on page 9 the required lane width to be at 3.5 meters in a 50 km zone that is The Parade in Island Bay.

    If a portion of cyclists as suggested will NOT use the separated cycle lanes on main routes, delays to bus travel times on narrow 3.00 meter lanes can be expected. Additionally vehicles parking parallel on The Parade should expect cyclists on both sides of the car; increasing safety risks.

    A bylaw on the other hand ensures all cyclists get off the main road and use the separated cycle lanes provided so public transport may see some interesting results towards travel time improvements and safety wins. I note in the summary that bus priority plans come first just like in the case of Manners Mall. WCC Chief Transport planner Steve Spence in reply to an OIA request asking how the bus priority plan would affect stage 1 and 2 of the cycle lanes said on;

    28th of August 2014;

    Stage 1: The implementation of bus priority lanes on The Parade are not likely to form part of the Council’s program for the forseeable future”.

    Stage 2. “It can be expected that we will be investigating the implementation of bus lanes on Riddiford Street in conjunction with the design of possible cycle lanes”.

    Safety Summary for cycle lanes Stage 1; Without the implementation of enforcement on cyclists travelling along The Parade in Island Bay in a 50 km zone the following is needed;

    A. -3.5 meter wide traffic lanes; allowing for heavy traffic / opening car doors.
    B. -1.8 meter wide separated cycle lanes; allowing for opening car doors.

  2. It’s not clearly signposted as to whether bus lanes are for cyclists. I was cycling in Lambton Quay without knowing if I could bike on the bus lane and searched for indications that I could or not. I didn’t like holding up the buses with my slower pace.

    • Unless it’s “bus only”, cyclists are allowed in bus lanes.

  3. 23 june 2015 email from Paul Barker for a correction to my previous comment, thank you.

    “You will note in the diagram you referred to in the framework on Page 10 that we have also included a mandatory 600mm buffer between the cycle lane and the parking, creating a minimum 2.1 space for safe cycling which is consistent with the Austroads guide.

    Many roads in our city are 10m wide kerb to kerb allowing for two parking lanes 2.0m wide and two traffic lanes 3m wide, and while we agree that 3.5m is desirable 3.0m is acceptable.

    • Thanks for the update. It’s worth looking at street width on core routes and testing ideas with StreetMix, but I’m not sure where to find detailed coordinates to start with.

      • I have requested such information from Council they use a tool called ‘Geographic Information System’ although on further reading it has an accuracy clause and can’t guarantee outcomes to be relied on.

        Best thing is to measure it yourself.

      • I didn’t see what I wanted in the GIS database anyway. Kerb lines don’t seem to be there.

    • Note: Notwithstanding the 1.5 meter cycle lanes may include the gutter @ 300 mm; leaving 1.2 meters of cycleable lanes. Yes/No?

      • A survey might be appropriate here. How close to kerb lines do cyclists want their wheels? I’m not sure the gutter would factor in much.

      • Depends how desperate they are to get a flat tyre; gutters are often not maintained very well by thy local authorities and collect debris. Additionally gutters are not part of the road they have a function; to collect rain water from the road.

        The 600 mm buffers proposed between cycle lanes and car-parks both sides of the road could interfere with the run off into the drains in extreme weather.

      • I was thinking more about handle bar and crank shaft widths. I doubt they’re getting that close without good reason anyway.

  4. The Cycling Framework was adopted unanimously today at Council despite ‘no public consultation’, even Andy Foster admitted the document could have been a lot sharper and more detailed had they followed procedure. As a matter of interest are all handle bars the same width? If not what is the widest you can get?

    • I’m tempted to believe that the pressure being put on by other councillors through the notice of motion forced the framework to burst into existence. The feedback from other agencies, especially NZTA’s comments on developing the strategic section, helped the document along and will sit well with the Urban Cycleways Programme applications.

      While there was no dedicated oral submission process, suggesting that there was no public consultation is, at best, misleading. There was certainly plenty of written feedback in the agenda.

      There’s probably an answer for the question of the widest handlebar, but I think you’re looking for something else. What’s the minimum width requirement for a cyclist? That’ll be basically shoulder width on a big man, which seems to get up to about 60cm (looking at body-building info).

      • Thank you Gregory and what I meant ‘oral submissions’ rather then ‘public consultation’ I myself submitted.Thanks for the guidelines on the widths I am none the wiser.

  5. […] Council meeting was packed full of good things, which I’d summarised in anticipation in my previous post. Feel free to watch through the meeting, or at least skip to the good […]

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