I’m late, I know. Everyone else has already covered the news of cycling projects moving forward by leaps and bounds this week.
The Wellington City 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 bits.
The first big win was approval of the Long Term Plan, which set aside funding for the cycling programme for the next 10 years. Investment is weighted to the near term, starting at $5.6m for 2015/16 and jumping to $12m and $17m in the next two years before settling down to come to a total of $57.5m over 10 years.
It’s a significant investment, but it’s being put in place to cover a significant job. The next big item was debating the cycling framework. To be honest, two days later, I can barely remember the debate, but I remember being quite shocked by the vote.[tweet https://twitter.com/sustwelltrans/status/613515263447732224]
The second task for the agenda item was to appoint councillors that would sit on the working party to oversee the development and implementation of the framework packages. The original membership was to be six, but was quickly incremented to seven and then eight.[tweet https://twitter.com/WgtnCC/status/613517362818453504]
That gives us an aspirational high-level network, a budget and a team, using this provisional timeline for the start.
Next up for the cycling agenda was the fight over Island Bay. The media hype had grown with the lead up to the council meeting and community tensions were high. From the councillors, very little was said that was unexpected. The same faces said mostly the same things as before.
The vote came in at 8:6 in favour of the traffic resolutions allowing for the cycleway to proceed. Interestingly, Councillor Ritchie was absent despite demanding a vote on the cycleway back in February. Some things are inexplicable.
As you can see in the delivery plan above, the implementation phase of the Island Bay cycleway looks to be starting in the August-September time-frame. Once it’s in place, the hope is that other communities can see how it works instead of fomenting fearful impressions of community destruction.
The two smaller cycleways in Rongotai and Ngauranga passed with ease. There is still work to be done on the western segment of the Coutts Street cycleway, which was deferred during it’s first discussion in Transport and Urban Development. The eastern suburban network highlights Coutts Street as a path under the airport and to the east, so I have little doubt that the wider community has a vested interest in this passing.
With those wins in place, the cycling and wider sustainable transport community was on a high.[tweet https://twitter.com/CycleAwareWgtn/status/613544278636138500]
The next day, the announcement of the next set of funding from the Urban Cycleways Programme took that high and made it astronomical.[tweet https://twitter.com/IBCycleWay/status/614207301528883200]
The Wellington city focus is on CBD and Eastern Suburbs plus the line along Thorndon Quay to Ngauranga. The wider region is getting project funding as well, which is looking to generate a step-change in cycling mode share across the region within a few years.
Notably absent is the Ngauranga to Petone section, which is still under discussion as to the path to take.
Construction of the remaining section between Petone and Ngauranga is anticipated to begin in 2019. Announcement of a preferred option for Petone to Ngauranga is expected later in 2015.
Whether right or wrong, it looks like CBD will be one of the first out of the gate. It’s not my choice of first target, on the basis that trips would likely be within walking distance and therefore competing active modes, but the we’ll eventually need a whole network, regardless of order. The more connected the network, the more useful it is.
Over at Eye of the Fish, Leviathan ran a post on the CBD section, which is worth a read. The fish is taking an early stab at how effective the proposed network will be.
There is some parts of this that don’t quite make sense to me, but I’m sure that if I read through the full pile of info, it will become clear. The cycle route along the back edge of the motorway for instance – while parts of it make sense, such as using the unused route for extra motorway (the empty pillars that you drive past beside the motorway), I have to ask – is this an area that a cyclist would want to bike along? Apart from the noise and the fumes, it is halfway up a hill, and I reckon cyclists would be either scooting across it (east-west) or on the flat below it (ie Willis St). Your thoughts?
This is the constant problem with transport and urban design being considered separately. Even if you find a corridor that works, it might not line up with where people want to go. Unfortunately, Wellington lacks the benefit of spare land to shuffle around, so even though funding appears to have been solved, land use will continue to be contentious.