Posted by: Gregory | June 26, 2015

Cycling wins the lottery

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.


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.


That gives us an aspirational high-level network, a budget and a team, using this provisional timeline for the start.

WCF Delivery PlanNext 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.


The next day, the announcement of the next set of funding from the Urban Cycleways Programme took that high and made it astronomical.


UCP Allocation

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.

RLTP 2015 Cycling mode share

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.

UCP Wellington AllocationOver the course of the cycleways debate, Councillor Young has stuck adamantly to her position of CBD first before considering any other project.


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.



  1. There’s a theory (which I find plausible) that the first and last 100m of a cycle trip have the greatest effect on perceptions of the entire trip. Based on that theory, tackling the CBD is quite sensible since the CBD is the last and first 100m of most cycle commuting trips in Wellington. And there will be gains for those doing a bit of lunchtime or weekend shopping in the CBD.

    Also, assuming the issue of safer CBD speeds is addressed as a part of the package, then pedestrians will also gain from the cycle network developments. It’s a win-win!

    • The idea strikes me as plausible, since that’s largely how our memories are geared. However, even before deciding to get on a bike to go somewhere, I’ll already by thinking of pinch points and barriers, which may keep the trip from happening at all.

  2. 29.05.2015 email to the Minister of Transport;

    Dear Simon Bridges;

    Safer Journeys 2020

    It is a travesty that the Wellington City Council took so long to put forward, and if I may say so, a rather rushed and poorly consulted on Draft Cycling Framework. This effectively shut out a concerned community in Island Bay in having no guidelines available to them as to what was realistic or not, regarding the safety of Councils proposals. The Draft Cycling Framework was adopted on the 25th of June 2015 the same day the traffic resolutions for the proposed Island Bay cycle lanes were approved and raises further questions on legality.

    Pending the outcomes of the Official Information request to the officers and whether the proposed cycle lanes will indeed improve safety on The Parade in Island Bay; an inquiry to the Minister of Transport / NZTA as to whether they perceive a waste of tax-payer funding by the local authorities is appropriate based on the following;

    1. Providing cycle lanes in an area that failed to meet the WCC Cycle Framework formula, including the statement on page 17;

    “We will only implement cycleways if they are safer than what we have now”

    2. So wasting public funding where it could be spent better in line with the Governments own Safer Journeys 2020 vision as below.

    “A safe road system increasingly free of death and serious injury”

    3. TRAFINZ in submissions to the Ministry of Transport on Safer Journeys 2020 in October 2009 the agreed statement as follows;

    “That none of us should be killed or seriously injured with the NZ transportation system”

    Andy Foster is the President of TRAFINZ and Paul Barker an executive on the committee;

    With the help of the Minister it is anticipated that the current cycle lanes in Island Bay will meet the set safety standards under;

    A. WCC Cycling Framework.
    B. Ministry of Transport Safer Journeys vision.
    C. TRAFINZ agreed vision in submissions to Safer Journeys 2020.

    At your service

    Maria van der Meel
    Wellington Public Safety Watchdog

    • Correction; Point 1. Provide cycle lanes in an area that met the WCC Cycling Framework formula including the statement on page 17;

      ““We will only implement cycleways if they are safer than what we have now”

      • Given a definition vacuum for safer than now, would you care to provide a metric that could be used for evaluation? I would assume that widening the age range for the target market would satisfy the requirement, but that’s my value set speaking.

      • Thank you Gregory it will be interesting to receive the officers detailed reply, I have no idea myself. Neither am I sure that Councillors who voted either for or against the traffic resolutions knew if the formula had been applied to The Parade nor whether it met the safety standard within the status quo. With the Cycling Framework voted in unanimously just before the traffic resolutions I would suggest the formula was not applied and does the Island Bay community a great dis-service.

        Having said that I have personally measured the Parade (13.7- 15/16 meters wide) and while it has no crash history recordings of serious injuries or fatalities and how NZTA judges safety generally we are safe, safe as houses in fact. Government funding needs to be applied where safety is able to be enhanced to fulfill the visions of the Safer Journeys 2020.

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