Here's the latest (and probably last) update from the council on the work that is happening on The Parade between 9 and 18 February:
Last week we completed and marked the cycleway and parking spaces between Reef Street and Humber Street.
This week we’ll complete the final section between the Island Bay Bowling Club and Humber Street. We plan to resurface the road edge on the west (bowling club side) side of The Parade on Wednesday and do the new road markings overnight.
We plan to resurface the other side on Thursday 11 February and complete the road markings on Thursday night.
Medical centre parking
There is concern about the parking spaces outside the Island Bay Medical Centre and a community liaison group is reviewing some possible options. A decision will be made in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, a longer new ramp has been installed to make it easier for people to get on and off the footpath.
Last week we put in the ramps for the new pedestrian crossing on the south side of the intersection . We also completed the northbound bike by-pass and put in the concrete pad for the new bus shelter. The shelter will be installed at the end of February.
Outside the Island Bay Anglican Church on the other side, the southbound bike by-pass is in. Work to tidy and reseal sections of footpath in these areas will happen this week.
Wellington Water is installing a new sewer line down Humber Street, including putting in a new man hole and pipes at the intersection with The Parade.
To keep traffic flowing, we are coordinating the work and traffic management required for both jobs. The central pedestrian islands for the crossing will be installed once the drainage work at the intersection is complete.
Minor work to complete
The major construction work required to create the new bike lanes, pedestrian crossings and bike by-passes will be finished by the end of the week, apart from the installation of the central pedestrian island at Humber Street.
There is however some minor work that will be done over coming weeks.
We’ll be putting in green surfacing on key parts of the bike lanes as soon as the new seal has cured, starting with the section of The Parade between Dee Street and the bowling club that was completed before Christmas. This will happen in the next week or two, mostly at night.
The section between the bowling club and Reef Street will have the green added in March. The surface takes about a month to cure and we need to wait so the green surfacing will adhere to it properly.
There are still some lights at pedestrian crossings to be connected, signs to go up and we will be replacing some drain covers with ones that are safer to ride over.
Take extra care parking and riding
Getting used to any roading change takes time, so if you park on the street, please take extra care parking in the repositioned bays, and getting in and out of your car.
If you are on a bike, watch for pedestrians and people parking and turning in and out of driveways.
We have painted yellow lines in some places to help make sure people don’t inadvertently park in front of driveways.
If someone is blocking your driveway at any time, please let us know by phoning the Council contact centre on 04 499 4444.
Happy Go By Bike Day!
It was great to hear Transport Minister Simon Bridges endorsing urban cycleways as a “core priority,” for safety and health this morning. It was also good to hear him mention local, community cycling as well as commuter cycling:
“We’re investing to give more New Zealanders more opportunities to choose cycling – whether to commute to and from work and school, to run errands, or get some exercise.”
“We recognise the contribution cycling makes to healthier communities, and that safe and attractive cycling infrastructure can encourage people in urban areas to change their travel patterns."
Go By Bike Day is also a great time to remember the many benefits that riding a bike can generate. NZTA recently released this fantastic new resource that highlights the benefits of investing in cycling in New Zealand communities. If you're still not convinced we've also compiled two extensive lists of the benefits of cycling and the benefits of cycleways.
The benefits generated by riding a bike are something that probably hasn't received enough attention in the Island Bay cycleway debate. The investment needed to encourage cycling as an everyday activity is tiny compared to roading or public transport projects and the return on that investment is typically huge. The primary justification for protected cycleways, in particular, is to get lots of new people riding bikes rather than just improving conditions for current cyclists. That's why the often-stated criticisms of the cycleway that "The Parade is already safe for cycling" and "hardly anyone cycles on The Parade" are actually mis-placed and contradictory. For example, trying to divide the cost of the cycleway into the number of current cyclists to get a cost-per-cyclist is disingenuous. The aim of the cycleway is to encourage new people into riding a bike which then unlocks the benefits. Whether that aim has been successful will only be revealed over time. The first evaluation of the cycleway is planned for one year from its opening date.
As riding a bike has become something of a political act and increased funding for cycleways has become a mainstream government position, acclaim for better cycling options has been met in more than equal measure by vitriol. It has been referred to in some quarters as “bikelash” and the criticisms of cycling and cyclists can run from the internally-contradictory to the conspiratorially-crazed.
It is a common refrain among these critics that only drivers of automobiles pay toward the cost of roads. I often hear this when cycleways are discussed and, more troublingly, when there is an accident involving a person on a bike. Some car drivers express anger that people on bikes are somehow ‘not paying their way’ and that they are therefore not entitled to the same courtesy or safety as other users of the road. It is a disturbing thought that a person’s safety should be proportionate to their financial contribution to transport infrastructure. Some suggest that a system of registration or even licensing for bike riders will improve safety or defray the cost of providing cycling options. These arguments lack perspective and are, for the most part, founded in falsehoods.
It is true that users of motor vehicles contribute to the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF), administered by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), each time they buy fuel, register their vehicle, or pay their road user charges if their vehicle has a diesel engine. About 10% of contributions to the NLTF come from GST and income tax which is paid by everyone. Around 60% of the NLTF is spent on state highways, usable only by motorised transport but still paid for by people who may walk or cycle as their primary modes of transport. 2o% of the National Land Transport Programme Expenditure comes from rates which are paid by property owners and also by tenants through their rent. So, roads are actually partly paid for by everyone who pays taxes and rates. More is paid by motor vehicles than bikes but that makes sense when we consider the very significant difference in wear-and-tear on a paved surface between bikes and riders that weigh less than 100kg, cars that weigh between 1 and 2 tonnes and trucks that weigh many times more than that.
The diagram below provides a clear breakdown of the New Zealand system of revenue and expenditure on roads.
How is that money spent?
The picture is more nuanced when we look at expenditure. Local roads are funded roughly half by the NLTF and half from local council rates and development contributions. Motorways are mostly funded by motor vehicle users but taxpayers also contribute. Local roads are approximately 45% funded by motor vehicle users with the rest from ratepayers. What’s more, where a larger share is paid by users of motorised vehicles it is proportionate to their use of the roads and motorways especially when we consider that a lot of the expenditure is on repairs to roads caused by vehicles’ use of them. Almost half of the NLTF is spent on state highways which are exclusively for the use of motor vehicles.
This is all interesting but it needs further context. The next question after we know who pays what is what that money can deliver: what is the bang-per-buck for each dollar spent on different modes of travel? The right-hand bar of the graphic above is particularly interesting on this point. We can see that motorways (average $38 million per kilometre) cost nineteen times more than local roads (average $2 million per kilometre) and cycleways (average $0.4M per kilometre) are, comparatively, exceptionally good value for money.
Of course, many (perhaps most) bike riders also drive and therefore contribute to the cost of roads directly through driver licensing and vehicle registration (more detail in the NZ context here and here). What’s more, roads don’t pay for themselves. Even toll roads have been shown to require subsidy from general taxation and rates to avoid commercial failure.
The Urban Cycleways Programme
With the advent of the Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP), another factor has been added to the funding mix. The Programme provides for strategic cycleways to be funded approximately one-third from the NLTF, one-third by the government UCP fund, and one-third by the relevant local authority. Given such a firm financial commitment from the government to support the expansion of cycleways it would be frankly careless of councils not to leverage this investment while paying only one third of the capital cost. In Auckland, for instance, we will see $88.73 million invested between 2015 and mid-2018 with ratepayers contributing just under $32 million.
Registration of bike riders
A typical example of the easy but uninformed political points that can be scored in this area are exemplified by the opening pitch of a recent aspirant to Auckland Council. Among a number of regressive transport and land use policies, he announced his intention to halt all future cycle lanes, and remove existing ones where they ‘obstruct traffic’: “A bicycle registration system will be introduced so that future cycle lanes will be built when the fund accumulated from cyclist registrations allows for it.” This seems to see cycleways as being only for the benefit of people who ride bikes and ignores the resultant reduction in congestion which benefits drivers who by necessity or preference stay in their cars. These discussions are often accompanied by the suggestion that bikes should be registered for reasons of safety and crime deterrence. It is hard to take seriously the argument that easily-removed identifiers affixed to a bike will stop traffic offences or theft when we consider how ineffective the same expedient has been when applied to motor vehicles.
Gary Froggatt of the Auckland Tramways Union has gone further to suggest a licencing regime, although this was quickly rejected by the AA and government as an ineffective and unnecessary administrative burden.
A comprehensive rebuttal of cycling registration and/or licensing schemes points out that there are very good reasons to licence motor vehicles, given that they are heavy, fast-moving and come with a strong likelihood of causing serious injury or death in the event of a collision. Bicycles, however, are primarily a risk only to the rider and collisions causing injury to anyone but the rider are very rare. The case against registration or licensing of bikes falls into three broad categories:
These are compelling arguments against licensing and registration of bikes. It is worth noting that any jurisdiction that has done so has either phased out the practice or is about to.
The true costs of driving
There is a far deeper problem with a private car-dominated transport system, such as Auckland’s, than conflicting modes of transport. The externalities of driving (particularly in fossil-fuelled vehicles) are not even close to being adequately priced and raising levies on fuel and/or road usage is widely agreed to be political suicide. Any consideration of an effective price on carbon tilts the balance even further off kilter. The price signals are all wrong and drivers don’t come close to meeting the true costs of driving. This is well explained in this article, written in the U.S. but entirely analogous to N.Z.
Everyone pays towards the cost of local roads and motorways whether they use them or not, however lightly or heavily they impact upon those roads, and attempts to licence or register cyclists are the very definition of bureaucratic folly. Humans mounted on mechanical frames are inherently more vulnerable than those ensconced in metal containers weighing at least 10 times more; the different types of transport each have their place but they don’t mix very well – particularly when the heavier, faster-moving mode is so privileged in urban design. Far from attempting to discourage and over-regulate those who choose to cycle, we should encourage and incentivise them.
This blog was first published at www.vernontava.com. Vernon Tava is an elected member of the Waitematā Local Board of Auckland Council, lawyer, bike rider, focused on sustainability and lives in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Republished with permission.
I’m not much of a cyclist. I’ll drag out the bike to accompany the children to school, or ride to the supermarket if the car’s warrant has expired, but I don’t own padded shiny lycra anything, I don’t religiously watch the Tour de France on telly, so I wouldn’t call myself a cycling enthusiast.
I did however grow up in New Zealand in the 1970s and 80s when there were much fewer cars on the roads and kids were told off for riding their bikes on the footpath. Back then, many of us grew up using our bikes to get around.
But this week, I biked with my 6-year old son to school…along the still-under-construction-bike lane in Island Bay. It was a first; because it is too unsafe for him to bike on the actual road among the cars, so until now we’ve been biking on the footpath. So, I emailed the Wellington City Councillors and the Mayor to say thanks, for these reasons in particular: we can now bike safely instead of drive the car to the supermarket, the butcher, the library, the bookstore; we can keep fit and get some exercise, we can lead by example and bike with our kids; we are able-bodied and can leave the local car parks for others less able-bodied to use.
Simply, it is good to have an alternative to using the car.
And yeah, I pay rates, and ACC and my car registration. And yes, I prefer to shop locally, which is easy to do, often, when you’re on a bike. I didn’t lobby to have the road, biking and pedestrian improvements made to The Parade; prioritising ALL the city’s needs is the job of Council (staff and elected officials) to sort and prioritise, but I’m happy to use and support it now it’s here.
Looking forward to seeing it all finished – and LOVING all the safe pedestrian crossings across this increasingly busy stretch of road.
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They say a picture's worth a thousand words (or maybe a thousand opinions). Last week both 3 News and One News ran stories about an alleged overspend on the cycleway - a claim that was obviously ridiculous and subsequently shown to be false. If you turned the sound down, however, (advised) both stories came across as an accidental promotional video for the cycleway. In the short time they were filming on The Parade the two channels shot footage of at least 12 different people using the cycleway, including a child on a hitcher, and a recumbent bullet bike! (whaaat?). Great to see so many people getting out there and actually trying the cycleway for themselves.