You might not believe it but Island Bay isn't actually the centre of the universe and there has been lots of other good news for cycling in Wellington this week.
At the same time as the Island Bay cycleway was getting the go-ahead on Wednesday the council also unanimously approved the Wellington Cycling Framework. The framework puts in place the principles and thresholds that will guide decisions about building Wellington's cycleway network. The framework also confirms where the key routes will be, including Island Bay. In addition, the council put a budget of $58m into their Long Term Plan for cycling infrastructure over the next ten years. $35m of that will be spent in the next three years - a massive programme of work that will transform urban cycling in Wellington. Read more here: http://wellington.govt.nz/…/safe-cycling-framework-for-the-…
As if that wasn't enough good news the Government then announced a massive $333m package of urban cycleways across New Zealand using the Urban Cycling Fund, the National Land Transport Fund and contributions from local government. The package takes the total spend on cycling in the Wellington region for the next three years to approximately $65 million. Read more here: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/about/media/releases/4267/news.html
What this does is completely change the context for the Island Bay cycleway discussion here in Wellington. Cycleways are coming and they are being driven from the highest levels of Government. At the Urban Cycling Fund announcement the Chief Executive of NZTA said "Getting more New Zealanders cycling will relieve congestion during peak travel times, connect people with a greater range of employment, education and social opportunities and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future for our transport network. Put simply, cycling is good for our cities, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for our health". Far from being an exception, or a "cycleway to nowhere", the Island Bay cycleway is now just one part of a huge, rapid and nationwide cycle network implementation. So much work needs to be done in Wellington over the next three years that the issue for the council is no longer where to start but where not to start. Councillors, council officers and citizens are also going to have to work together to find ways to massively speed up consultation and decision-making processes. It will require a lot of goodwill and a focus on putting the greater good ahead of individual interests, but the rewards for all will be significant.