I like pies and I like charts, so I really like pie charts. Here's the only chart you need to understand the latest Island Bay Cycleway consultation.
One of the most significant paragraphs in the Island Bay Cycleway Recommendations released by the council on Friday is this one on page 172:
Despite the fact that we have consistently been told that "the majority of Island Bay doesn't want the cycleway" only 24% of Island Bay residents actually participated in the final consultation. The truth is that the vast majority of Island Bay (76%) don't care enough about this issue to take 2 mins to fill in an online form.
The council have been absolutely clear that the consultation was not a vote but if you look at the preferences of those who did participate an even clearer picture emerges. According to page 187 of the report 59% of respondents from Island Bay expressed an overall general preference for a roadside cycleway and 41% expressed an overall general preference for a kerbside cycleway. These figures equate to 14% (24% x 59%) and 10% (24% x 41%) of the total population respectively (Note 1).
What this boils down to is that a grand total of 14% of the population of Island Bay expressed a clear preference for a roadside cycleway through this consultation. That is a long, long way from being any kind of majority. In fact, the majority of Island Bay (86%) have either expressed a preference for a kerbside cycleway or no preference at all.
In addition to the council's very clear statements that the consultation was not a vote another really important thing to remember is that it was a form of non-random, self-selecting survey. That means the quantitative 'results' can't be used to infer a result for the entire population, especially not with a 24% participation rate. This is just basic maths and has been discussed on this blog previously in regard to the Island Bay Residents Association's March 2016 survey and their mis-leading interpretation of the survey results. However, if we set those concerns aside for a moment and treat both the IBRA survey and the latest consultation results as at least indicative of the entire community's preferences we can see something else that is very interesting.
The residents association made the claim that their March 2016 survey showed 87% of Island Bay residents didn't want a kerbside cycleway. They have consistently stuck with that interpretation and repeated the claim as recently as the council's June 22 City Strategy Committee meeting. If that was true then the latest consultation results show a collapse in opposition to a kerbside cycleway from 87% to 59%. That's a 28% decline over just 18 months (Note 2) and if that trend continues then we can expect opposition to a kerbside cycleway to be in the minority within 6 months, by March 2018. That's actually prior to when work is expected to start on whatever option councillors agree on at this Wednesday's council meeting!
The consultation was not a vote but even so it provides more than enough evidence to conclusively state that the claim that the majority of Island Bay residents don't want a kerbside cycleway really is just pie in the sky.
The 59/41 split is based on the Borda counting method which takes into account 2nd, 3rd and 4th preferences to determine an overall general preference. The report also includes the first preference results in a chart on page 173. This shows an approximate 70/30 split using first preferences only. Using these figures would only change the percentage of the population of Island Bay expressing a clear preference for a roadside cycleway from 14% to 18%.
If the first preference split of 70/30 is used here instead of the Borda split of 59/41 there is still a 17% reduction in opposition to a kerbside cycleway over 18 months. If that trend continued then we could expect opposition to a kerbside cycleway to be in the minority within 21 months, by June 2019. That's less than 2 years, when the council is making a 20-30 year infrastructure decision.