Nicola Young writes in the Dom Post:
I want to see more Wellingtonians riding bikes. It’s a cheap way of getting around, it’s great for fitness, and for many, it’s a far more attractive option than waiting for a bus. …
People often say, “I want to ride my bike, but the roads aren’t safe”, so it’s right that the Government and the city council are putting tens of millions of dollars into improving cycling infrastructure. With this huge, proposed increase in expenditure comes a responsibility to make sure Wellington ratepayers – and taxpayers – get maximum bang for their bucks.
Wellington city does not have a costed, master plan for building a network of cycle lanes, yet this is a requirement if we are to access some of the $100 million cycling infrastructure pot. And that’s why Wellington missed out on the first instalment of government funding.
The ideal cycleways are dedicated ones, not ones that share the roads with motor vehicles. Even if you have your own lane marked on a road, you are always nervous about any nearby vehicles.
Also an off road cycleway can be a lot cheaper than making changes to a road.
Common sense says new cycle lane infrastructure around the CBD would have that maximum impact, rather than a location like Island Bay, which in commuting terms is very much “end of the line”. But until we’ve studied the data, we’re guessing. It’s hardly a way to spend millions of dollars.
I’ve been asking for a thorough, fully costed proposal for bike infrastructure across Wellington since the middle of last year. It will make the case for spending rates infinitely stronger, and now it’s needed to unlock the rest of the government funding on offer.
The Wellington City Council’s transport committee has delayed the improvement of cycling conditions in Wellington through its sheer incompetence. Its chair, Andy Foster, and the mayor both claim to support bike lanes but have done almost nothing for Wellington’s cyclists in their combined 38 years on the council.
That’s why it’s important that all councillors will now get a vote on the cycle lanes – no more vanity projects like the Island Bay “Cycleway to Nowhere” – and a master plan based on hard evidence. Then we can start work on bike lanes, and cement Wellington’s reputation as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Hard to disagree that an overall plan is preferable to ad hoc decisions.Tags: cycling, Nicola Young