Some good election results for cycling

12 10 2013

There are some good results for cycling in the region with Celia Wade-Brown re-elected as Mayor in Wellington. This term is hopefully going to be more productive than the last since there are some fresh faces on council including new Greens councillors Sarah Free and David Lee. Well done to them all. Cr. Paul Bruce has been re-elected to the Greater Wellington Regional Council, again good news, and Sue Kedgley, another Green, has returned to politics joining Paul at the GWRC.

Congratulations to Celia, Sarah, David, Paul and Sue. Congrats to the other new councillors too. Now you’ve got some work to do.

With a Wellington council that, as I’m reading it is, a bit friendlier and more inline with Celia, and with more cycle spending approved by the outgoing council, then all those plans might find some traction. The new council may also be less inclined to be pushed around by the NZTA on Wellington roading projects. Hopefully with a change of the national government in 2014, with David Cunliffe as Prime Minister, we can apply the brakes to the craziest parts of the RoNS scheme.

Hopefully we’ll see work begin on the Kaiwharawhara to Petone waterfront cycle path and some kind of scheme for joining J’ville and Tawa as well as action on various cycle routes around the city.

Further afield pro-Transmission Gully Nick Leggett is back as Porirua Mayor. Ross Church is the new mayor of Kapiti, and Brendan Duffy is further entrenched in Horowhenua.


On the whole, with some exceptions, steps in the right direction.


Nice frequent transport map of Wellington

19 09 2013

I came across this handsome map by Brett Palmer entitled Wellington City Frequent Transport.

WellyFrequentBusComparing it to the proposed bus network coming soon it looks that the only change needed on this map is a new line to Brooklyn and Kingston.

What Riddiford Street could look like

7 09 2013

This is definitely worth drawing attention to.

As I said on my post about the Island Bay cycle routes I am of the opinion that there should be separated cycleways up Adelaide Road and up Riddiford Street (amongst many others). At the Sexify Blog they’re much of the same opinion, at least about Riddiford Street. Here’s their photoshop of what Riddiford Street could look like past the hospital:

Very cool methinks.

A special mention for photoshopping on cycle paths skills goes to Mr A. Smith’s effort on the Great Harbour Way at Ngauranga that shows either a giant child or a small woman.


I hope this helps Alastair:

The Capital choking on traffic congestion due to the RoNSzi scheme

2 09 2013

Today there was a bit of a hoo haa in the local press about the Arup and Opus report that the Greater Wellington Council commissioned on the effects of the RoNS on the Wellington region, but then embarrassingly the GWRC has been trying to ignore ever since.

It seems that the Airport to Levin corridor part of the Roads of National Significance is going to have quite an effect. Because of Transmission Gully and the Sandhills Motorway projects the congestion in Kapiti and Porirua (ie Mana and Pukerua Bay) is going to fall and with the Petone to Grenada project Hutt Road congestion is also going to fall a bit, but with induced demand and extra trips the now efficient roads are going to funnel many, many more cars onto Wellington and Wellington just isn’t going to cope.

Because reducing congestion is one of the reasons that the RoNS are getting foisted onto the public it is a bit embarrassing for the government and for the pro-roads part of the GWRC, since the RoNS are going to fail to solve the problem they are designed to solve, namely congestion. Because that’s generally a stuff up and because of their staggering expense, the government should really go back to first principles and start again on its transport policies.

There seems to be some confusion whether the report has been made public yet (although it’s been funded by GWRC rateapayers so they bloody well deserve to be able to see it) and there are accusations of leaks and although it isn’t too hard to find on the interwebs I still feel a little reluctant to post the whole thing, so I’ll just post some highlights. I really hope that it is officially released through appropriate channels very soon now.

Firstly the report assumes the RoNS projects and the Petone-Grenada link get built. It doesn’t entertain other options. It also assumes that there are no public or active transport improvements and it is just business as usual on those fronts with no great modal shift to bikes or trains and trams, and it assumes that parking capacity in the CBD will grow to meet demand (like where?). It also doesn’t assume any oil shocks or similar. It does however assume continued growth of car trips, ignoring any evidence of peak-car (just like the business case for the RoNS does).

You can see that graphically. I think some of its assumptions are wrong. I think the green and red will both grow especially if we build separated cycleways and we build light rail to Newtown and Kilbirnie.

TripsByMode-AM peakThen here is a graph of vehicle to capacity ratios at key bottlenecks in the AM peak with those assumptions. The higher the V/C the worse the congestion. There are some improvements by 2031 in some places and some things are getting worse. State Highway 2 seems to fare the worst.

VCatBottlenecksThis is the most interesting graph in the report.  Below LOS D means below a level of service where the volume to capacity is greater than 0.80, i.e. congested. And it can be seen that in Wellington many more vehicle kilometres are going to be spent waiting in traffic.  In fact it means that congestion in Wellington is going to be up 80% with greatly increased fuel imports to match.

CongestionGraphically that means that instead of these current conditions of 2011:2011LOSPlotThat it is going to look like this by 2041. (There is a lot more orange and red)

2041LOSPlotTo put it mildly, that’s a bit of a debacle that we are going to pay billions of dollars to do to ourselves. In fact so much traffic would completely destroy the city. There has to be a better way than overbuilding motorway capacity that induces demand that then dumps thousands of extra cars onto a small city whose built form is dictated by the steep topography and the collection of tram based suburbs that it largely still is.

The RoNSzi scheme is unsustainable financially or environmentally. In a time when cities need to be talking about sustainability and alternative transport here we have a 1950s solution that is no solution at all.

Cycling in Tunnels safely

1 09 2013

What do the Kelburn, Northland and Seatoun tunnels have in common?

Seatoun Tunnel

Seatoun Tunnel

Northland Tunnel

Northland Tunnel

Kelburn Tunnel

Kelburn Tunnel

They were all featured in a post I did 4 years ago, called Cycling in Wellington’s Tunnels,

They were all built originally for trams,

And they’d all benefit from two signs at each of their entrances.


Island Bay cycle routes

31 08 2013

The good news is that Wellington City Council is consulting on a preferred safe cycle route between the city and Island Bay. Cycling Aware Wellington organised a successful public meeting to garner local support and got quite a turnout.

To get a good feel for the ride between the Island Bay and town have a look at one of the videos from Bike Everywhere

Current conditions

The route is generally flat on the Parade. The road is quite wide and there is more traffic as you head further north. At the southern end on the Parade there is a painted bike lane that puts cyclists right in the door zone.

The Parade

The Parade

Then through the village there are no marked lanes but it is 30km/hr zone and pretty safe.

North of the golf course through Berhampore the cycle lanes have disappeared and the road narrows and there are parked cars everywhere.

Adelaide Road at Chika St

Adelaide Road at Chika St

There’s a bit of a rise after the Britomart Street lights and the road is generally rising as it goes past Macalister Park. From Torquay Tce or so you can see the downhill all the way down Adelaide Road.

Adelaide Road at Torquay Tce

Adelaide Road at Torquay Tce

And Adelaide Road between Riddiford Street and the Basin Reserve is a very busy stretch of road, with bus lanes that can generally be ridden in.

Looking down Adelaide Road from the Riddiford St lights.

Looking down Adelaide Road from the Riddiford St lights.

Then it’s usually possible to ride through the Basin Reserve and on to Cambridge Terrace.

Riding through the Basin Reserve

Riding through the Basin Reserve

Alternative routes

In the Bike Everywhere video Ashley avoided the hill which is steepest around Waipori Street by taking a detour on Luxford, Rintoul and Riddiford Streets.

On this map below:

The light green line is the most direct, and hilliest route to Island Bay, completely along Adelaide Road.
The light blue is the Luxford and Rintoul route (with an eastern part of Waipori St marked also)
The red line is perhaps my preferred route
The pink line is Alexandra Road which southbound could be a commuter route.and the green lines are other routes.
Island Bay routes
My preferred route is through Newtown on Riddiford St and then up Russell Tce and through the golf course down to the Parade. This also means the route to Houghton Bay is improved too.

Russell Tce looking South

Russell Tce looking South

What I think should be built

On the Parade in Island Bay it would be nice to change the current painted cycle lanes into protected separated green lanes, but I think this is less of a priority than some improvements further north in the route.

I wouldn’t waver from the highest quality cycle infrastructure that could be built. This is going to be the showcase project that is going to change Wellington. People in other suburbs are going to see what can be done and demand it too. This is the project that is going to change the modal share dramatically. This is going to get bums on bike seats, reducing congestion in a big way.

On Cambridge and Kent Terraces using the central medians and/or 1 lane of parked cars next to the median (presently there are 4 lanes of on-road parkingon Cambridge-Kent!!!), build completely separated bidirectional cycle lanes  all the way from the Basin Reserve to the Waterfront.

Similarly the John, Wallace, Taranaki street route I’d give separate cycle lanes.

Adelaide Road between the Basin Reserve and Riddiford Street gets the full separated cycle lane treatment so the bus and cycle lanes are separate like this picture I knicked from the Christchurch Cycle Guide Design Guidelines. I can’t think of a good reason to keep any car parking on Adelaide Road along this stretch at all.


Through all of Newtown on the lengths of Riddiford and Constable Streets I’d do separate green lanes over the whole lot keeping on street parking only where there is room. This should also be the light rail route (but that is another post for another time). Riddiford Street for the routes to Island and Houghton Bays and Constable Street for all routes east.

Then with a little less priority than the above I’d also put separated lanes along the length of Russell Terrace.

Then I’d build an off-road paved cycle route through the golf course. The golf course holes can be redesigned around the cycle route, or vice versa, or a bit of both.

Some of the alternative routes on Adelaide Road through Berhampore (as marked above on the map in light green), on Rintoul, Luxford and Waipori Streets (as marked in light blue) I’d also look at making for safer riding with separated cycle lanes as well. I wouldn’t build just the one route to Island Bay, but all the alternatives. i.e by improving the route to Island Bay it’s not just Island Bay and Berhampore that should get quality bike infrastructure, but Mt Cook, Cambridge-Kent, Newtown and Kilbirnie too. This project should transform Te Aro and the whole of the southern and eastern suburbs and completely change the character of the city. Not bad for strategically building 10 kilometres of separated cycle infrastructure.

Why add lanes to Cobham Drive?

27 08 2013

Anyone else think 6 lanes for cars on Cobham Drive is just overkill?



There’s not that much stuff over on the Miramar Peninsula, and it’s not like people are missing planes at Welly airport because of heavy congestion. Is 6 lanes on an arterial road that is perfectly fine at 4 lanes indicative of just how much transport funding priorities are spectacularly unbalanced under the RoNS programme? Wouldn’t this excessive bit of infrastructure be an example of government waste that would be very easy to cut?

Heavy congestion eastbound on Cobham Dve on a Saturday afternoon.

Heavy congestion eastbound on Cobham Dve on a Saturday afternoon. If only there was an added lane.