Yes, a community working group was set up for Kilbirnie.
Working group members almost all either lived in the areas they were looking at, or were involved with a local business, residents association or group. In addition, there was a representative from Cycle Aware Wellington and pedestrian advocacy group Living Streets Aotearoa.
The group included people who own cars and drive, walk, catch public transport and cycle. It also included people who regularly ride bikes and others who seldom or never ride.
Participants had a mix of views, hopes and concerns but also a willingness to consider all perspectives and work together to find solutions.
In March 2017, two open days were held at the ASB Sports Centre to gather initial thoughts from the community about these eastern connector roads. Locals identified safety concerns, talked about things they valued, made suggestions, and some registered interest in being part of a community working group.
Key organisations, for instance business groups and residents associations, were invited to participate, along with a mix of people who had said they were interested.
In 2016 – following community open days, discussions with local residents and online feedback – Councillors confirmed the routes and roads that would be used to develop better biking connections in the eastern suburbs.
The routes in the east, including the coastal route to the city via Evans Bay Parade, are a key part of a planned citywide network and the city’s cycleways programme.
The programme was independently reviewed by consultants Morrison Low at the request of the NZ Transport Agency, then reconfirmed by Councillors in August 2016. In December 2016, following the local body elections, the newly elected Council considered and again confirmed the cycleways programme. This included the roads and routes where changes are proposed.
The community working group met at least five times between April and July 2017. During these two- to three-hour evening workshops they worked together to look at the Council's and Government’s investment objectives for the funding on offer, developed their own community objectives, and came up with a long list of possible options.
More than 100 possibilities and variations were considered in Kilbirnie.
With the help of the transport planners/engineers and urban design consultants employed on the project, the working group, and Council and NZ Transport Agency staff, a list of criteria was developed based on all the objectives.
The long list of options was then assessed against these to come up with a short list of options, which were then further scrutinised.
Working group members spent many hours poring over plans, asking questions, looking at things from a range of different perspectives, debating the pros and cons, grappling with challenges and trade-offs, and whittling down the alternatives to come up with the most practical options to go out to the wider public.
Among other things, the group talked about parking, the needs of residents and businesses, trees, heritage features, lane widths, safer speeds, painted median strips, driveways, pedestrian crossings, intersections, bus stops, and options for solving existing safety issues.
The community working group developed their own set of community objectives, and also took the Council and Government’s investments objectives into account.
To qualify for the Government funding on offer, new facilities for people on bikes must be of a standard which will encourage more people to ride. That means planning for inexperienced riders and people who don’t have the confidence to ride on our roads the way they are at the moment.
Over time, improvements must also help create a connected cycle network.
Our aim is to develop a citywide connected cycle network. We're investing most of the initial funding in the eastern suburbs because these areas already have relatively high numbers of residents who cycle to work. Building new infrastructure will encourage even more people to ride. Much of the area, and the coastal connection to the city, is flat and there is more space.
At this stage, money is also tagged to other projects in different areas around the city – Hutt Road; the central city; and Berhampore, Mt Cook and Newtown.
The more we can develop a connected network, and safer facilities for less confident riders, the more people are likely to make some trips by bike.
It’s no good just doing the route around Evans Bay. People need to be able to get there safely from their homes to make it a viable route for more commuters.
For the projects that are approved but yet to be built - yes, some parking will need to come out. This may be required on one side or both sides of the street to create enough space for bikes. Parking may also need to be removed to make it safer around driveways, intersections, bus stops and pedestrian crossings.
Like other cities, we need to adapt and find more equitable ways to share the space on some of our streets so everyone has safer ways to get places by bike.
It’s important to create a connected cycle network around the city – this is just one of the ways to encourage more people to ride bikes, so they know which routes are the safest and easiest.
This kind of bike lane provides some protection from moving traffic. The lane can be designed in a range of ways – including with raised buffers, marker poles, parking lanes, or a combination of measures.
Yes, independent safety audits were completed on the more detailed plans for the various streets before Councillors considered whether to approve them. Safety audits are also carried out following construction.