Flashback Friday: New Central City cycling projects aim to fix the little things…?

Summer is a great time to be enjoying activities in the central city, and it’s definitely easier to do that by bike – no traffic or parking hassles. It’s always nice though when there are even more little touches that make it easier to get around and park in the city. And so it was that, as reported back in July 2019, City Council had a plan to repurpose some unused cycling money for a range of other mini-projects to improve bike access in the city. 4½ years later, and… um… hmm… how many of these have seen fruition – portable bike parking around town (including some at the Botanic Gardens), the warning lights at the Justice Precinct; anything else? I realise we had the distraction of a wee lockdown for a while there too, but I do wonder what happened to the introduction of all the remaining initiatives…

By now we were meant to be enjoying an enlarged public bike-share scheme around the city; instead we have none (but plenty of e-scooters…). The story behind that is for another day, but at least there is a silver lining. The $1.2 million originally earmarked for supporting bike-share has been reallocated towards a number of smaller cycling initiatives in the central city – and they’re quite good…

Basically Council staff were tasked by Councillors with reallocating the bike-share funding to useful minor cycle projects, such as improving central city cycle connections and further providing cycle parking facilities. A project team has pondered potential improvements to cycle accessibility, parking and safety and come up with 20 separate initiatives.

The full details of the 20 proposed initiatives can be found in the agenda (80MB) of the CCC Infrastructure, Transport & Environment (ITE) Committee meeting last Wednesday. In summary, here are the proposals:

Worcester St from Fitzgerald Ave inwards isn’t too cycle-friendly at present
  1. Improving the link from the Rapanui cycleway to the central city along Worcester St: $90,000 (note that Council has already programmed similar link improvements over the next two years to connect other Major Cycle Routes into the city)
  2. Improving the link between the Uni-Cycle cycleway and the central city along Gloucester St: $120,000
  3. A contra-flow shared path along Madras St from outside Ara Institute to High St: $80,000
  4. Cycling entry and exit points north-south through Latimer Square: $30,000
  5. Cycling entry and exit points north-south through Cranmer Square: $30,000
More of these diamonds please…
  1. More painted diamonds on cycle detection pads at traffic lights: $5,000
  2. Widening the shared path next to Antigua Boat Sheds: $50,000
It can get a bit tight through here at present
  1. Signage promoting the major central city bike parking areas: $20,000
  2. Moveable cycle park facilities that take up a carpark space: $170,000
  3. Extra cycle parks along the Avon Promenade: $135,000
Apart from the odd pole, not many places to park your bike here yet
  1. A covered, multi-layer 60-bike parking shelter (similar to the one in Wellington): $90,000
  2. Temporary bike racks for Botanic Gardens Armagh St entry: $25,000
  3. Realigning cycle routes around tram tracks along Armagh St: $70,000 (based on an earlier study by Council)
One of the more hazardous spots currently for cycling near the tram tracks
  1. Review possible safety issues at the Oxford Gap: $10,000
  2. Work to identify where kerb cutdowns (ramps) are too steep or needed in the central city: $50,000
Not really sure why kerb cut-downs weren’t put here at Manchester St in the first place…
  1. Adding cycle crossing buttons on lights along Manchester/St Asaph/Durham streets: $30,000

    More cycle push-buttons
  2. Raising heights of too-low cycle traffic lights: $30,000
  3. Extra cycle crossing signals at Antigua/St Asaph intersection: $10,000
  4. A raised strip to guide buses turning from Lichfield St to Manchester St, and protect cyclists and pedestrians: $20,000
  5. Warning signs at the Tuam St Justice Precinct entrance, which flash when cyclists go by: $24,000

The total spend proposed is about $1.08 million, leaving about $120,000 for public engagement on these projects.

In The Press, it was good to see general support for these initiatives expressed by the Chair of the Central City Business Association. As many of us know, anything that can make life a bit easier for people trying to bike into town has got to be good for businesses there.

As I’ve mentioned before, we can probably all think of a number of little improvements that would help make cycling around the city a little easier. There are other things that I might have added (e.g. a contra-flow path on Barbadoes from Moorhouse to Williams would be a handy link into town), but this isn’t a bad list. I particularly like proposal #9 to create a portable bike parking facility that can be moved around to test different areas for consumer demand.

An example of a portable bike parking pellet in Palmerston North

The proposals are planned to be consulted on (where necessary) and implemented over the next two years; ITE Committee members were particularly keen to see proposals 13, 15 and 20 prioritised first.

What do you think of these proposals? Can you think of other ideas?

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