Submission guide: better biking and breezier bussing between Botanics and the big blue briney

Safe cycling and scooting, and better bussing between the Botanic Gardens and the harbour needs needs your support to become real

Better bussing and safer biking and scooting between the Botanic Gardens and the harbour are two things that are vital for the city. That they both need to go on Tinakori and Bowen is identified by exhaustive analysis and an extensive earlier consultation (for the cycling aspect, see “How we got here” on the project page and for the bussing aspect, see the excellent Bus Priority Action Plan).

As we now know those two are the route that needs to be made better, the question is how to treat (improve) the roads so they work better for people bussing and people biking.

There’s nothing in the ground that you can try out yet, because the court case has made WCC halt experiential consultation for now (we expect til a law change). That’s a shame as it’s by far the best way to see what’s best for stuff like this, which can be adaptively tried out in-situ with flexible posts, moveable concrete barriers and paint.

So we have to give our normal ol’ consultation feedback old-style: based on pictures, theory and good practice, and imagining how it’ll work.

It’s all here, check it out – or just read our hot takes!

Bowen: Our hot take:

A fulltime “bus and bike lane”, slightly different on each side. Some corner build-outs to slow cars down as they turn in to Sydney St.

Despite the “ewwwww biking with buses!”, It seems like a good effort.

Bussing is really important here, and a fulltime bike-and-scooter-only lane would jam busses in with the regular cars. That’s not acceptable as even now, ~5,000 people bus up and down there daily and it’s a shocking delay point (see p21 onwards in that Bus Priority Action Plan.)

from the Bus Priority Action Plan

A fulltime not-cars lane, albeit shared, is a good thing. Yes, it is very much suboptimal to ride with buses who’ll need to do overtaking manoeuvres. But there’s a lot of roadspace there and we hope assertive people cycling and safe people driving buses will be sensible.

And it’s great to have busses able to zoom up and down Bowen and Tinakori carrying hopefully thousands more people every day.

So, that general approval is the gist of your submission: GOOD YES PLEASE, I SUPPORT BOWEN.

Two nuances now…

Tinakori: our hot take

The safe infrastructure here for cycling is only part-time. It’s only a Peak Hour bus-and-bike lane.

Council appears to be bending over backwards to let people keep parking on Tinakori and to minimise the iNfRiNgEmEnT oF hUmAn rIgHtS otherwise known as cramping people’s current driving and parking experience.

For bussing, getting a bus lane on Tinakori is a big improvement – see the delays in the pic above. The in-line bus stops will make a huge difference – and most of the bus patronage here is pretty commute-focussed (very tidal). So it makes sense for the interim to have a peak-only change.

But let’s not pretend that when biking or scooting, it’ll be nice during all the other hours of the day: people can park there, still so you’ll still be riding between the Scylla of the door zone and the Charibides of cars and buses whizzing past (cos *cough 30kph in the village *cough cough). Mmmmm that sounds like a great time for older people and college kids…

If Tinakori Road is considered a ‘Key Transport Route’ – and it’s currently classified as an Arterial – this means this space must prioritise: “Safe and efficient movement of people and goods (footpaths, bus lanes, cycleways, no stopping zones/clearways, construction and maintenance works)” – as per Council’s parking policy. Short stay car parking and loading zones are a low priority for a section such as this, and consecrating space to these uses at the cost of safe cycling and scooting flouts Council’s own Parking Policy (freshly minted in 2020 by this very council).

So the gist of your submission for Tinakori should be YES BUT MORE PLEASE.

Is this it?

It’s worth remembering that these are interim, fast-rollout improvements and longer term, we can hope for a more comprehensive fix. The extension of the better-bussing-and-biking work into Karori will prompt a reconsideration of the Tinakori and Bowen setup which (we presume) will be focused on dialing up the sustainable transport goodness.

Which will be good because fulltime safer streets mean people with more complex movements than the “9 to 5 office worker” (which these days is a lot more of us) can do our days safely too. (We’re told that LGWM’s scope actually includes Tinakori, despite being quite “city centre and south/east” so they’ll be a vehicle for some better, more permanent improvements.)

But for now:

There’s hefty opposition to any kind of safe cycling or scooting infrastructure on this stretch from folks with a lot of pulling power at council: affluent residents and shop owners who are, for whatever reason, convinced it’ll be a death knell for their neighbourhood / livelihood.

Also, we’d love to know what steps council is taking to ensure people in private vehicles don’t drive in any bus / bike lane. Enforcement of this elsewhere is proving to be ineffective, principally because council don’t resource the enforcement team enough (something flagged as a major concern with that new (and excellent) Parking Policy).

So, submissions are needed to say “thumbs up, also maybe consider dialing up to a fulltime bus-and-bike lane on Tinakori”.

Cycle Wellington have a very measured and gentle submission guide here, which we recommend you use.
Whack in a submission with your encouraging shove by COP tomorrow! Go you good thing!

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