Bloomers and Tweed Ride - Friday 13th April

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Join us in celebrating 125 years of women’s suffrage and the love of biking.
There is an 1800’s dress code and riders will commemorate the same date 123 years ago that the National Council of Women was founded with Kate Sheppard holding the handlebars as chair.
Meet at 5:30pm at Founders Park. The ride will end at Melrose House, where corks may be popped. Men tolerated, if well behaved.

Tahunanui Pathways Questionnaire

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BNB has recently been working alongside Council, NZTA and other organisations on a fresh approach to the Tahunanui pathways project. As part of the process, the group would like more information from you on how you’d like to walk/cycle around or through the Tahunanui suburb. You can send your feedback via the simple questionnaire on the Council website (there will also be printed versions available soon). The questionnaire shouldn't take more than a few minutes of your time and the information will help ensure that the project has the desired outcome.
Please share with your contacts (including your non-cycling ones).

A Chain is Only as Strong as it's Weakest Link

It's good to see some progress being made to link the Railway Reserve into the city, but we're not going to reap the benefits of our cycle ways and the money invested until we have safe connections to the places where people want to go and they're not peppered with compromises that still prioritise motor vehicles.

Unfinished bridge

 

Tahunanui Trials and Trails

Tahunanui CyclewayAn interesting and some might say puzzling decision today from Nelson City Council today over the Tahunanui Cycle project. But sometimes saying no is important, even to cycle projects, so here's our thoughts.

There's no question Tahuna is a complex challenge to get a good connection through for the priority (potential) user group; people who aren't tourists or recreation riders, or fast confident commuters, but people who would ride to work, or the shops, or school, if there was a relatively direct and safe option. These are the people NZTA and transport agencies across the world are targeting to use a bike occasionally (or more) instead of reflexively going for the car keys.

But this project should never have got to this point; we believe that staff essentially foreclosed the route options and effectively sidelined any attempt to make a route involving part of Pascoe St and Muritai St viable in order to 'get some runs on the board' with a relatively easy cycling project. Importantly, the consultation was never about, 'Will a Pascoe St route or Bolt Rd work best for you," it was "We have this cycleway we're going to build, do you like it?" You get very different answers to those 'consultation' approaches.

We can completely understand why staff took this 'let's just get something done here' approach; it's been incredibly frustrating for them trying to get cycle projects through over that last few years, but long-term we believe the Bolt road route would have been an expensive gesture that resulted in minimal use. Not good use of ratepayer's money.

So, where from here? It looks like a recreational and tourism (coastal) route connecting the Wakatu Dr path and airport to Tahuna beach is already on the agenda for council, so lets put some effort into getting a route that connects the real points of need - Tahuna beach/Rocks Rd at the north, and Stoke, and the Railway Reserve path at the south. Would NZTA fund both this proper Stoke-Tahuna route as well as the route submitted today? Despite some fudging of this issue in the council meeting we're pretty sure from past experience the answer would be a firm no, and that why we need it done once, and done right.

Hannah at the Nelson Mail covered this meeting and we understand she'll do a follow-up for the paper. We've talked through the issues with her and feel that she really 'gets it', so look out for that piece in the future.

We want to thank Councillors Noonan, Lawrey and Dahlberg for sticking with their reservations about this project against considerable pressure to 'just do it', especially when Matt is a long-term, solid backer of cycleways generally. Not easy to step back from that today, but we see this as a step towards a better long-term investment.

Watch this space...

Nelson Mail story on today's meeting here http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/92697939/nelson-city-council-set-to-approve-rocks-rd-cycleways-despite-link-road-doubts

You can read our previous feedback to the council regarding our preferred route here: https://bnb.org.nz/index.php/news/146-tahunanui-cycleway-project-feedback

Haven Rd. Cycleway Project Feedback

Below is our response to the request for feedback on the proposed Rocks Road to Maitai Walking and Cycling Improvements (http://nelson.govt.nz/projects/infrastructure/rocks-road-to-maitai-walking-and-cycling-improvements/)

Rocks Road to Maitai Cycling Facility Indicative plan for consultation

Design Options

At this stage without more information regarding the proposed widths of the cycleways, paths etc. we do not feel we have enough information to make an informed decision on the preferred design. Picking a preferred design and then deciding on the widths of the paths is not logical as the suitability of the that design is very much dependent on the widths of the paths. However we offer the following observations and suggestions:

Option 1: Do the minimum - While the current on-road cycle lanes are wide, regardless of this many cyclists and potential cyclists do not feel comfortable cycling on the road. We do not consider this to be a suitable option as it does not significantly increase the safety or attractiveness of the route. Additionally, should a shared boulevard be built along Rocks Rd. as per options (3) and (4) of the NZTA Southern Link Study, those less confident cyclists would need to cross the road in order access the off -road path. Note also that this design does not meet the standards required if it’s to function as a linking component for the Great Taste Trail

Option 2: Protected separated cycleways are generally considered to be the most suitable, protecting cyclists from traffic and encouraging the "Interested but Concerned". If the widths are too narrow to allow faster cyclists to easily pass slower cyclists within the protected cycle lane they may instead use the road which offers no protection from hazards including the opening of car doors for example.

Option 3: This option is most consistent with our preferred designs for Rocks Road. Faster cyclists could continue to use the on-road cycle lanes while vulnerable, less confident cyclists could continue along the shared path on the boulevard. The devil, as always in the detail and without knowing the widths of the paths, the suitability of this design can't be determined. Specifically, the shared path needs to be sufficiently wide to accommodate expected numbers of both pedestrians and cyclists.

Some general observations:-

Parking

Removing parking would provide a significant increase in available lane/cycle way width along the route. There are a significant number of cars parked along the East side of Haven Road. However, from our observations over a period of time, cars parked outside Haven motors appear to be primarily showroom cars and have been placed there to promote the cars and the business. Should the tax-payer be providing parking that benefits just one business and not the wider community? Further North along the road there are still a significant number of cars parked but as there is only one other business it's hard to determine why so many people park there (people working in the port? Are there other places that they could park?)

Pedestrians

Currently very few pedestrians walk along the route. As there is currently no barrier to pedestrians using the route as it is, even if the development of the Haven Precinct goes ahead, would we expect a significant increase?

Presentation of the Options

The observed low number of pedestrians currently using the route leads into the way the options have been presented. For option 1, the first image shows 2 cyclists and the second shows 3, with no pedestrians in either image. In Option 2, again the first and second image show just 2 cyclists and no pedestrians. Then for option 3, the first image again shows just two cyclists and no pedestrians, however the final image suddenly shows four cyclists, two cycling on the shared pathway along with a family including young children stretched across the entire path - carnage is about to ensue! Of course this is not what we observe on a daily basis on our shared pathways and a representation of an option in this way, whether deliberate or not, is bound to sway opinion and undermines it's usefulness in determining the best option.

Junctions and Crossings

There is no information regarding the junctions, and road crossings. These are the Achilles' heal of any cycle route and, without that information, it's not possible to make an informed choice on the preferred options.

Where is Option 4?

Why do we not see an option of a two way cycle way on the seaward side? This would combine the best of Options 2 and 3. So why isn't this being considered?

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