Long Term Plan Hearings - CBD Development

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Yesterday at the Long Term Plan hearings we pointed to the lack of 'People' spaces in our CBD. Conversely we have lots, and lots of 'Car' space. Essentially, when compared to other modern cities, our CBD is inside out - much of our inner city public space is 'dead' space.

By restricting car traffic and encouraging more people to cycle and walk, we enable more creative use of our public spaces. Every weekend, when we use part of one of our car parks for the market, we see an example of what happens if we use some of our public space for something other than for parking cars. More recently of course, the all-too-brief closure of the top of Trafalgar St. showed what happens if we create spaces around people.

It's an exciting time, our city is evolving. While some retail may be shutting down this is creating new opportunities for small businesses and collectives of young creatives to move into the centre. We're also starting to see more residential spaces crop up.

It really is time to recognise and embrace the changing dynamic of our city centre. Rather than continuing to try and prop up an outdated retail and infrastructure model, lets start focusing more on the people that live and work here. Lets create public spaces that we can all enjoy and that attract people to Nelson. Lets develop our city into a creative, social hub for our whole community.

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

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