November 23rd is the 1st anniversary of BNB’s Facebook page, and to celebrate our birthday Nelson City Council is giving Nelson NZ’s FIRST segregated or buffered cycle path.
Ok, a small joke about the birthday gift, but the timing is nice. This is a project carefully nurtured by Andrew James before he was headhunted from NCC by NZTA (although he’s still Nelson-based). Alert readers will have noticed past posts on this page from Christchurch and Dunedin which are also embracing this major shift in cycling infrastructure.
But is not Nelson the true Heart of biking in NZ?
So well done NCC for this NZ first. Look out for work to begin in December. The initial version is fairly low-tech and will have vehicle-priority crossings at the side roads, but it seems that there is agreement that this feature needs to change - and will once funding can be allocated to do the work to make cycle-priority crossings safe. That means things like the raised crossings you see all down the Stoke Railway Reserve.
We, and council, will need your support to take this second step, so watch this space. Meanwhile, we think we can feel a new (baby) path christening coming on….
For more info on this kind of cycle path click on the link below to look at material BNB provided to council in support of this proposal (we worked very closely with council on this project and it was touch-and-go for a bit there...)
Below is the email that's been sent to all the Nelson electoral candidates. Tasman candidates have been sent a very similar version. BNB will post their responses after the 14th September.
Thank you for running for office in this local body election!
We1 are surveying candidate’s views on cycling issues to help voters make an informed choice this election.
Activity surveys show that over a third (36.2%) of Nelson and Tasman residents do some cycling - one of the highest rates in New Zealand2. Nelson also has one of the highest rates of cycle commuting in NZ, and continues to build one of NZ’s better urban cycling Networks.
The range and depth of recreational cycling, from the Great Taste Trail3 to the Heaphy and Queen Charlotte Tracks is establishing the Nelson-Tasman region as a leading cycle tourism destination for domestic and international tourists.
We would love to know (briefly!) your responses to the following Questions:
1) What's your vision for cycling in Nelson-Tasman (the city and region)?
2) If you are elected how will you work towards this goal?
3) Have you supported cycling in some way in the past? (e.g. personally or professionally, made submissions, helped with events, attended any forums, etc.)
4) If the rocks road off-road cycle/walkway feasibility study shows such a facility to be viable, will you support this project?
5) When children cycle to school, to their friends or the shops we create the travel habits of a future generation. A city that is safe and easy for children cyclists will also see more parents, commuters, shoppers and tourists make their journey by bike. How would you make Nelson the place for children to ride?
6) Council’s process of consulting with communities and community groups has had some criticism in recent years. How would you improve council's approach to consulting with a community group like Bicycle Nelson Bays?
7) Nelson City Council has a large and growing investment in cycling infrastructure, and much to gain from the increased health and decreased congestion benefits that cycling delivers. Would you increase council’s involvement in the promotion of cycling? If so, how?
8) Vulnerable users (pedestrians and cyclists) in Nelson have a higher than NZ average risk of being injured in accidents involving vehicles. Would you support greater action by council to create safer driving around cyclists and pedestrians?
Thank you for responding to this survey. We will post the results on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BicycleNelsonBays) and Website (http://bnb.org.nz/). They will also be made available to the media and to other cycling/sporting bodies and clubs.
Please send replies to us by 10pm Sunday 14th September.
Nelson has a one-off opportunity to build a new pathway for walking and cycling around Rocks Road.
This project is part of a package developed by Nelson City Council to improve local walking and cycling. Much of the funding is coming from the New Zealand Transport Agency with the rest being provided by council.
Unlike the approach suggested by NZTA several years ago, this proposal doesn’t use some kind of disruptive ‘clip-on’ structure along the outside of the sea wall.
Space for a shared footpath and off-road cycleway will instead come from removing the existing on-road cycle lanes and, in effect, adding their width to the existing footpath space.
The current on-road cycle lanes can feel unsafe and unpleasant for cyclists, so we think a lot more people, including families and tourists, would be riding a path along our waterfront if this was off-road.
A wider pathway will also give walkers more distance from passing vehicle traffic.
Some Nelsonians are opposed to both the proposal and, more disturbingly, even investigating whether this project can be done.
Much of this opposition is based on what’s claimed to be minimum widths for the walk-cycleway and the roadway. A combination of these widths apparently won’t fit on the Rocks Road footprint.
The ‘rule books’ used in NZ for road and cycleway design are essentially guidelines, not rigid building codes. That’s why the State Highway Manual refers to ‘desirable minimum lane widths’.
But even so, the roadway width being quoted by opponents has some problems. One is that their chosen width won’t actually fit on some existing sections of Rocks Rd, or on parts of the state highway south or north from Nelson.
The second problem is that the width being applied is actually for roads with sealed shoulders, like the Whakatu Bypass. For roadways with kerbing, like Rocks Road, the 'desirable minimum' can be significantly less.
Opponents are also claiming that five meters is the minimum for a walk-cyclepath.
With cycle paths - and footpaths - more is always nice, but all cycling and walking advocates know that the pathway between 'the best possible' and 'the realities of limited space and money' is one called compromise.
As it is, the design guides used in NZ give four meters as the ‘desirable minimum width’. That’s the guideline the feasibility study will work with.
And finally, opponents of the plan don’t like two-way cycle facilities.
Christchurch City Council recently published very comprehensive guidelines for cycle design. Working with NZTA and a range of design experts, these apply ‘international best practice’ to NZ. They, and the Austroad guidelines, explicitly provide for two-way cycle facilities.
In an ideal world - one without limits to space and money - we might make less use of two-way paths. But they work, and we use them here in Nelson.
A two-way, off-road shared path on this route would also be a vast improvement on what we have now.
This opportunity to tap into a NZTA fund to build an off-road cycling and walking facility around Rocks Road is effectively a one-off.
If the feasibility study shows the path is possible, but Nelson doesn’t proceed, it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll get this chance again.
We can either live with a narrow and underutilized path on our waterfront, or we can look at building something that allows Nelson families and tourists to cycle or stroll around the most beautiful harbour in New Zealand.
To apply the publicly stated requirements of opponents - their minimum widths and no two-way cycle path - would be to rule out the possibility of creating an off-road walkway-cycleway on Rocks Road in the future.
Nelsonians will remember that some people also opposed the Stoke Railway Reserve shared pathway when it was first suggested. This is now one of our prime community assets.
We believe that our region deserves to have this opportunity assessed - thoroughly and objectively.
We therefore support the Rocks Road Shared Walk-cycleway Feasibility Study, and we look forward to an open and informed discussion about its findings.
BNB representatives Chris Allison and John-Paul Pochin spoke to the BNB annual plan submission at NCC today. The original submission can be viewed at http://bnb.org.nz/index.php/docs/category/9-submissions?download=23:bnb-nelson-city-council-2013-14-annual-plan. The main points made by Chris today were as follows:
> Bicycle Nelson Bays is working closely with council in the Active Transport Advisory Group as Council develops projects for the extensive walk, cycle and schools package.
> We see great benefit in the approach that council is taking with ATAG, and we believe that these projects will make a real difference to the way that people in Nelson move around this city to work, to shop and to play.
> In planning for Nelson’s future transport needs, Council is providing leadership in three important areas:
- The first involves changing some of our transport habits by providing Public Transport as a real alternative to using private cars. The increasing use of the bus service affirms that step.
- The schools component of the walk, cycle and schools package is the second critical step in creating widespread change in our use of vehicles, especially at peak times. We think this approach, which focuses on our current - and on our future commuters, has huge potential to improve the efficiency of our road network, and the health of our community.
- The third step is to make moving around Nelson by bike a mainstream choice, and not a marginal activity.
> A key part of this goal will be to match the off-road cycle path from Atawhai with a similar facility that connects Nelson to the south, - with its much larger population.
> We see a facility down St Vincent St. as a vital link between the railway reserve and the CBD.
> We’re aware that several of these projects are really complex and time - consuming for engineering staff.
> We’d urge council to look at allocating more engineering staff to ATAG so the momentum of this programme can be maintained.
> Bicycle Nelson Bays affirms the work Nelson City Council is doing through the walk, cycle and schools package - and the ATAG process.
> In saying this, we want to be clear we are not anti-car we are drivers as well.
> We simply believe the research showing that communities - and CBD’s especially - which are pedestrian and cyclist friendly are also commercially and socially healthy.
Following our Nelson-Richmond Railway Reserve Ride we got a phone call from Sarah Hodgson to tell us about a social group ride that she organises through Sport Tasman and Get Moving and she sent some information on the group today. The flyer can by downloaded here but the details are as follows:
Take in the sights of Richmond and beyond with this popular entry level social cycling group.
Gain or brush up on your cycling skills and learn how to maintain your bike.
Cycle skills & confidence training available.
All ages & abilities welcome and its Free!
We cycle on shared pathways around the region Wednesday’s between 1pm-3pm.
For more information and to express your interest please phone Sarah on 9232313 or Email Sarah.H@sporttasman.org.nz
Ease in2 cycling is lead by Sarah who has a National Certificate in Recreation & Sport (Coaching & Instruction) Cycle Skills Instructor L2
Website: www.get-moving.org.nz or www.sporttasman.org.nz