Cycle Aware Wellington is trying a new tactic; pop-up bike lanes created by human bollards. It sounds heroic, if not entirely practical. Will support for such action drop off as Autumn turns to Winter? And what happens if a truck doesn’t spot the change in the road layout?
However, in this case, the medium (or is it the median?) is also the message; there’s been some progress in creation of separated cycle ways, but they’re not coming fast enough for a lot of cyclists, especially in the central city.
So far, CAW’s human bollards have popped up on Featherston and Victoria Streets, greeting cyclists with a 25 metre stretch of protected bike lane. Not much, I grant you, but not many bollards give you a wave and a cheer as you ride by.
Of course 2019 is local body election year, and as Wellington Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman rightly pointed out to this blog on Twitter, while public transport is a regional council issue, the provision of local roads is a city affair. So if you agree with CAW, it’s to the City Council you go, which is exactly where the opponents of such cycle ways are sure to be going (as well as taking the council to court).
With the benefit of hindsight, I wonder if the likes of Victoria Street, with its key role funneling people out of the central city (be it on foot, bus, bike or car) might have been the best place to start the whole cycle-lane conversion.
My recollection of the thinking around Island Bay was; “here’s a nice wide road with plenty of room for everyone, surely no one’s going to mind if we give a little over to the cyclists?” Turned out quite a few motorists were rather attached to that wide bit of asphalt.
I wonder how much the concern over maintaining motor traffic flow out of the city played in the decision to begin the city’s recent cycleway upgrade in the suburbs? A lot of cyclists use Victoria Street to exit the city to the south. True, there are protected lanes between Ghuznee and Able Smith Street, but for most of the way, it’s a can of paint or nothing at all, and we all know how colourblind folk can be.
Perhaps more tricky trade-offs between space for motorists and everyone else using the roadway, need to be happening at the business end of town?
And there’s no doubt the cyclists are coming. Look at the bike racks, check out the stats.
This month is down on the last by the way, but the trend is up.
And given what last week’s Traffic Jammers were saying about our physical health, what’s not to like about getting more people on bikes?
One thought on “Episode 10: Operation Human Shield”
Thanks for your interest Bryan. We’ll be back with more people=protected bike lanes.
Here’s why: We love the protected bike lanes the Council has built, but progress is far too slow. So we’re taking action into our own hands.
If the city won’t protect us, we will protect our own.
Paint is not protection.
We need cycling to be given due priority for Wellington to become less congested, less polluted, healthier and safer.
People choosing to cycle are expected to mix with busy streams of motor vehicles, which understandably few are willing to do. Our streets should be safe so that people feel safe to cycle.