As public debate over the state of cycle lanes in Auckland continues, the capital city has taken a step in the right direction, by announcing a potential tripling of the cycling budget in its draft Annual Plan for 2014/15.
In a paper released last month, Wellington City Council recommended the cycling budget be increased from $1.3 to $4.3 million. Subject to public consultation, the funding would focus on delivering strategic cycling routes, and improving cycle safety city wide.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says that, if agreed, the funding boost would be transformative for Wellington.
“Wellington has enormous potential to become one of the world’s great cycling destinations, both as an adventure tourism attraction and for commuter choice,” she says.
People cycle in Wellington to commute, for leisure, as a sport, and as adventure tourism. Proposed improvements include a combination of on and off-road routes to provide a better experience for cyclists.
“South Coast to CBD, inner city connections and eastern suburbs routes will join the Tawa shared path as improvements to the current unforgiving environment. We have decades of under-investment to correct and it will take a while to do the whole city,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.
Funding for safety initiatives could include safer speed limits within the CBD and improvements to existing cycling priority routes.
Councillor Andy Foster, chair of the Transport and Urban Development Committee, says the Council is absolutely committed to improving cycle safety and attractiveness.
“Commuter cycling numbers in Wellington doubled between 2006 and 2012 despite relatively little investment prior to 2009, so there’s obvious evidence of demand for cycling as a viable form of transport,” he says.
Members of the public are invited to make a submission to the Draft Annual Plan. Submissions open on 11 February 2014.