WCC Long Term Plan 2024 submission guide


Consultation closes midnight 12 May 2024

Every three years councils are required to produce a ‘Long Term Plan’ that revisits their intentions and strategy for spending rate payer money for the next 10 years. The plan will have a distinct impact on the immediate next three years, while indicating what is likely to happen in the future.

Family cycling along the Cobham Drive cycleway.

Find out all about the plan here: https://www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz/hub-page/long-term-plan-2024-34

Submit an online submission via this survey.

The Let’s Talk site used for this consultation requires users to create an account; so follow instructions to do that if you haven’t before, and log in.

Alternatively you can fill in a PDF form and email your feedback in to [email protected].

It is worth noting that you do not have to answer every question in the survey. You can skip pages if you want.

There are key proposals on funding water infrastructure, changes to waste management, and managing insurance and investment risk, including whether to sell shares in the Wellington Airport that you may wish to provide feedback on. From a cycling perspective, fast-forward to:

Other Proposals

Question 14:  How much do you support or oppose the following proposals being included in the 2024-34 Long Term Plan? 

Thorndon Quay and Hutt road project – continue with Aotea Quay roundabout and Thorndon Quay portions of the project, do not progress with Hutt Road portion.

Select: Strongly oppose (keep original plan)

City Streets – progress highest priority projects

Select: Strongly oppose (keep original plan)

Bike Network – continue full scope but at a reduced cost through minimised long-term street transformations and building on transitional approach

Select: Strongly oppose (keep original plan)

Feedback on other proposals

Question 15: Do you have any comments you would like to provide about your level of support for these decisions, or why you don’t support any of the decisions we have proposed? 

Select the following check boxes:

  • Thorndon Quay and Hutt Road project
  • City Streets
  • Bike Network
  • (and any others you also have feedback about, obviously)

Question 16: Your comments on the other proposals

We encourage you to think about what is important to you about persisting with strong investment in safe cycling infrastructure. How will better conditions for cycling help you and your family with cost of living, a more healthy and sustained environment, greater equity and choice for more Wellingtonians?

Explain here what your priorities are and illustrate those with some personal stories about biking, or wanting to in the future.

Here are some of Cycle Wellington’s thoughts:

Re: People-friendly city streets

We support progressing the work inherited from the disbanding LGWM programme. We expect a high quality connection for people riding bikes along the Waterfront Quays like our Quays Please proposal as part of this work. Now that LGWM is broken up, surely there is a means for Council to refactor the designs to incorporate a better solution.

Re: Bike network and sustainable street changes

We appreciate the commitment to completing the bike network. Creating safe cycling conditions is not just a ‘nice-to-have’.  However, we are unsupportive of the council lowering the target quality of the emerging network.

We are highly concerned about what the reduced quality will mean for the parts of the network already implemented to a ‘transitional’ level. Seeing as there is now no obvious commitment to return to these projects and deliver the promised ‘transformational’ stage.

While we applaud progress over the last three years, there are many aspects of the transitional projects that compromise performance, safety, and attractiveness. For example: on the Newtown route there are several issues with the approaches on both sides of the Basin Reserve, the bike lanes on Adelaide Road are too narrow as the gutter is considered part of the usable width (it isn’t with such a high kerb). Or bikers needing to share the lane with buses on the Bowen Street downhill (these sections are unlikely to serve unconfident riders well and risks suppressing ridership uptake).

We draw attention to the principles of the Bike Network:

  • Cohesive routes that get people where they want to go
  • A network for all ages and abilities
  • A direct and convenient network
  • Part of an integrated multi-modal network
  • Best practice design guidance
  • A future-proofed network for new transport devices like e-scooters

We expect these principles to be upheld through continued delivery and are concerned that reduced investment will underserve some unconfident riders or younger, older, or those less able. We are looking forward to seeing further data of ridership and proof of a growth in demographics using the new facilities.

We are also concerned about the delay or potential omission of the section of the Ngā Ūranga path also already consulted on under Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

Re: Brooklyn Connections

The project to upgrade the successful Brooklyn Connections transitional project has been halted. This loses the planned improvements to cycling safety on the busy top part of the hill near Brooklyn village in both directions. It also loses planned crossings and other long-awaited pedestrian improvements. The Council should retain some or all of the plan, focusing on the most serious safety issues.

Re: Thorndon Quay and Old Hutt Road

The project to finish work on improving Old Hutt Road has been consulted on under the now defunct Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme. As an infrastructure intervention it is fairly straight-forward work that affects relatively few businesses or residents, or parking concerns. Old Hutt Road is an important, and heavily used transport corridor for our city, especially for people on bikes.

Improving this stretch will be important for the successful functioning of the Te Ara Tupua connection that is under construction. While it is uncertain if this work will secure funding from Waka Kotahi, and given the very concerning signals coming from the current Government on walking and cycling projects, the Council should not withdraw its commitment to proceed.

Question 17: Do you support the proposed budget?

Select either: Neutral

Question 18: You stated that you were neutral / did not support the proposed budget. Do you support increasing or decreasing spend?

Select either: I support increasing spend in the budget

or: I support keeping the budget the same with specific changes (please specify if possible). If you check this one a text box will appear and you can enter your preference to not reduce ambition or investment on any of the Bike Network, Old Hutt Road or City Streets work.

Questions 19 and 20

These offer you further opportunities to enter feedback. Question 20 allows you to upload a document if you need.

See below for more feedback on infrastructure issues from Cycle Wellington on parts of the consultation document and how important it is to continue doing better for cycling in Wellington.

Click: ‘Save & continue’.

Click: ‘Submit’.

Feedback on infrastructure issues

This feedback focuses on the infrastructure issues starting at page 22 of the consultation document.

1 Population growth and changing demand

We need to future-ready our infrastructure to serve our growing and changing population, so that we can foster liveable, safe, low-emission neighbourhoods and travel.” - consultation doc.

Infrastructure can’t pivot quickly to catch up with population shifts or behaviour changes. Need to plan ahead for population growth - car-oriented transport networks won’t scale to support ‘business as usual’ transport for the growing population. Bike infrastructure is among the lowest cost, best value, and lowest risk infrastructure investments - relevant in most future scenarios and critical to the most favourable.

2 Ageing and declining condition of infrastructure 

Much of the city’s infrastructure was built in waves when parts of the city were urbanised, including a sizeable portion that was built after World War Two. This means a lot of our infrastructure will reach the end of its life in the next 30 years.” - consultation doc.

Wellington depends on old, fragile infrastructure that frequently isn’t up to the job - nowhere is this clearer than its leaky pipes.

We need to work to transform the way we are using our streets and roads to reduce the wear and tear on them. We are damaging them too quickly. More people riding bikes more often means far slower rates of deterioration. 

More frequent severe weather, higher traffic volumes, and heavier vehicles all translate into more wear and tear. Popular SUVs and utes frequently weigh 2000kg+. Even ‘cleaner’ electric vehicles can be part of this problem. EVs are heavier than equivalent ICE cars - for example, the top-selling Tesla model Y is a similar weight to a modern dual-cab diesel ute. Increasing vehicle weight increases wear and tear exponentially.

Heavier vehicles contribute to more failures of water infrastructure as this fragile infrastructure frequently passes under/along streets which may not be fit for the increasing amounts of traffic they carry. Less traffic, and less-heavy traffic, is good for fewer water leaks.

Focusing infrastructure capital cost on cheaper bike lanes and bus lanes, not hyper-expensive roading projects like tunnels, also frees up more budget for needed maintenance.

3 Mitigation and adaptation to climate change

Our city’s infrastructure, including transportation and waste systems, play a key role in where we live, how we move around, and the industries we support.” - consultation doc.

We need to do our part to limit climate change, but also adapt to sea-level rise and the other effects we expect to see.

Of course reducing car dependency is a critical component of rising to this challenge. It makes no sense to shrink our investment in cycling if we are serious about this.

Also biking is important for its resilience, and the way people who live more locally and use a wider range of transport options are better able to manage disruptions. Live closer = easier to walk bike in a major disruption. This is relevant to 4: Earthquake hazards too.

5 Affording and delivering better infrastructure

The costs of maintaining, operating, renewing, and upgrading infrastructure are big and have been increasing quickly since the COVID-19 pandemic. Obtaining the funds to improve our infrastructure is also becoming challenging as the costs increase.” - consultation doc.

We recommend working towards building back better so that when street replacement maintenance is undertaken - that modern street design standards are applied as a matter of habit - rather than treating cycling projects as standalone special projects that happen outside of normal procedures. This is standard practice in The Netherlands, for example.

We propose a ‘no new kerbs without future-proofing for bike lanes’ or similar. Also maybe more standardisation and modularity at intersections when renewed/repaired to make traffic flows easier to reconfigure in future, e.g.: adding bike phases.

Feedback on proposed changes in the plan

This feedback focuses on the proposed changes starting at page 48 of the consultation document.

Stretching a transitional project into a permanent one that’s good enough

We are keen to see a better quality of network routes being built faster, but we are unclear about the resulting quality being aimed for. Many of the projects that have so far been designed are highly constrained due to there being low levels of civil works to provide optimal space. Those problems and bottlenecks can make sense in a temporary setting. But we don’t support the remainder of the network being a lower quality than needed if there will be little hope of solving such problems as a second stage.

If Council wants to compress the remaining work into a series of single phase projects that are ‘transitional with more permanent materials and infrastructure where required’ - we will need to see much greater quality up front and more assertiveness about reclaiming the space needed for people on bikes than we’ve seen to date. Many aspects of the ‘transitional’ routes implemented so far have been compromised, in our view, thanks to the promise of a future chance to improve with greater civil works etc. We will need to take a less flexible stance, and demand more up front if we only get one shot from here on in.

“uses existing street space” - This means that the remaining projects will have no access to civil works that creates the needed space. In some locations this has worked well - i.e.: Kent Terrace, but most of the routes to date have not had nearly enough space to work with. We doubt this strategy will deliver appealing cycling facilities to the target groups of users.

Don’t let the timeline slip

“We will complete most of the network over the next 10 years.” - Three years ago, The Council committed to completing all of the network in 10 years under the last Long Term Plan. This means the Council now has 7 years remaining to deliver the rest of the network fully, not ‘most’ of it.

The reduced cost of delivering a lower quality bike network is a minor saving compared to the ongoing money being paid into road renewals, and water infrastructure.

More people on bikes helps significantly with many of the serious challenges the Council has identified. It does not make sense to reduce our ambitions to enable more people to ride their bikes more often. 

We encourage Council to push on with investing in healthier, less damaging, less costly, more sustainable, and cleaner transport for our city. Even in the new difficult conditions of a Government that is not providing the support and finance that they should to this work, we strongly encourage Council to push on with this transformative work on our own.

It’s not only bike lanes that can boost cycling, in the right settings

With the reduced funding from central Government likely, we suggest that Council instruct officers to incorporate features of street design that will deliver safe and comfortable conditions for all ages and abilities. More instances like Freyberg Street, where traffic levels are reduced significantly - making street layout changes less complex and costly.

Example suggested locations to do this:

  • Mein Street
    A rat run for motorists trying to bypass Newtown, or Mt Victoria tunnel traffic
  • Raroa Road
    There will likely never be space for adequate separation on Raroa to support the levels of traffic being accommodated. Interventions are needed to reduce traffic volumes here.
  • Adopt a Superblocks approach for the city centre, and / or more contraflow cycling facilities and policies

Urban speed reductions and Reshaping Streets would be excellent value for money in safety and cycling adoption

We’re very disappointed that the previously-planned speed reduction work seems unlikely to be revisited. We would appreciate the Council coming back to this - and implementing it as soon as possible. Widespread speed limit reduction is among the most cost effective, and timely measures to improve safety for all road users, and encourage more people out on their bikes, and should be persisted.

Where is the use of the new Street Layout Rule from Reshaping Streets? The Transitional / Transformational experiment has not really been followed since the Newtown legal challenge. We are disappointed that the methodology has effectively returned to the traditional traffic resolution process.