$1.3m cycleway revamp gets nod

ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 15:30 20/05/2014

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You can't please all the people all the time, Wellington City councillors decided as they gave the $1.3 million Island Bay cycleway revamp the go-ahead.     

Despite impassioned pleas from Island Bay residents, who presented a 447-signature petition asking for work to be halted, the Transport and Urban Development Committee committed to detailed design work for the cycleway this morning.

Consultation should not continue endlessly, and hard decisions had to be made, councillor Iona Pannett said.

''At some point we have to vote for something. I want to get on with it, now.''

The council's engagement with residents had to be improved, however, and just one pamphlet in each letterbox was not adequate to keep people informed, she said.''This [opposition] was completely predictable.

''Any decision involving roading changes would upset some residents, committee chairman Andy Foster said.''

Every time you do anything, on any road, anywhere, it's going to have effects. It's just not possible for everybody to be happy.''

A proposal from councillor Nicola Young to pause work until officers designed the entire Island Bay to city route was narrowly voted down by Foster, Pannett, David Lee and Justin Lester.

Simon Woolf and Jo Coughlan supported Young's amendment.There seemed to be an indecent haste to get the easiest section of the cycleway completed before the rest was planned, Young said.

''It's like children who want to eat their pudding before they eat their vegetables.''

The cycleway's first section, from Shorland Park to Wakefield Park, would involve the re-design of every intersection on The Parade, and remove about 45 carparks from the street.

Opponent Ralph Wilkinson from Island Bay said consultation in April was badly timed to coincide with school holidays, Easter and Anzac Day, and that only two options were presented for consideration.

''It's like, do you want to die by hanging or electrocution?''

But cycling proponents were celebrating being one step nearer to a world-class cycleway, said Patrick Morgan from Cycling Advocates' Network.

"This is the first step towards a bike-friendly Wellington. It's all about progress and safety.''

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