Submitters support alternative iconic Wellington cycleway options

MEDIA RELEASE   I    9 June 2016

“Not wasting money and spending money on an iconic Cobham drive cycleway is gaining popularity over a piecemeal approach to cycle ways,” Mayoral Candidate Jo Coughlan said today.

Councillor Coughlan made the comments following hearing submitters on the Eastern Suburbs Cycleways.

Submitters made wide wide-ranging comments on the proposals, and a number cautioned that Council should listen to the public and not just spend the money government has allocated for the sake of it.

Coughlan who met with Minister of Transport Simon Bridges in April to discuss Wellington cycleways and a range of transport issues said submitters supported cycling but wanted sensible cycleways.

“In April I asked the Minister if there was a window of opportunity for Wellington to consider alternative cycleway options and consider these along with public feedback, while retaining critical central government funding. He said there is!”

This was reiterated in the subsequent Morrison Lowe Report commissioned by NZTA in response to their concerns around implementation of cycling in Wellington.

The Government has allocated $36.91 million for Wellington and local government a further $15.05 million as part of the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme in Wellington City and the Hutt Valley.

“We have an opportunity to get this right. A thoroughly considered cycleway solution that will work, be iconic, and a better outcome for the next 100 years than pursuing the current piecemeal approach at any cost,” Coughlan said.

“The council’s Island Bay Cycleway has caused a lot of grief,” Coughlan said.  “The feedback from today shows there are likely to be similar issues with implementing the Eastern Suburbs Cycleway. People feel they are not being listened to and these cycleways will be bulldozed through regardless."

Coughlan along with Councillors Woolf and Marsh have met with members of the community and from discussions with a range of people, it appears there are other options that need to be considered.

“The cycleways are being rammed through on an adhoc basis. We are putting on bandaids instead of doing the job properly. Cyclists, road users and communities deserve better.  We need a strategic, lasting solution that works for everyone and is an asset to the city.

“I am a huge supporter of sensible cycleways. They are great for health, fitness and the environment. However, given the Island Bay experience we need to do much better with our consultation processes and take the community with us.

“I believe we must revisit the cycleways under consideration with a view to finding a better more visionary solution.

“The Minister acknowledged there is a small window of opportunity to do this, while protecting the committed central government investment in Wellington cycleways. 

“Other global cities have built cycleways that differentiated their city from others. We have some great natural attributes for off-road cycling which are world-class. We have an opportunity to build an integrated separate around the harbout cycleway network that will become an iconic part of the Wellington landscape over the next century.

“An around harbour cycleway from Miramar to Petone will inspire people to use it.

“Funding is secure for the $54 million Hutt Valley cycleway and resilience project between Petone and Ngauranga.  We have an additional $36 million of Government funding to spend. This should be used to complete the route to Miramar.

“This would be an excellent infrastructure project that we could work with Government on and I would strongly support.

“This work needs to be done if we are to get the best long term result for Wellingtonians.

“This isn’t about ideology or party politics. We need solutions we can all be proud of for the next 100 years.”  

Contact: Councillor Jo Coughlan 021 522142 

Jo Coughlan was elected to council in 2007 and has represented the Onslow Western Ward for three terms. Since re-election in October 2010 she has led the city's Economic Development Strategy as Economic Portfolio Leader and Chair of the Economic Growth and Arts Committee. Jo was a Director of Positively wellington Tourism, which has now merged into WREDA. 

Jo is married and has six children aged 13 to 24. She has a degree in Biochemistry from Otago University.

Jo's business, Silvereye Communications, provides PR and government relations advice to a range of public and private clients both in NZ and offshore.

Prior to establishing her own business, Jo has held senior communications roles in the public and private sector; and worked as a Press Secretary for NZ Foreign Minister Sir Don McKinnon.

Jo Co-Chair’s the New Zealand Chinese Language Week Charitable Trust and Chairs the Life Education Trust Wellington City. Jo has just stepped down, after six years, as Deputy Chair of The National Board of Life Education which provides health education to over 250,000 children nationally with 50 mobile classrooms across 30 trusts nationwide.

In 2015 Jo was a Finalist in two categories in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards. In 2009 she was a Finalist in Wellington's Women in Business - Best New Business Award.

Jo was formerly involved in crèche and kindergarten committees, coached primary school netball for 10 years, and led a fundraising appeal for secondary school rowing.

Submitters support alternative iconic Wellington cycleway options

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