What Wellington walkers can expect from new councillors
Living Streets Aotearoa has surveyed Wellington City Council candidates for their ideas on key improvement for pedestrians in the lead up to local body elections.
Living Streets pedestrian improvement scorecard for the last triennium in Wellington has seen little movement. Many of the big transport policies have stalled such as Let’s Get Wellington Moving and the parking policy (yes, this should help get those parked cars off footpaths). Even smaller changes for pedestrians have been modest: the return of footpaths (rather than shared paths) to a small section of Oriental Parade and part of the Hutt Road, or the upgrade of street lighting to LED, which is brighter (and will save on our city power bill), but hasn’t reviewed lighting levels on the footpath. We did appreciate the roll out of more diverse images on our pedestrian traffic lights: Carmen and Kate, and the waiata wahine and haka tane, are fun.
We asked five questions. One of the biggest safety improvements for all road users from walkers and cyclists to car and public transport users is to lower speed, especially in areas where lots of people walk. We asked if there was support for 30km hour zones in central Wellington, around schools and shopping areas and got almost unanimous support. We’re looking forward to this proposal being bought back to the Council table in the next triennium.
The biggest new issue for pedestrians in the last three years has been the increase in vehicles using footpaths. We’ve seen NZ Post Paxsters in Tawa, Onzo bike hires cluttering footpaths, continuing cyclist use, and most recently hire e-scooters. This has had a big impact on the most vulnerable of pedestrians, making it less safe and less pleasant to be out walking. We asked candidates if they see footpaths are for pedestrians. Candidates agreed or strongly agreed that indeed footpaths are for pedestrians!
Remember thought that only five of the sitting councillors voted for pedestrians when the hire e-scooter companies came to town. Councillors Sarah Free, Diane Calvert, Simon Woolf, Nicola Young and Brian Dawson voted not to allow the hire e-scooters on footpaths. Vote carefully to ensure that we get e-scooter conditions reviewed when the trial is finished.
Candidates had good ideas for improvements for walkers: a car-free Golden Mile, better footpaths and crossings, more pedestrian malls, new walkways, better lighting, lower speeds, and improving walking to school. More details on what these mean are available here https://www.livingstreets.org.nz/regions/wellington.
All candidates agreed that walking is good for the environment and will help reduce our carbon emissions. Candidates also identified footpaths that need maintenance and improvement around Wellington.
Living Streets thanks these candidates for taking the time to put down their thoughts on walking and making Wellington better for pedestrians:
Sarah Free, Nicola Young, Iona Pannett, Brian Dawson, Steph Edlin, Ray Chung, Justin Lester, Laurie Foon, Peter Gilberd, Conor Hill, Fleur Fitzsimmons, John Peters, Norbert Hausberger, Andy Foster, Michelle Rush, Anna Scott, Bernard O’Shaugnessy, Rohan Biggs, Jenny Condie, and Lee Orchard.
Now it’s time to vote before 12 October.