NZTA Accessible Streets due 22.4
& CAN Guide to this https://can.org.nz/AccessibleStreetsSubmissionGuide
This is a big one for potential impact. It can appear daunting. You can write up your own or work through the online form. With all the support available, at CAN and with this, it should be fairly quick and easy. As always be polite, brief but thorough.
Thank you for this support of Active and Public Transport. Both offer personal and public health benefits, pollution reduction, affordable congestion reduction, GHG reduction and transport mode equity.
The proposals in the Accessible Streets package are great steps forward. Sadly past experience and current transport spending undermines confidence that this will be much more than another piece of work ignored. It is now 6 years since the Cycling Safety Panel’s report. The “low hanging fruit” may get attention, but the real changes required have yet to see implementation.
Spokes does appreciate this attempt to improve safety for people on footpaths, encourage walking and biking, and support liveable communities. Along with speed reductions this is great to see. To make it happen will require reallocating up to half of the transport budget away from roading for cars & trucks, be they EV’s or autonomous and to Active and Public Transport. The proposals here will not achieve the goals of increased walking and cycling without additional financial commitment and quickly scheduled action.
Footpaths should remain open to those willing to travel at 5km/h, about a fast walk. People with limited sight, hearing and mobility as well as those lost in thought or engaged in conversation should not be expected to dodge faster users. Powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters would share footpaths with pedestrians. All wheeled modes to give way to pedestrians. Bells or other warning devices should be required on all wheeled vehicles.
Vastly more separated cycle lanes will be required to accommodate people on bicycles, e scooters, e skateboards, etc. Lanes will need to be wide enough to allow safe passing, a minimum of 2m wide for low use areas and far wider as use increases. Reallocating carriage way space to active modes will be required.
To achieve transport mode equity complete cycle networks will be needed.
In urban and suburban areas where separated cycle infrastructure is not provided road speed should be limited to 30km/h. In rural areas higher speed roads must provide at least 1.5m wide paved and cleaned shoulder for pedestrians, bicycles, etc.
These are big changes. To support change will require more than new regulations and education campaigns. Please add in mandatory road user skills training for all road users. At the very least require those cited for infractions, be they drivers, riders or walkers to attend road user skills training in lieu of fines.
Spokes limits comment to those proposals with the greatest impact on people who choose or would like to choose to cycle.
Responses to specific proposals
Proposal 2: Establish a national framework for the use of footpaths
Pedestrians and faster traffic are not a good mix. In limited situations shared paths will be required, but should not be the default setting. Footpath riding increases risk from cars at driveways and intimidation or collision with other users.
Due to past poor provision of road space there will be instances where people on bikes will need to carefully ride on footpaths as long as they meet speed, device width, and behaviour requirements. Such instances should be sign posted and with painted shared space symbols on the pavement. Government must prioritize funding to support mode equity to rectify such instances.
Proposal 3: Establish a national framework for the use of shared paths and cycle paths
Spokes supports this proposal with reservations. Too often a “shared path” is the cheap and nasty approach to claim that mode equity is being achieved. Shared paths must be wide enough to allow wheeled vehicles to pass each other and pedestrians safely and easily. A minimum width of 4m would be typical for routes with moderate use at busy times. Proper shared or bike paths should allow safety at higher speeds if designed and sized correctly.
Proposal 4: Enable transport devices to use cycle lanes and cycle paths
Spoke’s supports this proposal to allow devices like e-scooters to get off footpaths and roads by using cycle lanes/paths.
Proposal 5: Lighting
Spoke’s supports this safety requirement for wheeled motorized devices.
Proposal 6: Remove barriers to walking, transport device use and cycling through rule changes
Spokes supports all the main parts of this proposal. These are much needed changes which will require much needed skills training and police enforcement.
Allow cycle lane users to:
• Ride straight through from a left turn lane
• Pass carefully on the left of slow moving or queued vehicles
• Give priority to through travel for all wheeled vehicles over turning traffic in all instances
Nb: Without education, mandatory skills training, police enforcement driver intimidation and collisions will occur.
Proposal 7: Mandate a minimum overtaking gap for motor vehicles passing cycles, transport devices, horses, pedestrians and people using mobility devices on the road
Spokes supports this proposal, but with a minimum gap of 1.5m to be uniformly applied. Where space is restricted a 1m gap could be applied on roads with posted limits greater than 30km/h. Heavy and/or wide vehicles must always allow a 1.5m gap.
Proposal 9: Mandatory give way to buses at stops and bus lane ends
Spokes supports this proposal. All road users should give way to buses to prioritize road safety and public transport. Having this a uniform and well enforced rule can provide safety for all road users and minimize confusion.