Te hau mārohi ki anamata
Transitioning to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future
References added after submission (added 5/12/2021):
He waka eke noa
Spokes Canterbury (http://www.spokes.org.nz/) is a local cycling advocacy group with approximately 1,200 members and is affiliated with the national Cycling Action Network (CAN – https://can.org.nz/). Spokes is dedicated to including cycling as an everyday form of transport in the greater Christchurch area.
Our mission is to advocate for change that will benefit cyclists, and thereby improve our living environment. Initiatives that benefit cyclists also benefit a host of other active transport uses including pedestrians, scooters, mobility device users and many others. Reducing the use of vehicles, ICE or EV, reduces CO2 and other contaminants, creates health and wellbeing benefits, and is a modal shift that can be achieved more quickly and cheaply than other transport solutions. Planning for our cities and towns should make active transport a central priority goal, replacing the current vehicle-centric designs. With the right infrastructure and incentives to change behaviours, we can increase the proportion of active transport trips, including cycling, in line with the transport goals.
Spokes is very pleased to see that our submissions to Hīkina te Kohupara and to the Climate Change Commission has been listened to and reflected in the goals of Te hau mārohi ki anamata
Transition pathways and Helping Sectors adapt
5. Our transition pathway must be evidence based and set in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. This requires a significant reduction in emissions prior to 2030 – more ambitious than is currently proposed.
5. The transition pathway should prioritise local emissions reductions, rather than enable exporting emissions through foreign offsetting or creative accounting.
6. Low-cost, low-energy forms of transport, like walking and cycling, can more easily be modified and adapted in the face of environmental changes and challenges and have significant co-benefits for health.
Implementing mode shift
We welcome in the first budget period a substantial increase in funding for cycling and walking, and support the desire to design and deliver outcomes at speed.
Priority should be given to travel to schools and tertiary education. Bike leasing or shared bike schemes are good options for middle income families, however in some lower income communities the whole family with free bikes to own should be considered. Give one child a bike and it will be stolen or trashed, give whole families bikes and it will create health benefits and autonomy for everyone. This can be funded by clean car initiatives. All new cyclists benefit from cycle education schemes.
Streamlining consultation requirement is welcome however there are risks in reducing this too far. Consultation should focus on “Yes, we are going to make these changes for these reasons, tell us how to make it better”. There should be limited ability to take legal action or for individuals to slow the process down. Citizens need the opportunity to voice their concerns, to hear why things are happening from Councils or Waka Kotahi, and to be genuinely listened to. Anything else risks creating mistrust and ongoing backlash from those who feel disenfranchised.
The consultation on Christchurch cycleways have led to compromises but also to significant improvements over the first draft plans. The methodology used in Christchurch has improved with each iteration and these lessons can be shared widely with other councils.
The biggest problem in Christchurch has been the underestimation of the uptake in cycling when the right infrastructure is provided. Cycleways that were designed to be at peak use in 2030 are already at capacity at times, often creating congestion at popular intersections. Continually maintaining and upgrading current infrastructure to meet demand and new safety standards is as important as building new.
16. Making an equitable transition
All communities need safe modes of travel including separated cycleways. A study on the Barriers to Cycling Use in Inner City East Christchurch, an ethnically diverse, low income community, found that safety and economic factors were the biggest barriers to cycling. Students at low decile schools in Christchurch are a lot less likely to cycle to school due to fears of safety and cycle theft, including at schools themselves. For females the biggest barriers were cycling confidence and ability, and safety fears. For males it was safer infrastructure and cycle theft. The top factors that would encourage cycling were more separated cycleways, more attractive routes, cheaper bikes, and skills training for women. Te Whare Roimata runs ICEcycles, a grassroots community bicycling charity in this area. They are one of a number of community enterprises that can help provide an equitable transition to active transport if they were suitably funded.
• Transport makes up the largest portion of household emissions, so should be a priority focus.
• Find ways to reduce bike theft in targeted neighbourhoods.
• Include trusted local groups as part of the solution and fund them to scale up their services.
• Ensuring that infrastructure and attractive well-maintained routes are fairly distributed across all neighbourhoods.
• Provide sources of subsidised cheap bikes, helmets, lights and reflective gear.
• An e-bike subsidy or vehicle scrappage scheme which replaces an older ICE vehicle with a e-bikes or an e-cargo bike, will significantly reduce household emissions and also reduce ongoing household expenditure.
• Provide cycle skills in schools and in communities, with a focus on women and children.
Our vision is to create a safe environment for those aged 8-80 to cycle. Safety is the number one issue for the “interested but concerned” who will, with their families, take up cycling if the right environment is provided. In most places this requires separated cycleways, reduction in speed, and safe ways to cross busy roads that give priority to cyclists and pedestrians. The easiest way to measure perceptions of safety is the gender and age balance of cyclists. One busy road or roundabout without a safe option to cross on a journey will be a big deterrent to someone opting to cycle to a destination.
There are many ways to increase cycle safety:
• Build more cycling infrastructure.
• Fund a public education campaign on sharing the road safely with cyclists.
• Continue to fund programmes like Bikes in Schools.
• Make it mandatory for truck and bus drivers to attend training sessions on visibility and sharing the road like the currently voluntary system.
• Require new trucks and buses to have cameras and collision warning systems by a certain date.
• Require side under-run protection on all trucks.
• Ban bull and nudge bars, front and rear, on non-farm vehicles.
• Legislate for safe passing distances.
• Actively penalise drivers who park or drive in cycle lanes, pass cyclists too closely, or use cell phones illegally.
• Move freight off the roads onto rail or shipping.
• Make the standard urban road speed 30 kph rather than 50 kph.
Research shows that the more people who cycle the safer it becomes for all.
52. Reducing reliance on cars and supporting people to walk, cycle and use public transport.
Reducing vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) by cars and light vehicles by 20 per cent by 2035 through providing better travel options, particularly in our largest cities, is a significant and achievable goal which Spokes fully supports. This transport target is in line with the final COP26 Transport Declaration ,signed by New Zealand, that recognises “that alongside the shift to zero emission vehicles, a sustainable future for road transport will require wider system transformation, including support for active travel, public and shared transport”
The major cycleways in Christchurch are proof that people will cycle if they feel safe.
On 9 Jun 2020 CCC’s weekly Newsline email reported:
“Biking is booming in Christchurch with the number of people pedalling around the city this year racing well ahead of last year’s total.
“Christchurch City Council figures show when a morning peak count was carried out in March at seven locations this year there were 2234 cycle trips recorded, compared to 1869 in 2019.
“This is an increase of nearly 20 per cent, and follows a pattern of yearly increases since the Council began building a network of major cycle routes around the city”.
At a recent consultation for the Wheels to Wings cycleway the Christchurch City Council said that cycling had increased 80% from 2015 to 2020. Given that a large proportion of the new infrastructure is less than 18 months old this is particularly pleasing result. This is due to the investment in safe cycling infrastructure. This change can be continued in Christchurch and replicated in another cities and towns.
According to the 2018 census around 48,000 people cycled to work (2.2% of commuters) and 31% of people (female 26%, male 36%) have cycled in the last year. Commuting by bike is increasing in a number of cities and towns, including Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington following increased investment in infrastructure. 57% of people take part in an active mode of travel at least once a week. Some organisations have achieved much high levels of commuter cycling such as University of Canterbury transport survey finding 22.1% of staff cycling (3.2% e-bike) in 2020.
Cycling infrastructure benefits many other forms of micro-transport including skaters, scooters and other mobility devices. Pedestrians also benefit from joint crossings across roads.
Spokes believes that appropriate investment in safe urban cycling could raise commuting from 2.2% to 20% in the next 10 years (Christchurch is already around 5%). One of the cheapest ways to achieve this is to reduce all urban speeds to 30kph, and make 50kph the exception rather than the rule. 30kph coupled with effective enforcement would reduce the need for separated cycleways. Effective enforcement could be achieved by mandating software such as EROAD on commercial vehicles from 2025 and all vehicles from 2028, and requiring automatic reporting of all infringements over a certain limit.
54. Freight Transport
• Freight transport includes local delivery. Investigate the role which e-cargo bikes can play in urban freight, and develop supporting infrastructure to enable more freight to travel by cargo bike.
• See above for issues around improving safety for cyclists and support Waka Kotahi’s Road to Zero policy.
Achieving the goal
We support the setting of targets for councils to deliver active travel networks with appropriate central funding. This should be part of planned urban design, that provides convenience benefits for active transport above cars. This can be in the form of short-cuts through alleyways or green spaces, priority at signal-based crossings etc.
From a climate change perspective, the goal is to encourage commuters to bike to work at least one or two days a week. There should be a subsidy program for commuter bikes (both electric and standard as they are usually lighter and therefore easier to lift onto bus racks), and businesses should be able to provide bikes tax free (or tax-subsidised) to employees up to a certain dollar limit. New York is considering implementing a scheme to subsidise 50% of the cost of an e-bike up to a maximum of US$1,100 for commuters, and a similar scheme could be implemented in Aotearoa as part of the upcoming car feebate scheme. The use of cargo bikes should be encouraged and also subsidised through the car feebate scheme.
We need transformational change to meet our climate targets. Transport, health, climate, biodiversity, the built environment, equity and justice are all interlinked. Now is a once in a lifetime chance to invest in a better future for us all.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit on Te hau mārohi ki anamata. Together we can make a difference.
Spokes would be happy to talk to the Ministry further on our ideas to increase cycling and other active transport modes.
Thank you Anne Scott of Spokes for doing all the hard mahi on this proposal.