News | 31 July 2023
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Wellington wins Breakthrough Biking City of the Year Award

Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau is delighted the city has taken the mantle from regional neighbours Hutt City, to claim this year’s Big Street Bikers’ Breakthrough Biking City of Year Award.

Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon, Mayor Tory Whanau and CEO Barbara McKerrow collect award for WCC
Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon, Mayor Tory Whanau and CEO Barbara McKerrow collect award for Wellington City Council

Mayor Whanau was presented the award at the Local Government NZ conference in Ōtautahi Christchurch today. The annual award celebrates a city or town which has demonstrated outstanding initiatives and actions that enable more people to cycle more often.

Wellington’s innovative bike network has recently also gained global recognition Including a USD $400,000 award from the prestigious Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure (BICI).

Cleve Cameron of Big Street Bikers says: “Our 2023 recipient is rolling out Aotearoa’s biggest bike network. Wellington City Council has had the political courage to agree to work through its ambitious plans to install 166km of bike lanes, including projects that will be rolled out through the Let’s Get Wellington moving programme along Thorndon Quay and along the Golden Mile. I’ve long been an advocate of a ‘Carbon Free CBD’ for Wellington, so it warms my heart to see bold leadership from the Mayor of Wellington and elected members. Wellington is joining other major cities globally by enabling more people the ability to ride more often. This helps to meet our climate goals and address the cost of living by providing transport choices.”

“Meaningfully, the former Deputy Mayor of Waitakere City Council, Penny Hulse, was on stage for the presentation — she was instrumental with Sir Bob Harvey in laying down the first cycleways in the country back in the 1990s. It’s testimony to the vision many people have held onto while urban planning has revolved around the car over the last few decades. Globally, there’s a real shift happening now to more human-centered streets for biking and walking. We call it The Big Switch, and it’s very exciting to see Wellington playing its role in this movement.”

Mayor Whanau says Wellington is committed to preparing for the future which includes providing more transport options.

“Having heard from our community on each of our bike network projects, we know there is broad support for this mahi for our city today and the generations to come. We will continue to provide the strong leadership required to make this transition possible and I’m proud to be part of this change.”

Wellington’s bike network is growing quickly.  Safer routes are in use connecting Newtown with the city, the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā with the city, and along Hutt Road and around the waterfront. The city is continuing to develop new routes and connections, with several more projects in construction and going through the planning process.

Wellington City Council City Design Manager Vida Christeller says new bike parking is being put in to complement the street changes. This includes new facilities at the Freyberg and Kilbirnie pools, the new Dixon Street Locky Dock, and much more planned across the city.

“We are using a new transitional approach with adaptable materials so we can install the changes as quickly as possible and make tweaks based on public experience.” 

“This approach has made it possible to safely bike from Newtown to the waterfront on fully separated bike lanes for the first time ever. Even this week in rain, hail and wind, Wellingtonians were out there loving having this safer option to get to and from the city,” says Vida.

Cleve says: “It’s four years since I made the first Big Street Bikers submission to Wellington City Council.  Multi-modal changes in attitudes and practices to commuting are now happening in urban centres around the motu.”

With Christchurch experiencing a remarkable uptake in cycling numbers over the past three years, the successful installation of ten Locky Docks across the city, including at tertiary institutions University of Canterbury and Lincoln University, Big Street Bikers are working with Christchurch City Council on furthering the network in more key locations.

The Locky Dock Network supports councils and the government to invest in cycleways and mode-shift infrastructure to reduce congestion, reduce emissions, improve wellbeing through better transport options, and to bring Aotearoa in line with similar movements in international cities — to make The Big Switch from cars to bikes.

“Congratulations to the City and People of Wellington for their initiative in championing these values, and their active mahi in this space,” adds Cleve.

Big Street Bikers (BSB) is an Aotearoa-owned, climate positive social enterprise who have created and operate the Locky Dock network around New Zealand. With foundation partners Mercury and Waka Kotahi, Locky Docks are world-leading micro mobility infrastructure, which provide secure parking, charging, digital wayfinding, and media for bikes and ebikes as a free public amenity.