Wellington wins the global prize for bike network vision and rollout


BICI is a competitive grant programme supporting ten cities worldwide to build safe, connected, and sustainable city cycling infrastructure. The award-winning cities, whittled down from 270 to just ten worldwide, were announced on Friday night.

The award recognises Wellington’s plan to rapidly roll out a city-wide bike network for its innovative approach and essential partnership with Mana Whenua.

Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau is super excited that the city has received global recognition for the way it’s delivering cycling infrastructure.

“This endorsement of our rapid rollout approach highlights the huge potential for better urban design and new ways of addressing urgent local and global climate issues.”

Mayor Whanau says Wellingtonians asked for action on transport, climate, and housing, which saw the Council commit to accelerating and completing the city’s bike network.

A Global Prize for Sustainable Transportation

“While we are doing what most people have asked for, it was vital that we also incorporated a robust way for the public to provide feedback. We have done that, leading to further cycling network improvements.

“The $650,000 prize money will be used, in part, to progress the concept of a nature-based, off-road bike network – an idea developed by community group Trails Wellington. Improved off-road cycle trails alongside Wellington’s on-road bike network presents a massive opportunity for Wellington to become a world-class destination to experience and enjoy by bike.”
Founder of Xero and Trails Wellington patron Rod Drury says: “Wellington attracts talented people from all over the world who love its compact geography, closeness to nature and sense of community. More than ever, we have to design infrastructure that attracts and retains the world’s best.

Global Recognition for Bike Network Vision

“Trails Wellington is delighted to have moved a huge step closer to realising our vision of an off-road nature-based biking network for Wellington. Connecting the on-road bike network to nature-based bike trails will provide for families, commuters, and tourists. This will be special, and I hope every Wellingtonian gets behind the massive opportunities this cycle-led renaissance provides.”
May 2021 has been a massive month for everyday cycling in Wellington and New Zealand. The last few weeks have resulted in a significant turnaround of votes for the Long-Term Plan at Wellington City Council. The most ambitious plan was ultimately voted in, securing $226M to fund a cycling network across Wellington in 10 years!
We are over the super-blood moon about this and are so pleased to all of the people of Wellington who tried to let the Council know how vital this outcome was. We may never know what specific arguments or actions tipped the balance in our favour, but we can be sure that everyone’s contribution was crucial.

Inspiring Communities Worldwide

We are also indebted to the leadership and attentiveness demonstrated by so many of our representatives in the Council. As a city, we can no longer kick the transport can down the road. We all know we must transform the mobility mix to reduce emissions and realise the many other benefits of enabling everyone who can or wants to move about in active, less harmful ways.
The winning entries include everything from traditional bike lanes to innovative walk-to-school programmes. Plans were submitted by hundreds of cities across five continents for a new prize that aims to promote sustainable travel – and it seems the appetite for active transport has truly gone global.
Ten months after cities around the world were offered the chance to bid for up to $1m (£800,000) to build or expand new cycling and walking schemes, the money has been awarded to designs in Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, New Zealand and Albania, among others.

The money was put up by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the philanthropic arm of the media conglomerate set up by Michael Bloomberg, during whose terms as mayor of New York, the city sprouted a rapidly expanding network of cycle lanes.
Bids were assessed with Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI), an urban design NGO founded by Janette Sadik-Khan, New York’s traffic commissioner under Bloomberg.
As well as the money – $1m for the winner and $400,000 apiece for the other nine cities – GDCI will help the cities with things such as design and local engagement.
The top prize was a plan to build more than 110 miles of protected cycle routes in Fortaleza, a city in Brazil’s tropical north-east, focusing on helping children and older people use bikes and promoting cargo bike delivery.

About the author

Olivia Wilson

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