Wellington is in the perfect position to do likewise. There is a growing lobby for Ciclovia to become a regular event. One idea is that the road between Shelley Bay and Scorching Bay is closed to vehicle traffic each Sunday through the summer. Another view is that the route around the peninsula should be one-way only, freeing up the other half of the road to walkers and cyclists.
Ciclovia is a phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. It's a simple concept - close a road to cars and open it to people to experience their city in a whole new way.
In Bogota where it all started, Ciclovia is now a weekly event where the central city roads are closed to motorists and more than two million people take to the streets. It is so popular that no traffic management is needed.
Many other cities around the world also hold a regular Ciclovia. And several of these places have gone the next step and made the road closures more permanent by limiting the centres of cities to all but essential traffic.
The Wellington City Council should feel encouraged by the success of the growing popularity of Ciclovia to offer leadership by coming up with a more permanent solution, particularly with the redevelopment of Shelly Bay now being more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if’, and creating an increase in traffic.
Now is also the time to look at closing not only part of Miramar Peninsula to motorists on a more regular basis, but other parts of our city as well. Cuba Street and one side of Lambton Quay could easily be turned into people-friendly streets. It fits with the Council’s broader strategic plan to encourage Wellingtonians to leave the car at home and experience our city in new, healthy and different ways. The popularity of Ciclovia shows that people would be right behind it.
Wellington's hot summer weather came to the party and apart from a sea breeze in the morning, it was a perfect day to be out and about. Scorching Bay looked like a Mediterranean island overrun by cyclists, with lots of people swimming.
Kids loved being able to try out cycling without having cars around. "This is the longest bike ride in my long life!" called out a 4 year old. And a lot of adults tried cycling for the first time in a long time as well; feeling safe without motorists around.
For many people it was also a nice time to check out the all the different things that the Peninsula has to offer. Not just the cafes and galleries, but also the hidden tracks and treasures along the hill and the wonderful rock pools. A rest stop with buckets full of star fish and other small sea life on display, was a popular spot.
The fun video put together by SkyZone of the first Ciclovia event in 2014.
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