Wellington City Council doesn't have a social licence to build cycleways for as long as the failed one in Island Bay remains as it is.
The decision to use parked vehicles to physically separate people on bikes from moving traffic left the south coast suburb at war and councillors at each other's throats.
It was so bad that NZTA ordered a review, which found the poor public perception of the Island Bay cycleway was spilling into other projects and eroding Wellington City Council's (WCC) licence to operate.
There's a worrying sense this sorry state of affairs is at risk of getting lost amid massive incoming infrastructure projects in the capital.
But until the 1.7km mess in Island Bay is sorted out, WCC does not have the public's full confidence that it will behave transparently and responsibly in delivering transport plans.
My sister used to live in Island Bay and I have vivid memories of clutching the steering wheel in terror on rainy nights, unsure of where the road markings started and ended.
WCC has since remediated those ghost markings. On the other hand, actually getting the cycleway properly fixed has turned into a much more complicated wrangle.
A 2016 NZTA-ordered review into the council's delivery of the Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP) found a public perception of projects being ad hoc and disconnected from a bigger vision.
It said there was an impression the cycleway in Island Bay was a poor solution and delivered without proper community engagement and consultation.
The UCP is a three-year programme, launched by the previous National Government, to make cycling safer and more accessible. NZTA's job is to manage it.
The Island Bay cycleway wasn't actually eligible for funding under this programme because, according to an NZTA officer, it didn't connect to anywhere else.
NZTA wasn't willing to fund what's now infamously known as the cycleway to nowhere, so WCC went ahead and did it with ratepayer money anyway.
But its shambolic delivery was impacting public confidence in WCC projects that were a part of the UCP. This was a red flag for NZTA.
The Transport Agency had an interest in more closely supporting the council going forward in best-practice consultation and design to ensure Wellington developed a world class integrated transport network.
Just over a year later WCC was approving the "mayor's compromise"- a solution totalling about $6 million to build a dedicated cycleway between the footpath and the kerb at the same height, meaning cars could park against it.
At this point the council was still cleaning up its own mess with ratepayer money.
Later it became clear the cost was actually going to be at least double what was originally estimated due to additional drainage work and changing market conditions.
There was also the new prospect of NZTA money on the table, which would ease the financial burden on council, but it came with a catch.
NZTA stuck to its guns and said it wouldn't consider funding a share of the Island Bay cycleway until after a cycling route was built to connect it with the CBD.
It then changed its position in August this year saying it would now consider funding after the CBD route through Newtown had been decided, rather than constructed.
The turn of events was mainly due to concerns over the council's social licence to build cycleways, which is the same concern raised when NZTA first ordered the 2016 review.
A recent Official Information Act query revealed there was practically no written correspondence from the beginning of this year to mid-October between NZTA and WCC on the future of the cycleway.
In fact, there was just one email exchange and a reference to one meeting between officials from each organisation.
Furthermore, the council didn't even have a funding request or business case progressed with NZTA for the work.
The apparent lack of urgency around building back the trust of the Island Bay community is concerning.
WCC made headway when it re-engaged on options to fix the original design.
But a review found the Kaikōura Earthquake's disruption of that process was enough to bring a distrust of council back to the surface.
Four years later that level of distrust must have escalated through the roof with still not a single spade in the ground.
To be fair, the new cycleways recently built on Cobham Drive and at Evans Bay connecting Wellington's eastern suburbs to the city are, I think, genuinely something to be proud of.
But it must feel like a slap in the face for Island Bay residents, who wake up every morning and are reminded of a city council that failed them.