Senior Wellington journalist Georgina Campbell's fortnightly column looks closely at issues in the capital.
Wellington City Council plans to increase the capital's cycleway network from 23km to 147km, despite its social licence to build this infrastructure remaining severely compromised.
The draft bike network that councillors approved to put out for public consultation last week is the biggest slap in the face that Island Bay residents have endured to date.
That's because the Island Bay cycleway still languishes in its botched state following court action, safety concerns and budget blowouts.
A Waka Kotahi NZTA-ordered review after it opened in 2016 found poor public perception was spilling into other projects and eroding the council's licence to operate.
That was five years ago and it still hasn't been sorted out.
The council does not have a social licence to build cycleways for as long as the failed one in Island Bay remains as it is.
However, the council can also not afford to wait any longer on implementing the connected cycling network the city needs.
So much so that consultation on the plan to radically change the network as we know it today is less about whether it should happen, but how it should happen.
In other words, the cycleways are coming whether you like it or not.
The plan is being presented as a city-wide initiative and this is quite deliberate.
It's hoped this will make it less about something being done to one neighbourhood on a particular street and more about an overall change that is happening for everyone in the city.
Communities will still get to have their say but rather than ending up in a state of paralysis at the concept and design phase on paper, this will be nutted out through real-time changes.
Council officials have been instructed to rollout as much of the 147km network as they can in the next three years. This is only possible because tactical urbanism is being used to do it.
It's founded on the principle of implementing temporary trial interventions to test living, breathing versions of designs in real-time.
So the cycleways the council rolls out will have a pop-up feel to them. Cyclists will be allocated space on the road through the likes of paint and plastic hit sticks.
These cycleways will get off the ground quickly through temporary traffic management plans. The traffic resolutions and grade-separation, like on the Cobham Drive walking and biking path, will come later.
The council is also relying on consultation that has already been happening for several years to back up the new cycleway network.
Consultation on projects like making the city a zero-carbon capital by 2050, the spatial plan, Let's Get Wellington Moving, and the region's target of a 40 per cent increase in public and active transport mode share by 2030.
Between them, there is a strong case for more cycleways.
The council is the organisation responsible for providing the infrastructure to make it easier to choose the more climate-friendly option of active and public transport, so it needs to start walking the talk.
But there's no escaping the elephant in the room - the Island Bay cycleway. Its ghost is haunting this strong cycleway mandate.
The Island Bay cycleway initially cost less than $2 million to build and was unsuccessfully pitched as a whopping $14m shovel-ready project last year to fix.
A solution to remediate the cycleway was agreed to four years ago, yet nothing has been done to date amid several cost blowouts.
The Island Bay cycleway is currently set between the footpath and parked cars with the road on the other side. It is just 1.7km long but left the south coast suburb at war and councillors at each other's throats.
It's marked on the 147km plan as an existing cycleway that needs improvement.
Earlier this year, 10 possible options, both short term and long term, were presented to councillors to fix it.
A paper will be coming before councillors either at the end of October or early November with final design options and costings to get spades in the ground.
It is essential the mess at Island Bay gets sorted out sooner rather than later so the council can move on as it embarks on building cycleways at scale.
The council needs to be prepared to make more mistakes in the trial phases of the 147km network. The key is to correct them quickly.
We cannot have another festering sore like Island Bay.
This isn't about forcing cycleways into communities, but it's not about giving people the opportunity to opt out of having them either.
The council can strike the right balance if it is agile and decisive enough to make changes and work with people in real-time.