Wellington Cycling: What do we want?

Want better cycling in Wellington?
Do you love to ride but don't want to mix with busy traffic? Want more bike lanes?

Thanks to everyone who turned out at the WCC Cycling Forum on 1 May.
Last week we got news that Wellington had slipped form third worst to absolute worst for cycling crashes in NZ. What a disgrace. Clearly we need to lift our game, and the current spending of $1.3 million is failing to deliver safer cycling.
Please take 5-10 minutes to make a formal submission to WCC by Thursday 16 May. It's an effective way to let our Councillors know what you want.
It can be as simple as a few lines setting out:
- your name and address
- why you are making a submission
- what you want. One page is long enough.
CAW has put together some ideas here.
You can make an online submission at http://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/public-input/public-inputs/consu...
or email your submission to: annual.plan@wcc.govt.nz
If you can make a submission in person (21-23 May) that really helps.

Here's CAW's wish list

Summary: Cycling is the 'best buy' transport solution for Wellington

We support WCC's recognition that cycling is a key part of the transport network. It is a solution to many of the transport challenges the city faces.

Current investment in cycling:
- does not match public demand,
- is not sufficient to improve the level of service, and
- fails to meet the council's cycle safety goals.
We are still playing catch-up after decades of under-investment.

  • Improved cycle facilities are urgently needed on the Ngauranga-CBD and the Island Bay to CBD routes (including Adelaide Rd), Jervois Quay, Karori to the CBD and the Hutt Rd shared path.

  • Prioritising road space for cyclists over on-street parking on key arterial routes is a low-cost way to improve cycle safety.

  • Lower speeds are a low-cost way to improve the safety of all road users, especially cyclists.

  • Where bus lanes are used as a solution for cyclists, make them wide enough for both users to mix (e.g. Cambridge Tce) and sign them on the road as 'bus and bike lanes' to improve safety.

  • A dedicated bicycle coordinator position at WCC would help the council gain traction in this area, progress projects, find low-cost wins by collaborating with other areas of council, and liaise with the community.

An eleven-point plan to make Wellington a city fit for cycling

We have built an eleven-point plan to help the council build our transport network. These are realistic actions that WCC should lead on. They are not ranked - we think all are important.

1 Improve the Hutt Rd shared path and link it with the Aotea Quay tourist walk/cycleway
The existing shared path along the Hutt Road is dangerous and unappealing. It is shared between cyclists, walkers and vehicles parking and pulling into and out of businesses.

Two particularly dangerous points are the section with a busy bus stop near the bottom of Ngaio Gorge and the section where a creche has parking on the bike path - busy with hurrying parents at exactly the peak cycling time.

This could become a safer, more attractive option for cyclists with improvements such as peak time parking restrictions re-siting of poles and extra judder bars at business entrances (as already installed at Spotlight). In the longer term, a seaward path built as part of the Great Harbour Way would eliminate, rather than minimise, these hazards.

The new path along Aotea Quay is an attractive, safe facility for pedestrians. Working with CentrePort to link the path to the Hutt Rd and allowing cyclists to use it as a shared path to get to the waterfront would create a very attractive connection to the CBD.

2 Fix Jervois Quay to make a safe fast cycleway complementing the waterfront shared path
The current cycle route near Jervois Quay is the shared path along the waterfront. But there is a lot of pressure for commuter cyclists not to use it because they want to ride more quickly. Jervois Quay is not a safe or attractive route for bikes.

Providing comfortable and convenient facilities on Jervois Quay, especially in the north-bound direction, is a high priority project for commuter cyclists. It would also be a highly visible commitment, encouraging commuters to swap from cars to bikes. It would be welcomed by pedestrians and slower cyclists on the waterfront.

3 Build the Southern 'Bikepass' (Island Bay to CBD)
This heavily-used route has some of Wellington's worst conditions for cyclists, with virtually no facilities provided. It is encouraging to see the Southern cycleway in the plans for the future, but the need for an improved level of service on this route is immediate. Bring this showcase cycleway project forward, and ratepayers and tourists will reward you with praise.

4 Prioritise safe and efficient movement of traffic over parking on key cycling routes.
In some places, realigning road space could allow for both separate and safe cycle facilities in addition to car parking (e.g. Adelaide Rd). However, other areas on key arterial roads (such as along Broadway in Strathmore) don't have space. Bike lanes here would require reduction in on-street parking.

We acknowledge that reducing on-street parking is viewed negatively in the short-term by some residents. But we strongly believe the benefits to the community of continuous, safe, and attractive cycle routes into the CBD outweigh the costs of these parking reductions, especially where garages and off-street driveways are common.

Research from Australia and the United States also indicates that cycle lanes have a positive effect on house prices and businesses.

Let's clarify parking policy, in order to make room for cycling. WCC reduced parking along the Golden Mile in order to make footpaths wider. Under what conditions will WCC reduce on street parking to make room for cycling?

Proposed cycling routes often don't get off the drawing board if they require road space occupied by parked vehicles. We need a clear policy that prioritises safety over parking convenience.

5 Lower the speed limit in urban and residential areas
Communities love them, pedestrians and cyclists love them, parents love them, local businesses love them, residents love them, and pets love them. In urban areas, lower speed limits make little difference to travel times. Lower speed limits are a cheap win-win.

6 Increase permeability for cyclists, especially in the CBD
Convenient travel for cycle traffic needs a permeable street network - with minimum diversion for cycle journeys, allowing direct and uncomplicated travel.

This can be achieved by using filter lanes to advance stop boxes, giving bikes an advanced green light to get them safely through intersections, using slip lanes to bypass intersections, and creating safe shortcuts. For example, we recommend opening up Bunny St between Featherston St and Molesworth St for bikes and installing a right hand turn into Bunny St from Featherston St.

7 Make Wellington's first bike corral
Get a promotional benefit from replacing one or two on-street car parks with a bike park that fits 10-20 bikes. Start with upper Cuba St and near the central library. A sculptural or creatively-designed bike corral would be an eye-catching and functional piece of street furniture.

8 Where bus lanes are used as cycle lanes, design them appropriately
The current policy of using bus lanes as cycle lanes can be effective in a limited number of places - but it should be a backup option where no other solutions are possible.

While bus lanes work well for buses, many people riding bikes find sharing a lane with large vehicles does not provide a safe or comfortable cycling experience.

This is especially true when the bus lane width does not allow for safe passing, does not indicate it's a shared bike lane and parked cars present an additional hazard.

Bus lanes should be signed 'Bus and bike lanes' to increase safety and awareness of both users and car parking should not be allowed inside them, to improve both bus and cycle flows of traffic.

9 Run a Sharrow trial
Wellington has some narrow streets where cycle lanes are not a feasible solution. Narrow streets with on-street parking present a particular hazard to cyclists, with a large number of injuries in Wellington caused by opening car doors.

A sharrow is a road marking used overseas to indicate lanes that are shared by both cars and bicycles. They signal places where it is safer for the cyclist to take the lane, and help to raise driver awareness.

10 Run a promotional walking and cycling event
Riding a bike is a joyful thing to do. Providing the community with fun and comfortable opportunities to do it is an effective way to promote the mode, and improve road user awareness.

Opening the Miramar to Scorching Bay route to allow unimpeded cycling and walking once a month during summer would be something for everyone to enjoy. Example: San Francisco's Sunday Streets events.

11 Appoint a bicycle coordinator
In order to facilitate these changes, and to assure ratepayers that all their transportation choices will be represented in council planning processes, we suggest WCC appoint a dedicated bicycle coordinator. It would help progress projects, find low-cost wins by collaborating with other areas of council and liaise with the community.

With someone taking leadership and ownership of the cycling file, progress would be made much quicker. Roger Geller (bicycle coordintor for Portland, Oregon) recently visited New Zealand. His success is evidence of how beneficial it can be for a city to create this position.


In more detail


Thorndon Quay and Hutt Rd

  1. reduce the angle of car parking on Thorndon Quay, as on Lyall Bay Parade, to make more space for cycling. Reversing out of parks will be safer for all vehicles.

  2. build a cycle way heading north


  1. Evans Bay Parade, Oriental Parade: widen bike lane to at least 1.5 m

  2. Move cycle lane away from door zone

  3. Make the uphill footpath on Wellington Rd a shared facility, like Birdwood St


  1. Build a cycle way from Karori Park along Fernlea, Ranelagh, Darwin, Parnell, Friend and Homewood Ave

  2. Apply sharrows at the tunnels

  3. Make the uphill footpath on Raroa Rd a shared facility

  4. Make the uphill footpath on Glenmore St a shared facility (or Bot Gardens)

  5. Make Whitmore St heading south a clearway in the morning peak, and an evening clearway heading north.


  1. Build an Island Bay - CBD cycling route. Preferred route is The Parade - Adelaide Rd - Rintoul St - Riddiford St - Adelaide Rd - Kent and Cambridge Tce

  2. Fix the Adelaide Rd - Basin Reserve intersection by adding access to the traffic island

  3. Make the uphill footpath on Russell Tce a shared facility

  4. Make the uphill footpath on Rintoul St a shared facility


  1. Reduce the angle of car parking on Wakefield St to make more space for cycling. Or reduce speed limit to 30kph and put in sharrows.

  2. build a cycle way heading north on Jervois Quay

  3. join Tory St to the Waterfront

  4. join Cambridge Tce to the Waterfront, round east side of New World

  5. make alleyways shared facilities e.g. Opera House Lane

  6. make Willis St a clearway

  7. make Victoria St a clearway

  8. Develop shared paths or cycle paths to allow contra-flow cycling on key one-way sections of road (e.g. Lower Cuba, Dixon between Victoria and Willis, Mercer St, Bunny St outside Rutherford House, etc).