Cyclists to 'claim lane' in Manners St

After three days the new Manners St bus route has a qualified tick of approval from cyclists.

Cycle Aware Wellington spokesman Patrick Morgan said prioritising public transport was a good thing for Wellington, on balance.

"However, we are not especially happy about losing access to Manners St."

Manners St between Willis St and Victoria St is bus-only westbound at all times and eastbound between 6am and 7pm on weekdays. Cyclists travelling from the north to Willis or Boulcott Sts must use Dixon St and turn right on to Willis St.

Wellington City Council infrastructure director Stavros Michael suggested cyclists could turn off Victoria St into Bond St and, because the distance was short, use the southbound Willis St bus lane and then turn right at Boulcott St.

Another council spokesman, Richard MacLean, said if that practice emerged, the council would ban left turns out of Bond St into Willis St.

He suggested cyclists dismount and walk across Willis St and up to Boulcott St.

Mr Morgan said bus lanes were widely misunderstood.

"People are very confused about bus-only lanes and bus lanes. Even the police are confused and try to issue tickets where they can't.

"A bicycle stencil on the bus lanes would go a long way to address that."

Even the council was confused, he said.

"It's a sign that the council is not yet looking at the needs of the 2000 to 3000 people who ride bikes in the city."

Now that Willis St was two-way with three lanes, the lane widths were very narrow, Mr Morgan said.

"Our advice to people on bikes is that if the lane is narrow, you have got to claim the lane.

"By claiming the lane you are making yourself more visible."

Mr MacLean said the new bus route through Manners Mall appeared to be working well.

"In terms of the death and destruction that was forecast by a small group of opponents, it has so far not eventuated, but we are monitoring very closely."

After Mr MacLean spoke on Tuesday, a woman was hit by an east-bound bus on Manners St, near Perrett's corner. She was taken to hospital, but was believed not to have been seriously injured.

Anecdotal reports from council staff indicated the buses were running more freely after the changeover on Sunday, said Mr MacLean.

"This was never about slashing minutes off trips. The point was the freeing up of the route, and any removal of traffic is part of an incremental process. The intention is to make the trip across town less ponderous and more reliable."

Motorists entering the Victoria St-Manners St intersection and getting caught by traffic lights were causing some hold-ups, he said.

Council moving-infringement wardens would issue warning infringement notices for a couple of weeks and then begin fining offenders. Some cyclists were continuing to use the former mall, holding up buses and putting themselves at risk.

Mr MacLean said people should be aware traffic flow directions had changed and traffic light sequences were different.

"People should take extra care."


WCC info:


have cyclists been holding buses up from reaching 30km/h?