Thorndon Quay and Cycling in Wellington - message from Andy Foster

Thorndon Quay and Cycling in Wellington - message from Andy Foster


Andy Foster sums up progress on cycling in Wellington:

Thank you very much for your recent submission on Council's proposal to make a morning peak clearway along Thorndon Quay. I was very pleased that councillors unanimously supported the proposal, and it was confirmed at Full Council on April 28th. That is a real credit to you as submitters. As you will probably already have seen the clearway was in action from earlier this week, though there is still some physical work such as a new pedestrian crossing at Bordeaux to go in.

While there was some concern/opposition from local residents and businesses the vast majority of submissions received strongly supported the proposal. I think that some small changes that were made by our officer, Paul Barker, largely addressed any of these concerns about loss of parking for business servicing in particular.

What was very clear is that most people spoke from direct experience of the dangers you, or your friends and colleagues have experienced cycling aling Thorndon Quay. The morning peak on Thorndon Quay was  certainly a very high risk period for cyclists.

The number of commuter cyclists into the city has grown dramatically in the last decade. Cordon counts show up to 400% growth. Recreational cycling is also growing very strongly with groups like the Tar Babies. Of course Wellington's a fantastic place for mountain biking too. This is fantastic from an environmental and health perspective. What it does mean is Council, and other agencies like the NZ Transport Agency need to do more to make cycling safer.

I thought you might like to know what is happening at the moment.

I was very pleased to be able to steer the City's first ever Cycling and Walking Policies through Council in November 2008. I was able to pick up a lot of supportive ideas from submissions and significantly improve both Policies, so thank you again if you made submissions on those policies.

A lot of work has flowed from these policies.

Thorndon Quay you know about.

In June last year I succeeded in getting our budget for cycle infrastructure increased from $70,000 to $225,000 a year. Paul Barker is working with Cycle Aware Wellington on priority actions.
Actions planned include replacing drainage grates at key locations (as cyclists we want grates that run across our line of travel so wheels don't get stuck, but drainage isn't as good so it's not as simple as just replacing one grate with another), new bike stands, stop boxes at lights etc.

We've also been working hard to get NZTA support for what I call our Strategic Cycle Network. Last June I also succeeded in getting $250,000 this year and $500,000 in each following year for 10 years for our Strategic Cycle Network. (previously no budget at all) This includes the exciting visionary Great Harbour Way from Pencarrow via Petone to the City and round the bays to Owhiro Bay. This is something Wellington and Hutt Councils are likely to have to pick off bit by bit. The big goal are the sections between Petone and Ngauranga (NZTA's job) and Ngauranga and the City. This is all wrapped up in wider transport planning discussions.
The Strategic Network also includes the route north from Johnsonville through Middleton Road to Tawa, and the Tawa - Porirua Stream area.
We now have NZTA support for the Tawa - Porirua Stream network. The plan is to tie it in to the Porirua City streamside route all the way to Takapu Station, and to improve links across Tawa too.
It will take several years to deliver at around $4 million, but will really tie Tawa together for walking and cycling, and increase the attractiveness for both modes for recreational and commuting purposes including journeys to schools.

Next Bike - we have been in ongoing discussions with Next Bike to establish a bike hire system as recently set up in Auckland. The concept would be to place bikes at key points around the central city, the pick up would be through cellphone and credit card, and they can be dropped anywhere around the CBD at marked racks. Whether that will or won't happen, and when, will be a commercial decision for Next Bike.

Hutt Road - the existing footpath cycleway is dangerous because of vehicle movement across it. This is another key danger area for cyclists. As part of Government's State Highway plans the capacity of the motorway from Ngauranga to Aotea may be increased. If this happens we have some opportunities on Hutt Road to provide better for cycling. Other more limited opportunities include improving signage for vehicle drivers entering and exiting driveways, and improving visibility at danger points such as Spotlight.

Round the Bays - we are about to consult on reducing the speed limit around Oriental Bay to 40kph.
Paul Barker is also looking at the current gap in the cycleway at Baleana Bay. That would require a traffic resolution like Thorndon Quay, and again I would encourage submissions.

The Botanic Gardens - If you haven't used the new green route up from the Met Office to the top of the Cable Car it's a good safe route, ideal uphill to Kelburn and Karori. Do be courteous to pedestrians though. It's a trial and we want it to work !

We are also about to notify a traffic resolution to allow uphill cycling on the Birdwood Street (Karori) footpath. This is a 2ndry main road into Karori. The reason for the suggestion is that it's a steep hill so uphill cyclists will move slowly, there are few pedestrians using the footpath, and importantly visibility on the road is very poor because of high banks and a twisting road - so often motorists will not see cyclists hidden behind banks until very late. Again courtesy for pedestrians will be important.

Another development to look out for will be Adelaide Road. In this year's Annual Plan we sort of consulted on a plan B for Adelaide Road, not involving widening the carriageway and purchasing frontages of adjacent properties. The reason is that NZTA advised they would not help fund the property purchases, and that made it unafffordable. What is important then is how to allocate the road space. The basic concept is to have a tree lined boulevard with a bus/cycle and traffic lane on either side. The contest will as so often be between parking space on street, and wider bus/cycle lanes. My view would strongly be that the first purpose of roads is for travel and that safety is the priority. Because Council will not be purchasing road frontages existing off street parking for businesses will remain. Again in due course submissions will be sought. Keep an eye out for that too.

I'm happy at any stage to get suggestions and ideas. Please do keep engaged in these processes. It's been said that Wellington hasn't done a lot for cycling. We are I think now trying, and I hope that the political commitment is there to keep that progress going.

Thank you again for making a submission - whatever you said.

Warmest regards

Cr Andy Foster
Chair Strategy and Policy
Urban Development Leader and Associate Transport Leader (Walking and Cycling)

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Some more signage is going in, and pay and display machines will be reset to say no parking during the clearway period.

Six angle parks outside Bedpost will be converted to 3 permanent 5 minute parallel parks (there is a childcare centre in the building which didn't make a  submission)

The pedestrian crossing will be constructed shortly (outside Bordeaux)

There will also be green panelling on the roadway where there are drvieways, and also along Hutt Road pavement where there are driveways. This has to wait until the weather is warm enough for the paint (10 degrees C at night minimum) so that won't be until spring.

Hello :-)

Has anyone else noticed the realignment of the road markings (northwards) for the new pedestrian crossing puts the 'cycle lane' directly in line with the angle parks next to the crossing?  

If you are riding to the left of the lane marker you ride on the nice new green patch by the crossing and then you have a choice. Ride into the rear wing of any largeish car or van parked in the first space, or pull out into the traffic lane.

Yesterday a large Holden was parked in the first park after the crossing. The car was neatly parked (close in to the kerb) but the back end still reached to within a few centimetres of the traffic lane.

Motorists will probably be annoyed if they see a cyclist that chooses to ride in the traffic lane and not where the green patch has been provided - but this is the only way to avoid swerving into the traffic lane at the same time as motorists have to follow the new alignment.

Am I missing something?

James, suggest you call WCC 499 4444 and ask thme to log this issue. Or email

In the meantime, I advise you to ignore the markings (cycle lanes are not compulsory) and ride where you need to be to stay safe. Never in the door zone, never right behind angle-parked vehicles.

I'm meeting Cr Foster tomorrow to review the Manners / Victoria / Wakefield / Cuba St changes - including those dangerous angle parks.

Thanks Patrick - I will do.

I took some photos to show what I mean. None of the angle-parked vehicles are badly parked, yet they make it impossible to cycle in the area partially designated as a bike lane.

Thorndon Quay - parking spaces block a 'bike path'

Thorndon Quay - parking spaces block a bike path

Thorndon Quay - parking spaces block a bike path


Good pics James. Mentioned this to Cr Foster this afternoon, will follow up. Patrick

TIME To demand our legal entitlement to the road, Cyclists need to have their presence permanently recorded on the road. A widely space dot down the middle of each lane on all roads would gave clear indication of where a bycycle is entitled to be and the space it is LEAGALLY ALLOWED to have, therefore motor vehicle must slow down and pass when a space is available like any other legal entity on the road.