Hutt Road is one of the most popular cycling routes in Wellington, with cycling demand growing year on year. The path is now carrying twice as many people on bikes as 10 years ago.
The Hutt Road cycleway is a crucial link in the wider cycle network, providing connections to the Hutt Valley. It has a poor safety track record with 26 reported crashes involving a person riding a bike from 2009–2013.
Therefore it is one of the highest priorities for improvement in Wellington, with the improved cycle network forming a key part of Wellington’s transport system and making the Capital a more sustainable and attractive place to live.
In response to feedback received during the public consultation and from the NZ Transport Agency, Council officers are recommending that most of the work goes ahead as planned. However the relocation of parking spaces onto Hutt Road and the T2 transit lane proposals would be potentially implemented at a later date, to allow further investigation.
The Chair of the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, Councillor Andy Foster, says Councillors will decide whether to delay the change to car parking until there is more detailed information on parking demand and alternative options for commuter parking in the area.
“This would give us the opportunity to address concerns being raised about parking along Hutt Road by businesses and others but would mean that the proposed two-way cycleway would continue to be a shared path for the meantime, which is less than ideal although it will be much improved from what it is now.
“The NZ Transport Agency’s technical review of the Hutt Road cycleway scheme agrees there is a clear and increasing need to upgrade the cycleway now and the chosen proposal is the best of a number of constrained options.”
Cr Foster says the Transport Agency review also supports the staged approach and that there are residual risks around commercial driveways but these can be mitigated by careful design and warning devices. They recommend further investigation of parking demand and alternative opportunities for parking in the area.
“The shared path will be greatly improved with new surfacing, removing the light poles and other infrastructure as planned but sorting out the parking will take precedence over installing the proposed segregated 2 metre pedestrian path for now.”
Cr Foster says the Council has received a lot of feedback about parking. “Officers will take another look at the demand along Hutt Road to distinguish people who need to park near their place of work from commuters who park and continue on into the city on foot, by bike or public transport.
“We’ll also investigate alternative off-road locations and other options such as purchasing property in the area for dedicated parking. We would hope to have this information before construction on the shared path is completed so it can come back to Councillors by the end of the year.
Cr Foster says the traffic lanes will remain as they are until the parking is relocated from the shared path.
“The T2 lanes will be subject to improved capacity on the southbound motorway and could be some years away.”
Ongoing upgrades to the path, including widening it to allow for dedicated pedestrian space will be needed in the future to cater for increased demand – particularly once the new Petone to Ngauranga cycleway is completed by the Transport Agency in around 2019.
Also recommended is to delay work on the section of shared path between the Caltex Fuel Stop and Ngauranga until the Petone to Ngauranga cycleway is completed or there is a further surge in demand.
If Councillors agree with the staged approach, early construction could begin within months.
Wellington City Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee will consider the recommendations at its next meeting on Thursday 19 May.