News | 11 December 2018

New Oriental Bay paths open for use

New bike and foot paths designed to provide more space for people in busy Oriental Bay were today blessed by Taranaki whānui, and officially opened by Minister of Transport Phil Twyford and Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter.

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford and Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter at official opening ceremony of Oriental Bay path

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, who spoke at the blessing and ribbon cutting, says it is great to see people already making use of the wider new paths, which have been developed by the Council in partnership with the Government and NZ Transport Agency.

“We’re committed to working with the Government and the community to make Wellington a city where it is safer and easier for more people to make more trips by bike and on foot. This project is one of many under way or being planned to make that possible.

“The final design was the result of a lengthy and thorough community engagement process, and we think fairly balances the diverse needs of the thousands of people who have an interest in this popular and very important part of the city,” he says.

The project involved widening the narrow section of shared path between Freyberg Pool and Herd Street and laying a new asphalt bike path and concrete footpath between the pohutukawa trees and the angle-parking.

Work on the 350m section of path started in mid-September, and despite the wet spring, has been completed ahead of the busy summer season as planned.

Bike and pedestrian symbols are in, and sections of green and red surfacing will be added to the bike path in the new year once the asphalt has had time to cure.

The changes have freed up more space for pedestrians on the original section of path adjacent to the seawall, which up till now has been a very busy shared path.

The electronic counter on the shared path showed a total of 23,159 bike trips during November, an average of 809 a day Monday to Friday, and 670 a day over the weekend.

It recorded 94,440 pedestrians – a weekday average of 2948, and an average daily count of 3697 on weekends.

Cr Sarah Free, the Council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking and Cycling, says it is fantastic to have the new paths in place, and to also see work under way in several locations in Kilbirnie to improve the biking connection from the east.

“Widening this pinch-point and providing more space for people has improved this very popular destination for everyone,” she says. “It has also helped to improve a key section of the scenic and commuter bike route around the harbour.

“I’m looking forward to seeing many more projects like this completed in the next few years as we gradually work to develop a connected citywide bike network. These are transformational projects for our city and I thank the government for their support.”

Cr Free encouraged people riding, and people walking and running, to stick to their respective paths as much as possible. She also urged people to continue to watch out for each other.

“All new lay-outs take time to get used to. Hopefully everyone will be patient and respectful, and continue to move through this area with care.”