News | 9 June 2020
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Proposed temporary traffic changes pulled after alert level lowered

A paper proposing temporary bike lanes and other street changes to encourage social distancing around Wellington has been withdrawn from Wellington City Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee agenda today.

The proposals were designed to provide people in Wellington safer transport choices to move around the city during the COVID-19 response. They aligned well with city and regional goals – including the plan to move more people with fewer vehicles, make healthy transport choices an option for more people, and reduce emissions that cause climate change.

The Council has also called a halt to proposed temporary changes on Featherston, Hunter and Victoria streets.

Mayor Andy Foster says the withdrawal follows the country’s move to pandemic alert level 1 overnight, which has removed the need for social distancing to avoid the spread of Covid-19, and should see capacity on public transport return to normal. The paper was scheduled to be discussed at the SPC meeting this Thursday 11 June.

“With the Government announcement that New Zealand is now at level 1, the basis on which the applications were submitted was no longer relevant. While disappointing, we have to acknowledge these are fluid times which means our decision making needs to be agile,” said Mayor Foster.

“While it is disappointing to not proceed with these projects under the Covid-19 response package, some of the proposed changes can still be progressed under either Let’s Get Wellington Moving, or through our cycleways programme,” added Deputy Mayor Sarah Free.

“All proposals received more than 50% community support, and extra time will allow us to work with communities to consider how at least some of these proposals can best be progressed.

“We are working at pace on improvements for walking, cycling and public transport within the central city as well as safer speed limits which will be considered on Thursday,” concluded Mayor Foster.

The Council proposed the bike lanes and other street changes after urging from some people and groups in the community and support from a number of councillors during lockdown.

The proposed projects were:

• a footpath extension in Stout Street (east/MBIE side) from Bunny Street to Lambton Quay to provide more space for people heading to and from the Railway Station

• a 1.2km uphill bike lane on Brooklyn Road between Willis Street and Ohiro Road

• a 3km shared path on the Miramar Peninsula between Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay (one-way only for traffic (Shelly Bay to Scorching Bay) with the lane next to the sea for use by people on foot and bikes)

• bike lanes on both sides of Onepu Road between Leonie Gill Pathway and Rongotai Road

• a 1.6km two-way bike lane on the seaward side of Evans Bay Parade between Greta Point and Cobham Drive.