Pūroro Āmua, the Planning and Environment Committee, will on 23 September consider a draft Bike Network Plan proposing a connected, 147km network of safer bike routes to be built across the city within 10 years, giving effect to the cycleways investment committed to in the 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan.
The committee will also decide whether to give the green light to making safer connections as quickly as possible between Newtown and the city via Adelaide Road and Kent and Cambridge Terraces, and from the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā to the central city via Bowen Street. These interim changes would be in advance of permanent upgrades delivered through the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme.
Mayor Andy Foster says the plan seeks to increase options for people to do more trips around Wellington by bus, bike, or scooter.
“This updated bike network plan identifies routes that would make it easier for children to ride to school, people to get to work on time, and be safe for older and less confident riders. These routes take people directly to shops, schools, and through major suburbs.
“This is a good move from a transport perspective but also from an economic one as it will be easier for people to shop and do business,” says Mayor Foster.
Following decisions by Councillors in May to boost funding and make more rapid progress, Council staff have identified two sections of the network that could be put in place quickly and then modified in a similar way to the safer new bike route up Brooklyn Hill.
Pūroro Āmua Chair Councillor Iona Pannett says the sections from Newtown and Paekākā into the city are key parts of the network from the south and west, and so great places to be making some progress quickly.
“Everyone has the right to be safe on our roads and footpaths. This plan is an important step to making that happen,” says Cr Pannett.
Deputy Chair Councillor Tamatha Paul agrees and says the climate and ecological emergency means we have no time to waste.
“By using adaptable materials that can be tweaked on the streets, people can see, experience and provide feedback, and we can improve the design before permanent changes are locked in. It’s a great way to make sure we end up with transitional improvements that really work for people in these areas.”
Accelerating the installation of safer biking facilities between Newtown and the city would fit with the travel plans of Wellington Hospital, which employs more than 5000 staff. By giving employees more travel options, pressure can be reduced on busy Newtown streets.
Capital Coast District Health Board Chief Financial Officer Rosalie Percival says the hospital is delighted to hear safer biking facilities between Newtown and the city may be prioritised and could be in place quickly.
“For our staff, and people who live in this area who ride or would like to, the sooner we can get a safer route the better. Walking and biking offer great health and wellbeing benefits and changes like this are a great way to make Wellington an even more appealing place to live.”
If approved, changes to these sections will be made and modified over six to 12 months. They will also include some changes to improve pedestrian safety and bus reliability.
If the committee agrees, the Bike Network Plan will go out for public consultation in late October/early November alongside other major city-shaping plans including the draft District Plan and Let’s Get Wellington Moving projects.
The new Bike Network Plan was requested by Councillors following their decision to invest $226 million in the 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan to develop a connected bike network. The plan builds on the 2015 Cycleways Masterplan with greater detail showing the streets to be included in the network, and how the network will be delivered.