News | 12 May 2023
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More sustainable transport options through Thorndon and Kilbirnie

Further bus, bike and pedestrian improvements are on their way for Wellington, with street changes in and around Thorndon and Kilbirnie approved.  

Two students on bikes outside school area

Wellington City Council’s Koata Hātepe Regulatory Processes Committee gave the go ahead for two projects which include new raised pedestrian crossings and a further 5 kilometres of safer bike routes, giving Wellingtonians more sustainable transport options to help reduce carbon emissions.


Together, Thorndon and Kilbirnie have over 10 schools, so these changes will make it easier for more than 5000 young people to get to school independently. 


These are also areas where we are seeing an increase in development so enabling more transport choices now can prevent already busy streets grinding to a halt in the future. Today’s decision determines the interim biking improvements that will be made in the two suburbs, as well as bus changes and more permanent improvements for pedestrians. 


Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau says reallocating street space to provide low carbon transport options is crucial to support growing neighbourhoods and create healthy, liveable streets for our tamariki and rangitahi.  


“It’s not easy making big changes like this but developing a full bike network and taking climate action were commitments I made during the mayoral electoral campaign. I intend to meet those commitments.”


Mayor Whanau says the public provided great insights during the planning phase on what it is like using these streets, and the suggestions they made during consultation helped shape the revised designs approved today.


“Specifically acknowledging concerns in Thorndon, I successfully moved an amendment that will see Council officers report back six months after these changes are complete on the benefits and impacts of the new bike lanes, including on traffic and businesses.


“I have also committed to meeting with Foodstuffs, should they wish to do so, to help broker ways to improve safety and accessibility to New World Supermarket’s entrances in the area.”


The Thorndon Connections project includes changes on Tinakori Road and Hill Street, and Molesworth, Murphy, and Mulgrave streets – connecting through to the recent improvements made between Botanic Garden ki Paekākā and the city, and Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s planned work on Thorndon Quay and the Golden Mile. 


As well as improvements for buses and pedestrians, the Kilbirnie connections project fills gaps in the existing bike network – complementing and better connecting the bike paths and lanes that are already in place. 


Across both suburbs, there will be:

  • new separated bike lanes
  • a new shared path near Ākau Tangi Sports Centre connecting to the Cobham Drive crossing
  • new raised pedestrian crossings
  • new car share spaces
  • new mobility car parks
  • safer speed zones
  • better bus stop spacing to improve bus travel times
  • new turning restrictions at some side streets 
  • removal of some on-street parking. 

Work to install these changes is expected to begin later this year. Safer speed zones would also come into force when design changes are installed extending the Tinakori Road village safe speed zone and reducing speed on Hill Street, Lyall Parade, Tacy Street, and Kemp Street.


Committee Chair Councillor Sarah Free says: “Community feedback resulted in changes to both proposals, and we thank everyone for their input.“We understand that it takes time for people to adapt to street changes like these, and staff will be monitoring these projects carefully. 


“Supporting options like car share and more mobility parking is just one example of how we’re looking for ways to make the most of our limited street space and help people living in these suburbs adjust over time.”


In Thorndon, the changes based on community feedback include:

  • a one-way bike lane only on the right-hand side of Molesworth Street, rather than the original section of two-way bike lane proposed on Molesworth Street between Lambton Quay and Aitken Street
  • This also means that the proposed one-way restriction on Kate Sheppard Place is no longer required and will not go ahead, nor will a proposed section of shared path on the corner of Aitken Street and Molesworth Street.
  • a separated bike lane on the southern side of Aitken Street will no longer go ahead, preserving the existing angled parking 
  • bus stop 5112 outside Wellington Cathedral was proposed to be removed but will now be retained 
  • motorbike parking on the northern side of Aitken Street will be kept 
  • one of the three proposed diplomatic car parks will be retained as a metred P120 car park.

The Council will also proceed with a separate traffic resolution proposing to change 11 coupon car parks on Hawkestone Street to P120 car parks, in response to feedback seeking further short-stay parking in the area. 


In Kilbirnie, changes following community feedback include: 

  • changing from proposed separated bike lanes to painted buffered bike lanes on Onepu Road between Wha Street and Lyall Parade, retaining over 50 car parks
  • keeping bus stop 6327 in its current location and modifying it to improve accessibility, rather than the proposed relocation outside the Salvation Army. 

The community was asked about interest in short-term trials of low traffic neighbourhoods on Yule, Ross, and Freyberg streets. Following feedback, only one short-term trial is planned for Freyberg Street later in the year to encourage slower speeds, improve safety around Lyall Bay School and reduce the amount of vehicle traffic using the street. 


Ninety percent of the funding for both projects will come from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Transport Choices programme. The programme, which is part of the Government’s Climate Emergency Response Fund, enables local councils to fast-track bike networks, create walkable neighbourhoods and safer, healthier school travel, and make public transport more reliable and easier to use.


As part of Paneke Pōneke, Wellington’s bike network plan, improvements are already being installed to connect the city to suburbs including Newtown, Ngaio, Aro Valley and Botanic Garden ki Paekākā between Newtown and the city, and Botanic Garden ki Paekākā and the city. Work is also under way to complete the harbourside paths around Evans Bay Parade. 


Designs are in development between Berhampore and Newtown to complete the southern connection, between Karori and Botanic Garden ki Paekākā to extend the western connection and to make more permanent improvements on the route to Brooklyn.  


More information about Paneke Pōneke and planned transport changes can be found at