Victoria Street cycle lane opens today

3 August 2015

Victoria Street's transformation has delivered another section of Wellington's planned $90 million cycle network.

Cyclist uses new kerbside lane in Victoria Street.

A kerbside lane is being trialled on Victoria Street between Vivian and Abel Smith streets

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The transformation project includes better public infrastructure for an initial 2500 apartments, 600 of which have already been approved, and the planned new WelTec Whitireia downtown campus – and another section of Wellington City Council’s recently approved Cycling Framework.

The new cycle lane – which includes a short kerbside section – begins in Dixon Street and connects with the shared cycle and walking path in Karo Drive and through Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the Council is committed to improving cycling infrastructure.

“Modern progressive cities around the world make it easier and safer to cycle. The new Victoria Street section of Wellington’s cycling network demonstrates our commitment to the 76 percent of residents who say they would cycle more if they felt it were safer to do so.

The cycle lane will be monitored to see how well it works and the Mayor says improvements will be made if they are needed.

She says the new cycle traffic lights, which allow cyclists to start ahead of traffic at Abel Smith Street, are a welcome addition.

The Council will monitor the cycle lane and work with the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Memorial Park Alliance, which built the transformed area, to ensure the safety of people on foot, on bikes, on buses and in cars.   

To reduce potential road-user conflicts, signs and pavement markings have been introduced to help people adjust to the new street layout.

Cycle Aware Wellington Chair James Burgess says Victoria Street is a busy road, and cycle lanes – especially the protected part – should make it safer and more comfortable to ride along.

“We’re interested to see the outcome of the bus stop design trial, and whether it works as well for pedestrians, bus passengers and cyclists as other design options available.”

Councillor Andy Foster, Chair of Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says the Cycling Framework provides clarity in our delivery of a cycling network for the city which focuses on giving residents more choice of how to get around the city.

“As we build the city’s new cycling network, we will be focused on road-user safety. Seeing how this short stretch works will help us in ongoing, safe implementation.

“The bus stop design on the section of kerbside lane between Vivian and Abel Smith streets is different to the proposed design of bus stop bypasses in the Island Bay cycleway.

“I’ve been using the new cycle lane almost daily, I think we can learn from it and continually improve as we roll out the cycling network. I will be very interested in the outcome of our monitoring activities but I think it is great that the Victoria Street re-development does recognise Councillors strong desire to provide for the continually increasing number of cyclists on our streets.”

The Victoria Street cycle facilities are already in use apart from the kerbside section between Vivian and Abel Smith streets which is expected to be open from 3pm today. The final work and opening of this section was delayed due to earthquake-strengthening on an adjacent building. This building upgrade work is continuing and is likely to involve further off-peak lane closures.

The Victoria Street project – including the new southbound cycle lane, paved park areas and wider, tree-lined footpaths – will be blessed and officially opened this Friday 7 August at 12.15pm in the new Te Niho Park at the intersection of Vivian and Victoria streets.