Wellingtonians can go online for the next month to give their opinions on proposals for a $9 million upgrade of the region’s busiest cycle route – the Hutt Road between Ngauranga and the central city.
Two-thirds of the estimated $9 million cost will be paid by the Government through the new Urban Cycleways Fund and the National Land Transport Fund. Wellington City Council’s budgeted share is $3.12 million.
Two open days will also be held:
- Wednesday 30 March, 4.30-6.30pm at La Cloche, 134 Hutt Road
- Saturday 2 April, 9am-1pm – 241 Thorndon Quay (formerly Nancy’s Embroidery shop).
The Hutt Road pathway is part of the Council’s planned $34.7 million investment in cycling over the next three years, to encourage sustainable and affordable transport, healthy exercise, and reduce emissions and congestion around the city.
Councillor Andy Foster, Chair of the City Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says the Hutt Road cycleway is the southern section of the 12-kilometre Wellington to Hutt Valley Walking, Cycling and Resilience project and will provide a vital link in a larger regional investment in the cycling network from Upper Hutt to the Wellington waterfront, and in Wellington City’s network.
The New Zealand Transport Agency is continuing work on the Petone to Ngauranga and Melling to Petone sections of the wider Wellington to Hutt Valley project, with more information due to come out soon about the Melling to Petone section. Work is also underway to prepare the necessary consent applications and seek approval to construct a seaside option for the Petone to Ngauranga section, which was confirmed last year. The Transport Agency expects to lodge consent applications later this year and, if consent is granted, construction would begin in 2019.
Transport Agency Regional Director Raewyn Bleakley says the upgraded Hutt Rd cycleway, combined with the two sections from Melling to Ngauranga, will help to make cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice for Wellingtonians.
“There’s been a surge of interest in cycling and cycle safety in Wellington and right across New Zealand, and we are committed to supporting and encouraging that trend, particularly in our main urban centres.”
Construction of the Hutt Road to CBD project will be in two stages – from Ngauranga to the Aotea Quay overbridge and then from the overbridge to the CBD. Construction of the first section is scheduled to start this year, with both sections completed by mid-2018. The route from the overbridge to the CBD is still to be decided, with the two options being Aotea Quay and Thorndon Quay.
Changes to the Hutt Road are part of the 2008 Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan agreed between the city and regional councils and NZTA
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says more than 400 cyclists an hour use the Hutt Road at peak times. “The Hutt Road is already the busiest route for cycling in the region and will get much busier once this new pathway connects with the proposed harbourside route between Wellington and the Hutt, part of the Great Harbour Way. The Hutt Road is the key route for the growing numbers of Khandallah and Ngaio cycle commuters too.”
Cr Foster says the Council has made a number of safety-led improvements on Hutt Road and Thorndon Quay in recent years, including reducing speeds, adding clearways and pedestrian crossings but the number of crashes involving cycles along this route is higher than local, regional and national averages.
“The crash rate remains unacceptably high. We’ve got to improve visibility of cyclists for people in vehicles turning into and out of premises. With 67 percent of crashes on the existing shared pathway occurring as drivers are exiting onto the road, this has to be a priority.”
The cycleway option favoured by the Council is a two-way off-road segregated path on the eastern side of Hutt Road (built on the existing shared pathway) to separate people on cycles from traffic and from pedestrians.
Consultation is open until Wednesday 13 April.
The proposals include:
- A 3-metre wide two-way cycle path from Ngauranga to Ngaio Gorge, widening to a 4-metre path from Ngaio Gorge to the Aotea Quay overbridge.
- A 2-metre footpath from Ngauranga to Aotea Quay overbridge.
- Removing hazards on the path such as lighting poles – new streetlights to be installed on the western side the road.
- Possible removal of some pohutukawa trees south of Ngauranga to make room for the footpath.
- The footbridge over the Kaiwharawhara Stream will be widened.
- New speed humps at entrances to business premises to slow vehicles crossing the cycling and walking paths.
- Peak-hour transit (T2) lanes - southbound morning peak; northbound afternoon peak. Reserved for passenger vehicles carrying two or more people including in-service taxis, motorcycles, mopeds, emergency vehicles and cyclists who choose to ride on the road rather than the bike path.
- Significant improvements to travel time for buses.
- Some parking will be removed to make space for the new footpath.
- Two bus stops removed (one on Hutt Road, the other on Kaiwharawhara Road) and consolidated into one new stop south of Kaiwharawhara Road.
- Bus lanes installed at Ngauranga Gorge intersection so buses can queue- jump.
- New cycle and pedestrian crossings at this intersection and new cycle stop boxes.
- Some businesses along Hutt Road will lose their ‘encroachment’ licences that presently enable them to use public space for car parking.