New off-road biking connection proposed for Newlands and northern suburbs

25 July 2017

Residents in Newlands and the northern suburbs will have a safer and more direct walking and cycling route to Ngauranga, and a better connection with the Hutt Road shared path into the central city, if a proposal to upgrade Wakely Road track goes ahead.

Wakely Road

Wellington City Council is proposing to upgrade the part of Wakely Road that is currently a rough four-wheel drive track, connecting Newlands with Centennial Highway and Ngauranga. The public can have a say on the proposal from 9am today, Tuesday 25 July.

The track part of Wakely Road starts at the Spenmoor Street-Lyndfield Lane intersection in Newlands and comes out on Centennial Highway above Glover Street. The current legal status of the track is an unformed public road and the proposal would change this to a shared path.

Work would include improving storm water drainage and pulling out the old culverts, levelling and paving the surface, grading corners, installing more safety fences in the steeper areas, and cutting back vegetation. Signs would also be installed at both ends of the path.

The Council’s Portfolio Leader for Public Transport, Cycling and Walking, Councillor Sarah Free, says this shared path would provide a much-needed connection for residents in Newlands and the northern suburbs – and more choices for how they travel.

“A good quality off-road path will encourage more people to commute on foot or by bike from this part of Wellington. Although the Wakely Road route is steep, particularly coming uphill, it would be safer and bypass the need to use Centennial Highway through the gorge.”

It would also link to the Hutt Road shared path, now being upgraded, and to the NZ Transport Agency’s planned Ngauranga to Petone route.

“A safer connected network of cycle routes around Wellington will cater for people of all ages and abilities, and include main routes between the suburbs and central city and connecting routes in local areas.”

This proposal would also make it easier and safer for people on bikes to get to the start of Wakely Road from the Hutt Road intersection, especially less confident riders.

The footpath on the northern side of Centennial Highway would become a designated shared path up to Glover Street from the Hutt Road intersection. From Glover Street, it would be legal for people to cycle uphill on the footpath to reach the start of the track.

To avoid conflict with pedestrians in this area, people biking downhill from Wakely Road would continue to use the existing separate cycle path as far as Glover Street and then join the shared path. Signs would be in place to show people where they can ride.

The Council’s Portfolio Leader for Transport Strategy and Operations, Councillor Calvi-Freeman says improvements are also planned at the Hutt Road-Centennial Highway intersection, as part of the Hutt Road shared path upgrade now under way.

“New pedestrian and cycle crossings here will make the intersection safer and provide more options for where people can cross. Working with the Transport Agency we are starting to see progress towards better walking and biking facilities in Wellington City.”

Construction work on Wakely Road track would likely start later in 2017 and be staged over two years.

The Wakely Road shared path project is part of Wellington City Council’s $37.25m investment in a connected cycle network to make riding bikes in Wellington easier and safer for everyone. The investment for this project would be subsidised through the National Land Transport Fund administered by the NZ Transport Agency.

City Councillors will consider the Wakely Road proposal in mid-September.

Submissions close at 5pm, Friday 11 August.