From today (31 October), the public can give their views on the options for improving this stretch of the harbour-side path. Oriental Bay is one of Wellington’s top destinations and more space is needed along this narrow section to comfortably accommodate the growing numbers of walkers, dogs, runners and people on bikes, particularly during summer and weekends.
The Council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking, Cycling and Public Transport, Councillor Sarah Free, says the Council has to balance the competing – and increasing – demands on this hugely popular area.
“The Council has been working with people in the Oriental Bay area to find the best ways of improving this section of shared path. The community working group spent many hours looking at options, asking questions, grappling with challenges and trade-offs, and whittling down the alternatives.
“They have agreed on two options for how the limited road space along this section of Oriental Parade can be shared to create a safer, wide path. The Council would like feedback from the wider community now to help decide which of these options will be formally consulted on in February 2018.”
Both options would create a new wide shared path between the parked cars and pohutukawa trees on the seaward side of Oriental Parade, from Herd Street to Freyberg Pool. The new path would replace the under-used narrow footpath that is constrained by overhanging parked vehicles.
To make room for the new path, the kerb would be extended out into the road by several metres. This space would include an 800mm-wide buffer zone between the new path and parked vehicles to give people room to safely unload and pay for parking.
‘Option A’ proposes to change the angle parking to parallel parking, with space for a 4.8m-wide shared path. The existing traffic lane widths of around 4m would be retained, as would the 2m-wide painted central median. This option would provide more space for everyone, but would reduce the number of parking spaces by about half.
‘Option B’ retains the angle parking and number of car parks but means less space for people walking, biking or driving compared to ‘Option A’. The shared path would be 3.6m wide, the traffic lanes 3.3m wide, and the painted median 1m wide.
The Council’s Portfolio Leader for Transport Strategy, Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman, says the Council will also consider shortening the 10-hour time limit on some of the parking along this part of Oriental Parade so more people can find car parks during the day.
“We want to give everyone a fair chance of accessing Oriental Bay and for many people, driving is their only option. Greater turnover would help to compensate for fewer parking spaces, especially if parallel parking is the most favoured option. The public has a clear choice for how this space can be allocated.”
As part of the February consultation, it’s likely the public would also be asked whether they support turning the existing shared path on the harbour side of the pohutukawa into a pedestrian-only path.
Oriental Bay is part of the biking connection between the eastern suburbs and the city, and the shared path will link to the proposed two-way bike path around Evans Bay. The proposals are part of the $37.5m project by the Council, NZ Transport Agency and the Government to make a start on a connected cycling network for Wellington. A connected network will encourage people of all ages and abilities to ride bikes, reducing pressure on other transport modes and providing benefits for health and the environment.
Information about the proposals is available at transportprojects.org.nz
People can come along to Oriental Parade and ask questions about the options on Wednesday 1 November, 4.30pm-6pm – Council staff will be outside the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club/Coene’s Bar and Eatery.
The engagement period will run until Monday 13 November. Feedback can be provided online or by completing and mailing a FreePost submission form.