New Hutt Road bridge and pathway blessed

11 November 2019

The new Hutt Road walking and biking paths and wider new bridge over the Kaiwharawhara Stream were blessed by Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika this morning, and officially opened by Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter.

A photo of Deputy Mayor Sarah Free and Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter next to the new bike counter visual display unit on the Hutt Road bike and walking paths. The display unit is green and displays a count for the day and year.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Free and Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter next to the new bike counter visual display unit.

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Taranaki Whānui worked with Wellington City Council on aspects of the bridge design and have gifted the tohu on the bridge barrier, a design which depicts Taranaki maunga and ancestral origins. The mihi whakatau was carried out by Kara Puketapu-Dentice and Kim Skelton.

Associate Minister Genter and Wellington Deputy Mayor Sarah Free also unveiled the city’s first bike counter visual display unit.

Twenty-seven electronic counters have been gradually installed under paths and roads on key routes around the city over the past 18 months. The visual display unit on the path outside Spotlight will update as people ride by showing how many have passed this point on any given day. In future, it will also show a running tally for the year.

A second visual display unit is also now in operation on the new Oriental Bay bike path.

Mayor Andy Foster, who had prior commitments and was unable to attend this morning’s ceremony, says it is fantastic to see this important section of the route from the north complete and in use.

“This is one of our busiest biking routes so it’s fantastic that this stretch is now safer and easier to ride than it was – and that people on foot now have a safer place to walk and run,” he says.

“A lot of hard work has gone into this and I’d like to thank the staff and all those who helped make it happen.”

The electronic counter under the road near Bordeaux Bakery on Thorndon Quay gives the best indication of the numbers riding this route. It recorded 24,129 people on bikes during September, an average of 1102 each weekday.

By just after 8am this morning, the new display unit showed some 230 people had already biked past today despite the rain.

The completed section of the Hutt Road pathway forms part of the route from the north, is used by people from the hill suburbs of Khandallah, Ngaio and Wadestown, and will link with the planned Te Ara Tupua which will provide a safe and efficient walking and bike route between Ngauranga and Lower Hutt.

Unless a route is one day possible through the port area, Hutt Road will also form an important part of Te Aranui o Pōneke/the Great Harbour Way.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Free says the number of Wellingtonians biking is continuing to grow with count data showing more people than ever riding in to the central city from every direction during the busy morning peak.

The upward trend was clearly evident from this year’s cordon count, which monitors how people travel into the city between 7am and 9am. The count has been done over a week in March every year since 2000.

The cordon counts show the numbers cycling into the city over the busiest two hours in the morning has continued to grow, tripling from under 800 per day 19 years ago to over 2300 people. This trend is backed up by data coming through from the electronic counters that record 24/7.

 “Switching to a lower-carbon commute is a practical way Wellingtonians can take action on climate change and help the city achieve its vision to be a zero carbon Capital by 2050,” the Deputy Mayor says.

“About 80,000 Wellingtonians live within a 15-minute bike ride of the central city – so with further safety improvements, the potential for a lot more people of all ages and abilities to be making some trips by bike is huge.”

Over the past couple of years, the shared path between Caltex Fuel Stop and the intersection of Tinakori Road was replaced with separate walking and biking paths. The work involved relocating and upgrading streetlights, putting in new asphalt and concrete paths, bus stop by-passes, roadside parking, and clearer markings and signs to make driveways safer.

The widening of Kaiwharawhara bridge – which was the last remaining pinch point – marks the completion of the $6.8 million project which was funded and developed in partnership with the Government, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Wellington City Council.

The Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme will work with the community next year on plans to improve bus priority on Hutt Road and Thorndon Quay. As part of this work, they will be looking at what else can be done to improve walking and cycling, particularly through Thorndon Quay.