Comments sought on temporary street changes to keep people spaced out

16 May 2020

A 3km shared path between Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay, more space on Stout Street for people walking from the Railway Station, and a bike lane up the Brooklyn hill are among temporary Wellington street changes now open for feedback.

A person cycling along a coastal road with other cyclists following in the background.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Free says Wellington City Council is proposing to make a number of changes to make it easier for people to move around the city on foot and by bike while the Covid-19-related safe distancing restrictions are in place, and to help manage public transport demand.

“We’re delighted that Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has this week approved funding for the first of our proposed Covid-19 response projects, and will meet 90 percent of the costs.”

People can now comment on the following projects:

• a footpath extension in Stout Street (east/MBIE side) from Bunny Street to Lambton Quay to provide more space for people heading to and from the Railway Station

• a 1.2km uphill bike lane on Brooklyn Road between Willis Street and Ohiro Road

• a 3km shared path on the Miramar Peninsula between Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay (one-way only for traffic (Shelly Bay to Scorching Bay) with the lane next to the sea for use by people on foot and bikes)

• bike lanes on both sides of Onepu Road between Leonie Gill Pathway and Rongotai Road

• a 1.6km two-way bike lane on the seaward side of Evans Bay Parade between Greta Point and Cobham Drive.

All will involve repurposing traffic lanes or parking spaces to provide more space for walking and biking. Feedback can be provided until 5pm on Thursday 28 May in the Have your say section of the Council website wellington.govt.nz, where more information about the planned changes is available.

The Council plans to make a decision on these five changes on Thursday 11 June and, if approved, work on the streets will begin about mid-June. The changes would be made over a few weeks, with some in place ahead of others. It is envisaged most of the footpath extensions and pop-up bike lanes would be removed when social distancing restrictions are eased, but having them in place for a short while would help in the development of future more permanent changes.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has also made funding available for temporary Covid-19-related changes to Featherston Street and Victoria Street, pending some further planning work. The Council is working with Waka Kotahi on the next steps for planning these changes. As soon as more detail is available, there will be an opportunity to comment and help shape these proposals.

The Council has also applied for funding for some other pilot projects. The funding applications for these ones were made under a different category and will be assessed by Waka Kotahi in terms of how well they meet the criteria of the Innovating Streets for People pilot fund.

• temporary changes to make the intersection of Abel Smith and Cuba streets safer and easier for pedestrians

• central city pop-up park and public spaces • central city temporary parking spaces for e-scooters

• a trial bike route via Wilson Street in Newtown.

All the projects, estimated to collectively cost about $2 million, have been selected due to their benefits and ability to be delivered from a longer list that included suggestions from the community, Councillors, Council staff, Greater Wellington, interest groups and the public. All were assessed against a range of criteria including whether they can aid social distancing, encourage walking or biking, are worth trialling, and how well they align with the city’s long-term goals.

The Innovating Streets programme uses tactical urbanism to move towards the Government’s longer-term objectives to create safer, healthier and more vibrant towns and cities.