City Councillors voted unanimously for the recommendations put forward by Council officers to improve the path. Parking solutions will be looked for in order to subsequently move the car parks from the shared path. This will mean the shared path can be upgraded and widened but not yet converted to the two-way cycleway and dedicated pedestrian path.
The Hutt Road cycleway will be the first in Wellington to benefit from the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme, with two-thirds of the $9m cost for the whole Ngauranga to CBD route from the Urban Cycleways Fund and National Land Transport Fund.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the staged approach is a sensible way forward and will ensure the cycleway is built. “The need for a safer cycling path along Hutt Road is growing steadily and with support from our funding partners, the NZ Transport Agency and Government, the Council has been able to make this a high priority.”
Hutt Road is one of the busiest cycling routes in Wellington, with cycling demand growing year on year. At peak times, there are more than 400 riders an hour which is twice as many people on bikes on this route as 10 years ago. It has a poor safety track record with 26 reported crashes involving a person riding a bike from 2009-2013.
“The upgraded path will mean safety is improved and it will be a much more pleasant ride, walk or run for those who already use it. It will encourage more people to travel by bike and is a great start as we work towards reducing congestion along Hutt Road and creating a cycle network in the city. Fewer cars will help to make the Capital a more sustainable and attractive place to live”, says Mayor Wade-Brown.
Councillors present also unanimously supported the Great Harbour Way, noting existing work, including co-funding for the hardest stage from Petone to Ngauranga, means the resource consent will be lodged by the Transport Agency in the next few months.
Mayor Wade-Brown says: “The Great Harbour Way, involving Living Streets, Cycle Aware and Rotary clubs is a superb community, tourist and recreational route from Pencarrow to Owhiro Bay. Today its full realisation is a step closer.”
The Hutt Road will provide connections to the Hutt Valley – particularly once the NZ Transport Agency builds the Petone to Ngauranga cycleway.
NZ Transport Agency Regional Director Raewyn Bleakley says the improvements to the Hutt Road cycleway are a critical piece of the wider transport network, including planned investment to make the journey for cyclists from Wellington to the Hutt Valley safe, consistent and connected.
“As there has been a surge of interest in cycling and cycle safety in Wellington and right across New Zealand, we are committed to supporting and encouraging that trend, particularly in our main urban centres.”
The Chair of the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, Councillor Andy Foster, says the parking situation is less than ideal especially for pedestrians.
“Most of the construction work can go ahead as planned, including bus priority lanes and new pedestrian and cycle crossings at the Ngauranga intersection. However we need to establish how many people park near their place of work in the immediate area and how many are commuters who park and continue on into the city on foot, by bike or public transport.”
Council officers will provide more detailed information on parking demand and alternative options for commuter parking, likely by the end of this year.
Cr Foster says the NZ Transport Agency technical review says the residual safety risks around commercial driveways can be mitigated by careful design and warning devices. Work on the section of shared path between the Caltex Fuel Stop and Ngauranga intersection will be delayed until the Petone to Ngauranga cycleway is completed in four or five years or there is a further surge in demand.
The traffic lanes on Hutt Road will remain as they are until the parking is relocated from the shared path. The T2 lanes will be subject to improved capacity on the southbound motorway and could be some years away.
Detailed design work will get under way and construction could begin within months.