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New Oriental Bay bike path to go ahead

The most congested part of the Oriental Bay pathway will be made safer for people on bikes and on foot later this year with no loss of parking.

Wellington City Councillors today unanimously agreed to changes that will widen and relieve pressure on the short section of promenade between Herd Street and Freyberg Pool which, at busy times, is too narrow to safely accommodate the large numbers of people walking, biking, running and sightseeing.

Mayor Justin Lester says the layout that has been agreed is the end result of a lengthy and thorough community engagement process.

“It is a compromise that we think fairly balances the diverse needs of the thousands of people who have an interest in this very popular and important part of the city,” he says.

A 2.5m-wide two-way bike path and new footpath to be developed between the pohutukawa trees and angle parking, will allow the existing shared path near the seawall to become pedestrian-only. Croc bikes will need to use the bike path through this part of Oriental Bay.

The design, a modified version of the more popular of the two options that Wellingtonians gave their thoughts on last year, retains all the angle parking, adds three additional parallel parks, retains a median strip for turning traffic, and provides some new motorbike parking.

The new bike path will help provide an improved connection between the city and the eastern suburbs, complementing the two-way separated cycleway proposed around Evans Bay, and the improved biking and walking facilities already under way along Cobham Drive.

The Council’s City Strategy Committee also agreed today to replace angle parking on Thorndon Quay between Davis and Mulgrave streets with parallel parking to make room for on-road bike lanes on each side of the road.

The painted traffic-side lanes are seen as an interim solution to make this stretch a little safer, and can be put in later this year at very little cost when the road is resealed.

The corridor between Kaiwharawhara and the city centre is being considered as part of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project at the moment, and there is a desire to make sure any additional improvements for people on bikes are well integrated with any other transport and urban design changes proposed for the area.

Cr Sarah Free, the Council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking, Cycling and Public Transport, says it is very clear that more needs to be done to make Thorndon Quay safer for people on bikes.

“I would have liked to have seen more done, but sometimes you have to do things incrementally, and this change will be a small improvement. It will provide cycle lanes on a section where there are none at the moment, and these will link in well with the lanes in Bunny Street and those planned for part of Featherston Street. I very much hope we will be having conversations within the next 12 months about more substantial improvements.”

Parking time limits in the area will be changed from 10 hours to 6 hours, rather than the 2-hour limit proposed.

The Committee also unanimously approved a new two-way bike path and separate footpath in Kilbirnie on the St Patrick’s College side of Evans Bay Parade, replacing the existing shared path.

The bike path will connect with the new bike paths soon to go in on Rongotai Road, the two-way path to be built around Evans Bay, and the new paths being constructed on Cobham Drive. It will form part of a local network and help provide wider connections to the city and adjacent suburbs, including Newtown.

The design has been integrated with the proposed new Kilbirnie bus hub and other bus changes planned by Greater Wellington Regional Council in this vicinity.

The next stage for all three projects will be to complete the detailed designs, construction plans and independent safety audits. Work is expected to start in late 2018.


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