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Time to fine-tune plans for Evans Bay


14 November 2017

Time to fine-tune plans for Evans Bay – and other eastern bike connections

Wellingtonians are being asked for further feedback on detailed plans for a two-way bike path around Evans Bay – along with proposals for several Kilbirnie and Newtown streets that will help create a connected bike network in the east.

Feedback on designs for the seaward side of the road, from the intersection of Carlton Gore Road and Oriental Parade to just north of Greta Point, and nine other streets, is required by Monday 11 December and can be made online at transportprojects.org.nz

Two drop-in sessions are planned at the ASB Sports Centre so people can take a closer look at the designs, talk with the designers, and find out more.

Wednesday 22 November, 4pm–7pm

Saturday 25 November, 10am–4pm.

Wellington City and Eastern Ward Councillor Simon Marsh says the three eastern ward councillors are united in commending the community for their earlier involvement and valuable feedback.

“I’m pleased we’ve had such a robust response from the community in getting the plans to this point. A lot of discussion and planning has gone into this and I hope as many people as possible will now take the time to provide constructive feedback on the draft designs. People can go online to see images of the streets as they are now overlaid with what’s planned.

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“Once finalised, these routes will go a long way towards creating a local bike network in the eastern suburbs, and providing safer connections to the city and neighbouring suburbs, including Newtown.”

Wellington City Council is working in partnership with the Government and NZ Transport Agency to provide bike improvements that can be used by the widest number of people. Among other things, this is about reducing pressure on other transport modes, giving people more transport choice, and achieving health and environmental benefits.

Councillor Sarah Free, the Council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking, Cycling and Public Transport welcomes the fact that more people are already cycling, including older residents and women.

“Recent studies reported in The British Medical Journal show that cycling or walking to and from work is linked to substantial health benefits. So these proposed improvements which will make biking safer and more appealing as part of a cycle network, and offer improvements for people on foot, are a good thing.

“Getting more people using active modes of travel, either cycling or walking, reduces pressure on public transport and eases traffic congestion – so there are many benefits.”

When future funding allows, the plan is to extend the proposed two-way Evans Bay bike path further south to connect up with the better walking and biking paths that are already being built on the seaward side of Cobham Drive.

However for now, Cr Free says the proposed new 2.3km section of separated bike path will replace the existing painted on-road cycle lanes and make the coastal ride a safer, more appealing option for more people.

“It will allow people to ride all the way from the Miramar cutting to the city without having to ride on the road. We anticipate it will be a popular recreational ride as well as encouraging more people to commute by bike.”

Following consultation on preferred routes last year, extensive discussion by community working groups this year, and wider feedback from the public in September, designs have also been progressed for other streets.

In Kilbirnie, changes are proposed on Rongotai Road (Onepu Road to Te Whiti Street); Yule Street (Rongotai Road to Endeavour Street); Te Whiti Street; Coutts Street (Te Whiti Street to the airport tunnel); and Tirangi Road (Coutts Street to the Leonie Gill Pathway).

There are also proposals to provide a connection from Kilbirnie as far as the Newtown shops, via Crawford Road, Constable Street (Alexandra Road to Coromandel Street), Coromandel Street (Constable Street to Wilson Street), and Wilson Street (Coromandel Street to Riddiford Street).

The Government is willing to fund nearly 70 percent of the $17 million-worth of street improvements planned in the east.

The money is tagged to changes that:

• provide safer and easier ways to get places by bike

• encourage more people of all ages and abilities to cycle, particularly less confident riders

• help create a connected cycle network.

To qualify, all projects must be approved by mid-2018, and built by mid–2019.

There will be lots of discussion with the community next year on other routes and connections in Newtown, and on towards the central city.

Overview of the changes proposed

An overview of the main changes in the different streets is provided below. Go to transportprojects.org.nz for more details, artist’s impressions, plans, maps, videos and dynamic graphics, which allow you to slide across and see how things are now and how they will look with the proposed changes.

Rongotai Road (Crawford Road to Onepu Road) – green wait areas (stop boxes) with lead-lanes will be added at the traffic signals, but for now, no parking changes are being progressed in the town centre.

Rongotai Road (Onepu Road to Te Whiti Street) – a kerbside bike lane is proposed on each side of the road to make this busy route safer. There’s enough space to retain parking on both sides, and provide a raised 1m-wide buffer for people to park against and get in and out of cars.

Yule Street (Rongotai Road to Endeavour Street) – in this quiet street, painted bike lanes between the parked cars and traffic should be enough to make this part of the planned network safer and more appealing for less confident riders. It will help connect the Leonie Gill Pathway with the proposed Rongotai Road bike paths.

Te Whiti Street – to make this street a safer part of the network, it is proposed to move the existing painted bike lanes further out to provide a buffer space between the bike lanes and parked cars.

Coutts Street (Te Whiti Street to the tunnel under the airport runway) – to improve this section of the network, bike paths adjacent to the footpath are proposed to replace the existing on-road painted lanes. These could be at footpath level or slightly lower. This approach would make things safer for people on bikes. There will be a reduction in the space available for on-street parking to help improve visibility around driveways.

Tirangi Road (Coutts Street to the Leonie Gill Pathway) – we’re wanting to make the connection between the Leonie Gill Pathway, Coutts Street and Miramar, via the tunnel under the airport runway, safer by putting in bike lanes on each side protected by a raised buffer. To do this, the car parking on this section will need to be removed.

Crawford Road – an uphill bike lane, protected by a raised buffer, is proposed to make this important connection safer for people biking from Kilbirnie to Newtown. The design is appropriate for a busy through route like this, which has a lot of fast-moving traffic, including buses. Parking will need to be removed, and the Council is continuing to liaise with residents and the Kilbirnie Tennis Club. A new pedestrian crossing is proposed linking with Tully Street.

Constable Street (Alexandra Road to Coromandel Street) – an uphill bike lane with a raised buffer is proposed along this short section, requiring the removal of a few parking spaces. The change will provide more space for all road users and a greater level of protection for people on bikes. The proposed design is appropriate for this area, which has a lot of fast-moving traffic, including buses.

Coromandel Street (Constable Street to Wilson Street) – minor road marking changes, including sharrows (the arrow and cycle symbol), are all that is planned on this short section of street.

Wilson Street (Coromandel Street to Riddiford Street) – other than painting sharrows on the road (the arrow and cycle symbol), no other changes are proposed in the two-way sections of Wilson Street between Coromandel and Daniell streets. In the one-way section in lower Wilson Street, a kerbside bike lane is proposed so people can ride downhill through to the shops. To do this, most of the parking on the south side of the road would need to be removed.

Evans Bay (intersection of Carlton Gore Road and Oriental Parade to just north of Greta Point) – The two-way bike path proposed for the seaward side of Evans Bay will make the route around this part of the coast even more of a drawcard.

A popular commuter route from the east, and visitor and recreational destination, the route forms part of Te Aranui o Pōneke/ the Great Harbour Way – our region’s goal to one day have a walking and cycling path all the way around Wellington Harbour to Sinclair Head on the south coast.

A two-way path, separated from traffic and the footpath, is proposed. It was the Evans Bay community working group’s preferred option, and also the option favoured by the wider public in September.

The bike path would be above road level, but no decision has been made about whether it should be at the same level as the footpath, or slightly lower.

Changes proposed around Evans Bay include removing the existing painted bike lanes and painted median through this section.

Some adjustments to the position of car parking is required, but overall, parking for 173 vehicles will remain along this stretch – about 15 less than there is at the moment.

Where parking is proposed on the seaward side, people would park against a kerb as they do now. An 800mm–1m-wide buffer between the kerb and the bike path would provide space for getting in and out of cars.

At most bus stops on this side, there would be a 1.5m buffer zone between the kerb and bike path for people getting on and off buses.

The Evans Bay community working group was keen to see some safety improvements for people on foot. New pedestrian crossings are proposed at Kio and Balaena bays.

The coastal route is used by trucks and other over-sized vehicles that can’t use the Mt Victoria Tunnel. It has been redesigned with this in mind. The vehicle lanes will generally be 3.5m wide, but extra width will be provided on bends.

The cycleway will be 3m wide wherever possible, but in places where space is constrained, it will need to be a bit narrower.

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