The idea of Te Aranui o Poneke (the Great Harbour Way) has been around for a while – a walking and cycling route around Wellington harbour, as close as possible to the shoreline. This has obvious benefits for recreation and tourism – a similar route in Vancouver
supports several very busy bike rental firms, as well as numerous cafes etc.
But Te Aranui o Poneke/ Great Harbour Way is important for everyday and commuting cyclists. Several important commuting routes run along Te Aranui/GHW: from Wellington’s Eastern suburbs to the CBD around Evans Bay and Oriental Parade, from Eastbourne into the Hutt Valley, and of course from the Hutt Valley to Wellington.
If Oriental Bay to the waterfront is the jewel in the crown of Wellington cycling, then Hutt to Wellington is the grubby rhinestone down the back of the throne. OK, every day hundreds of assertive cyclists commute the shoulder of SH2 and weave the parked cars and lamp posts of the Old Hutt Road cycle path. But if cycling is to become an everyday activity in Wellington, cycling 10 km between two of the major population centres has to become something normal people do. This means fixing the Wellington to Petone gap.
This is where Te Aranui/GHW comes in – local authorities, NZTA et al are in varying degrees committed to implementing Te Aranui/GHW, and the route is written into the region’s walking and cycling plans. Te Aranui/GHW was influential in WCC’s decision to limit parking in Thorndon Quay in order to improve cycling safety, and is influencing NZTA’s proposals to upgrade the Hutt – Ngauranga cycle path.
But it’s important that Te Aranui/GHW is seen to be supported by cyclists. Which brings me to the point of this post: Sunday 21 November is Welly to Shelly to Seatoun Ferry – the official launch of Te Aranui/GHW. A good showing by Wellington cyclists will demonstrate the need for further improvements around the whole route, to the benefit of everyday cycling in the region. See you under the Queens Wharf sails, 10am!