Although it’s won’t be complete until next year, the Island Bay Cycleway is shaping up to be an early Christmas present for the suburb, providing it with 21st century infrastructure that will provide a healthy, sustainable transport alternative for residents. By reducing congestion, the Cycleway will make life easier for those who need to use cars.
OK, I know that some residents are apprehensive about the changes. It’s hard to judge a roading project before it’s complete, but when I rode the route a couple of days ago it looked like the design will work well, and I suspect that in a few months people will wonder what all the fuss was about.
The parking protected cycle lanes feel surprisingly broad, allowing cyclists to overtake each other if necessary. With the buffer zones between the lane and parked cars, there should be little risk of cyclists colliding with passengers exiting cars. The traffic lanes are narrower than before, but this will have the benefit of encouraging lower, safer speeds.
Intersections are the hard part of designing cycle lanes, but the Cycleway lanes seem to flow through smoothly. Cross hatched no parking areas on the corners will provide good visibility for cars exiting from side streets.
A feature of the Cycleway is the bus bypasses. These are easy to ride, taking a sweeping curve around the back of the stop. The bypass is differentiated from the black tarmac footpath by a white concrete surface, but it might require extra marking to the bypass clearly separate it from the footpath.
Most people are figuring out the new parking arrangements, though it’s early days, and a few cars were inadvertently parked where they shouldn’t be. When the Cycleway is fully marked and signed, this shouldn’t be a problem. In the mean time we’ll have to be a bit cautious and patient when driving and riding.
So what does Santa have in store for Wellington cycling in 2016? Hopefully our City planners and Councillors will be making New Year resolutions to keep up the high standard set by the Island Bay Cycleway when they develop the new Urban Cycleway routes in the CBD, and to the East and North.