Finally an answer to the Hutt Road cycle route nightmare?

For many years the route between the CBD and Ngauranga Gorge has been singled out as the worst cycling infrastructure in Wellington.  It is a frustrating obstacle course of dodging trucks and cars, lampposts in the middle of the path, and an increasing number of walkers.  The number of accidents along this route speak for themselves.

Hutt road - shambles
The current shambles along the Hutt Road; trucks, cars and lamp posts making it a regular obstacle course for cyclists and walkers.

So it is fantastic to hear that the Wellington City Council, with the backing from the NZTA, is about to embark on major improvements.   This focuses on creating a dedicated cycle way and separated footpath alongside the eastern side of the Hutt Road between the Ngauranga gorge and the Aotea Quay over bridge.

Hutt road - concept image
A concept drawing showing what the improvements may look like.  Note that most of the parking is intended to only be available after 9am.

A key challenge for the project will be the removal of car parks to allow the cycle and walk path to be widened and to make the route safer.  The council has already talked to affected businesses about this.  But it will also impact on the high number of people who park along the route and from there walk into town, particularly as a no-parking zone will be enforced before 9am to allow for a “T2” lane that will help to speed up bus travel times.

A number of the problems with the route may not disappear with all these improvements.  How will the design ensure that cars enter and exit the many business yards along the route in a safer way?  Specially as the improved cycle way will result in people cycling at faster speeds.  And does the design provide a safer crossing at the Ngauranga gorge; how will it ensure that cyclist can safely get across the SH2 north and south bound slip roads?

Hutt road - concept design
The tricky design at Ngauranga gorge.  Will the crossing as shown at the bottom left hand corner be any safer?

People will want to know what alternative options were considered, such as creating a harbour-side cycle and walk way that will connect up to the same sea-side shared path that is intended for the route between Ngauranga gorge and Petone.  And what is happening about the equally dangerous route along Thorndon Quay?

Details of the project are available in a ‘traffic resolution’ document that the Council has made available on its website.  Not exactly written with the general public in mind.  And it does not address all of the questions and concerns that people will have.  There will however be ‘open days’ held to provide information and answer questions:

  • 3pm−6.30pm, Wednesday 30 March, La Cloche, 134 Hutt Road
  • 9am−1pm, Saturday 2 April, 241 Thorndon Quay (formerly Nancy’s Embroidery)

Information about this project and the design is available at the Council website.  At the bottom of the page you will find a link to tell the Councillors at the Transport and Urban Development Committee what you think.   The submissions closes on  5pm, Wednesday 13 April 2016.

 

 

 

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