Safer Speeds – 30km/h is the stepping stone to a central city for people

As a partner in the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme, Wellington City Council is committed to making the city safer and more attractive. Introducing a 30 kmh speed limit across the central city is a key element. A few arterial streets are excepted, the Quays, Kent and Cambridge Tces, and SH1 on Vivian St.

The Council will consult on the plan early this year, and plans to introduce changes in mid-2020.

There’s more detail at

30km/h on Featherston?

Safer speeds on central city streets could be a stepping stone towards a city that works for people travelling on all modes. By restricting most streets to 30km/h it is possible that more drivers will choose those streets that are still at 50km/h, reducing the traffic volumes on those streets at 30km/h. The LGWM programme will be assessing the impacts of changes, which will allow recommendations to be made on redesigning streets like Featherston and Taranaki, reducing the number of car lanes and allowing more space for people on foot and on bikes, buses and rapid transit. An even bolder approach would be to move one step further, closing off more streets to through-traffic. Birmingham has announced plans based on earlier tactics employed by Groningen in the Netherlands and Ghent, Belgium to make their city centre slightly more difficult to drive around, reallocating space to public and active transport in the process:

The idea here is to create quadrants, or zones, dividing up areas of the central city. Private vehicles are not permitted to cross between these zones, but people on foot, buses or bikes can. The result is that places in Ghent that are 1km apart on foot or bike become 3km apart by car, making the bicycle the fastest way to get around, meaning more people opt to use a bicycle. Driving isn’t a particularly slow option, it just takes a bit longer and you need to drive further. People who need to drive still can, and the way the city is laid out pushes them onto outer roads that are more capable of handling cars, leaving those central streets free for people.

Wellington could apply similar thinking. It already has a ‘ring’ road of sorts. Imagine a car journey from the Michael Fowler Centre to Pukeahu Park didn’t involve going up Taranaki Street because it was now a no-through road. Your alternative route would be via Cable St, Kent Terrace and the Basin. Perhaps you’d decide to cycle there instead because now, Taranaki St is a residential area with fewer car lanes, a 30km/h speed limit, more seating, street trees and a cycle lane and you’d be there just as fast, (raging southerly wind notwithstanding!)

Taranaki St – unrecognisable

These ideas are almost incomprehensible at the moment because Wellington’s central city has so many lanes for cars that it can be very difficult to imagine where they would all go. However 30km/h streets will start to push us towards a Wellington where walking, shopping and living in our central city becomes much more pleasant. Driving will become just one of the ways you can get around easily, comfortably and conveniently, but not quite as quickly as by bike.

Quieter, slower streets become much more attractive to people on bikes and escooters where fewer cars pass and at slower relative speeds. Of course, crashes can still occur at 30km/h, but the outcomes are vastly improved for people of all ages. Cycling on slower streets will also ‘feel’ more comfortable and natural, which will attract more people to give bikes a go where currently the road conditions can feel more risky and scary.

Cycle Wellington fully supports the plans for 30km/h streets and looks forward to safer riding throughout our central city.

Well exactly 2

As the name suggests, this post is a followup to “Well exactly” as posted here by Lisa on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

I suggested in a comment to “Well exactly” that I would measure and categorise the cycleway infrastructure that exists in Wellington City. Someone has to do the good jobs!

This is important as an historical milestone (sic) in our pursuit of improved facilities. One day we will look back and remember the old days when…

To make these measurements I first had to locate all the candidate cycleways. I started at the WCC website, but it was too vague and only listed five cycleways. Then at the suggestion of SimonK, I planned a short trip on journeyplanner and compiled a list of the “shared paths” and “cycle paths” shown on the resulting journey map.

I limited the “paths” I measured to all-weather sealed type cycleways. These are the cycleways used by everyday commuters (like me),  so:

  • no forest tracks (need to get to work on time);
  • no downhills (gulp);
  • and no bus lanes, although there might be the odd useful one…

Finally came the fun part of pedalling and sightseeing.

Image credit: Nigel Prentice

Here is what I recorded.


Route name Date prepared: August 2011 Shared Path (m) Cycle Lane (m)
Kaiwhara’ Expressway Bottom of Ngauranga Gorge to Railway Station 3500 1600
The Waterfront Railway Station to Herd St 2000
Civic Square Branch 440
Jervois Bridge Branch 130
Queens Wharf Branch 150
Whitmore Branch 30
Waitangi Park Branch 180
The Oriental Herd St to Carlton Gore Rd 1200
Evans Bay Carlton Gore Rd to Cobham Dr (Zephyrometer) 1700 2400
Cobham Cobham Dr (Zephyrometer) to Maupuia Rd (Miramar Cutting) 1620
Coutts Cobham Dr (Zephyrometer) to Broadway/Miro St/Airport 1860 890
Island Bay Reef St to Medway St (IsBay shops) 1100
The Tunnel Taurima St to Brougham St 950
The Bypass Buckle St to Buller St 200 1000
The Basin Beside the cricket pitch 350
Aotea Quay Beside the Westpac Stadium (estimate due to RWC works) 400
Cable Car Link Cable Car to Salamanca Rd (feature picture) 440
TOTALS 15150 6990


So there we have it, a grand total of 22.14km, with most of the cycleway distance on shared paths (68%).

One commentator to the original Well Exactly (Malcolm) made a comparison with the grand total in Christchurch. On the face of it, these figures would bear him out. However Wellington is a compact city so comparisons have to be pro rata. The factors here include land area, population base, hilliness, and wind! But even that could be stretching credibility a bit too far, yeah right, and well exactly.

It looks too little to me, or did I miss something?



Friday fun film – No, really, don’t park there

Arturas Zuokas isn’t just an avid cyclist, he’s the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital city. His office recently received over 100 complaints about cars parked in the bike lanes, but these complaints seemed to be disproportionately against luxury cars, whose drivers apparently aren’t concerned about the cost of a parking ticket.

“What should this city do about drivers who think they are above the law? It seems a tank is the best solution.”

“That’s what will happen if you park your car illegally”