Thursday, May 23, 2024

Botanic Garden route boosts Wellington pedal power

Street changes between Wellington’s Botanic Garden ki Paekākā and the waterfront show that more people are making the move to pedal power and feeling safer as they do so, Wellington City Council says.

The 1.4km route travels from the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā down Bowen Street and along Whitmore Street to the waterfront, and includes sections of shared bus/bike lane, as well as a separated uphill bike lane and an in-lane bus stop. The changes followed on from significant pedestrian upgrades at the intersection of Bowen Street and The Terrace which were delivered as part of the now-dissolved Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme.  

Council says sensor data shows a 27.5% increase in people biking and scootering following the changes, and while the number of trips using share scheme scooters and bikes had decreased across the rest of the city, user rates were up along Bowen Street and Tinakori Road where the changes have been made.  

Feedback from people using the route also showed that 74% of people riding felt safer thanks to the new street layout. 

“The aim of our programme is to increase low carbon journeys, improve real and perceived user safety, increase the diversity of people biking and using other forms of micromobility, and deliver improvements faster,” says Transitional Programme manager, Claire Pascoe.

Person on a bike cycling up the road on a bike path.

“We’re proud to have met each one of these aims with our first completed route.” 

The project was delivered using a ‘transitional’ approach – using adaptable materials to get changes installed quickly so people could benefit sooner. In just 18 months, the project went from initial conception through to full installation – a process which usually takes between three to six years, the Council says.

“We’ve been engaging with the community from the outset – gathering their feedback on what it was like to travel in the area before we had designs, through to consultation on the designs, and then coming back after the installation to understand their experience and any tweaks they’d suggest,” says Ms Pascoe.

“But in terms of actual changes, the main thing we heard was that people wanted to change the bus stop near the Bowen and Tinakori street intersection.” 

“Using adaptable materials was a cornerstone of Council’s rapid roll-out approach, meaning not only could they install the changes more quickly and at a lower cost, but also be able to test the design in real-time and tweak things as required.

“We used temporary materials to install an in-lane bus stop on the corner of Bowen Street and Tinakori Road, so that we could test the design and adapt it as required.”

“We’ve worked closely with the disability community and developed a more inclusive design, which will replace the current temporary bus stop using permanent materials. We’re also taking the opportunity to relocate the stop uphill several metres and back out of the lane to improve traffic flow from the intersection through to the next planned in-lane bus stop and upgraded pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the Botanic Garden.” 

Both of the bus stop changes will be delivered as part of the work on Council’s Karori Connections project, which will complete the western connection from the waterfront past Botanic Garden ki Paekākā through to south Karori.  

The Council says it will continue to monitor some of the data in the report to better understand how bike, bus and pedestrian changes have delivered on the four goals of more low-carbon journeys, safety, diversity, and speed of delivery, particularly as the network extends into more suburbs. 

View the full report on the Transport Projects website.

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