Saturday, July 20, 2024

NZ-first bus boarding platforms take shape in capital

The first of a series of innovative new bus boarding platforms made from recycled plastic are set to be unveiled on Wellington’s Riddiford Street in what is a NZ-first for the Spanish-made platforms.

The modular platforms are part of the bus and bike improvements beginning to take shape between Newtown and the waterfront, and are an innovative way to make changes required at some bus stops, Wellington City Council said in a statement.

It says the footpath-height, accessible platforms will allow people to get on and off buses safely and cross the new bike lanes to the footpath.

Mayor Andy Foster says Wellingtonians have made it clear over many years that they want it to be easier and more convenient to get around in zero or low carbon ways.

“This includes our commitment to get public transport priority in key locations and a citywide network of safe bike routes and connections in place as fast as possible,” he said.

Wellington City Council transitional programme manager, Claire Pascoe says the colourful new platforms are an example of the types of adjustable materials being used along the route so people can experience the new layout, and then provide feedback.

“On this route, we’re looking forward to hearing what people think in a few months’ time once everything’s in place between Newtown and the waterfront,” she said.

Ms Pascoe says a key reason the platforms were selected is because they have been designed to make areas where bike lanes and bus stops intersect as safe and accessible as possible.

“They’ve been tested all around the world and have won awards for sustainability and accessibility,” she said.

People on bikes will ride up low ramps over the platforms, and there will be signs and red markings to show where they need to slow down, take particular care and give way to pedestrians.

Example of bus and bike lane platform in other sites overseas
Examples of platforms overseas

The platforms come as prefabricated components – individual building blocks – so installation involves linking them together and bolting them to the ground.

They can be disassembled and reassembled elsewhere if required, or when they are replaced with more permanent street improvements. They can also be reconfigured to make different sized platforms and eventually be recycled.

Five new bus platforms will be assembled along Riddiford Street and Adelaide Road between Mein and Hall streets and the Basin Reserve as part of the installation of the new bike and 24/7 bus lanes.

The first and longest platform will be assembled outside Wellington Hospital in two sections.

Starting last Friday, contractors Fulton Hogan began to position and bolt more than 1,000 pieces in place to create the 70m-long platform.

“We’ll be working at non-peak times and starting at the least used end of the bus stop as the workers follow the instructions and get used to putting these together,” Ms Pascoe says.

“There will be some temporary changes in place at the bus stop while the assembly work happens, but people will still be able to board and get off buses here. All going well, and weather permitting, installation should only take a few days.”

Another platform will go in across the road, two more on either side of Adelaide Road near Drummond Street, and a fifth on the citybound side near the Basin.

The ZICLA platforms, which use a system called Vectorial®, are made in Spain and have been successfully used around the world in recent years, including in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Portland in the United States, Canada, Spain, France, and Ireland.

It will be the first time they have been installed in New Zealand.

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