Monday, May 27, 2024

Wellington pushes ahead with bike improvements

Wellington City Council has approved plans to complete the Newtown to city transport route.

Council says the decision of the the Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee gives the go-ahead to quicker and more reliable bus trips and safer biking between Wellington Hospital and the waterfront.

The committee made the decision after considering recent community feedback, which found that 69% of respondents supported or strongly supported proposed interim bus and bike improvements on Riddiford Street, Adelaide Road and Cambridge and Kent terraces.

The decision means the Council will install:

  • 24/7 bus lanes along Adelaide Road (both directions);
  • extended hours for bus lanes on Kent Terrace and Cambridge Terrace (7am–9am and 4pm–6pm on both streets, Monday to Friday);
  • three more bus stop platforms like the ones already in place near the hospital;
  • separated bike lanes on both sides of Adelaide Road and Riddiford Street, as far as Mein Street;
  • a two-way bike lane between the Basin Reserve and the waterfront via Cambridge Terrace and a short section of Kent Terrace;
  • closed u-turn areas on Kent and Cambridge terraces;
  • ·no right turn from Cambridge Terrace into Pirie Street;
  • a new signalised pedestrian crossing between the central median islands at the Vivian Street/Cambridge Terrace intersection;
  • a new signalised diagonal bike crossing from Cambridge Terrace to Kent Terrace at the Courtenay Place intersection.

Councillors also passed a number of amendments for Council officers to report back on monitoring once the changes are installed, particularly the impact on local businesses; update Council on plans to educate bus stop users and how the bus stops are used; work with Let’s Get Wellington Moving to develop permanent upgrades as soon as practicable to eliminate the need for shared paths; continue to work with willing local businesses to understand what signs might direct customers to available parking; and with disability and walking groups during and after the installation.

More short-term time restrictions for some of the existing parking on side streets and relocated loading zones will help to mitigate the impact of parking removal along the route, Council said in a statement.

“The committee’s decision reflects the commitments the Council has already made to lower emissions, improve bus journey times and reliability, and develop a safe, citywide bike network as quickly as possible,” said Council’s Chief Planning Officer, Liam Hodgetts.

“We’re grateful to the more than 1800 people in the community, representing individuals, businesses, and groups, who provided feedback on the plans.

“The mix of views and local knowledge has helped to shape these interim changes. Along with the insights we’ll gain from having these interim improvements completed, the feedback will help ensure the route is the best it can be until permanent changes are made by Let’s Get Wellington Moving.”

Changes made to the original draft plans in response to community feedback include traffic signal, lane and parking changes near the Mein/Hall/Riddiford intersection, more pick-up and drop-off parking spaces near Newtown School, adjustments to some loading zones, and adding metered parking in the closed-off u-turn area near 59 Kent Terrace, on Kent and Cambridge.

In response to public feedback, Councillors also agreed to a proposal for a separate traffic resolution that would extend the bus lane hours on Kent and Cambridge to 24/7. This would further improve bus travel times and reliability and be consistent with the bus lanes on Adelaide Road and Riddiford Street, Council said.

Installation of interim bus and bike improvements on the Newtown route temporarily stopped in May following a legal challenge. The Council reached an agreement with the group which had sought a judicial review. The agreement included a commitment to consult using the traditional traffic resolution process which has now happened. 

Depending on contractor availability, the installation work could resume from October and take several months, Council said.

More information about the route is available at transportprojects.org.nz/newtown.

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