Sometimes I ride to work and like to start at Paekakariki, and ride the Coast Road, and climb the hill through Pukerua Bay and ride the Ara Harakeke Bikeway to Plimmerton and beyond, but sometimes I just think the traffic through Pukerua Bay will be intolerable, as it usually is.
The Coast Road is acceptable (kind of in a zone out the noise kind of way) and the Ara Harakeke Bikeway is great, but riding through Pukerua Bay is bloody awful. I feel sorry for all those Pukeruans who have to try to cross the highway to get to the train station with the endless stream of traffic. Someone should heed their call and build a pedestrian (and cyclist) underpass near the dairy and bookshop.
There’s some infrastucture work being done in Pukerua Bay right now, but it’s not to build the underpass and it isn’t to implement the Residents’ Association’s Village Plan, which calls for an improved cycle and pedestrian path on the north side of the highway. Here’s their plan:
Instead the walls of the highway where it goes over the gullied creeks are being strengthened for an expected increase in truck traffic. Lucky Pukerua Bay, hey? So I’ll add my voice to the calls from the Residents’ Association. How come the village plan is being ignored by the NZTA? It seems like the perfect opportunity to do both the wall strengthening and the pathway. It just seems that cars and trucks are important and pedestrians and cyclists aren’t. I think that’s the official policy. If you don’t weigh somewhere between 1.5 and 40 tonnes then you can get stuffed.
It really is a huge gap between the bikeway and the Coast Road. If you value your safety you tend to try to avoid riding through Pukerua Bay, and yes it is the main route out of Wellington north, and would presumably be a bit of the National Cycleway if the National Cycleway ever gets built.
Downhill when traffic is light it is easy to roll down on a bike at something approaching the speed limit (not that traffic stays within the speed limit in Pukerua Bay) so I’d rather be on the road. If the traffic is heavy I’d rather be on the footpath and it is signposted for cyclists in a few places. Uphill coming from the Coast Road if you want to ride on the road, you have to cross the road to get onto the left side, and then cross the road again to the start of the Ara Harakeke bikeway, which if the traffic is heavy (which it usually is) is a right pain between the butt cheeks. This is the footpath where therefore I’d ride up or down. It is also heavily used by small children getting walked to school and kindergarten. So the limited space is therefore congested.
Here are the temporary provisions for pedestrians and cyclists around the highway wall strengthening. You’d have to be foolhardy or brave to cycle on the road between the concrete walls and the trucks.
Even on the footpath the trucks are possibly the way you’re going to die:
The footpath is signposted for bikes here. There are still hazards though, such as traffic turning into Pukerua Bay Road (usually without indicators) who won’t slow down that much and the uncycleable switchbacks on the footpath.
The other end through Waimarino Rd is signposted for cyclists, but if you’re heading uphill with a sign indicating only a pedestrian you’d have to be psychic to know:
and the No Exit kind of hides the fact too:
But hiding on the back of the No Exit sign, where you cant see it, you guessed it:
The workmen working on the walls strengthening apparently eat a lot of beans:
Which is quite artistic, so I hope when they finish they donate the artwork to the gallery at the other end of the Ara Harakeke Bikeway, yep the Plimmerton Fart Gallery:
Poor old forgotten about, divided by a highway, over-trafficked Pukerua Bay.