This is the first in a series of ideas for Wellington, which will be mostly bicycle, and public transport related.
For the people bringing us the Great Harbour Way finding a safe, pleasant and interesting bicycle route between Kaiwharawhara Point and the red lighthouse thingie opposite Ballance Street on the waterfront is a bit quandrous. You’ve got the railway, the motorway, busy roads, and a working port in between. The Boffa Miskell report on the Great Harbour Way has two routes marked, a new route below the motorway and along Aotea and Waterloo Quays, which is a super busy road, and along Hutt Road and Thorndon Quay, which is a busy road and heaps sucky to ride along. Are there any other options?
Well yep, I think there is. The Cake Tin concourse. The Cake Tin aka Westpac Trust Stadium has it’s big concrete concourse linking it to the railway station. It’s called the Fran Wilde Walk, and it sits over railway tracks and car parks. It is 640 metres long, and is a sterile concrete environment. At it’s northern end is the stadium. At it’s southern end is the railway station with ramps down to the platforms. Onto Thorndon Quay in the south there is a staircase down, and there is a cyclable spiral ramp. In the east there is a cyclable ramp over Waterloo Quay.
With one new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians to get down from the concourse onto Thorndon Quay at Davis Street (near the VTNZ) then the section of Thorndon Quay running past the Freedom and Early Settler furniture stores need not have bike facilities, as everyone can ride up the ramp and get onto the concourse.
So that minimum of one new bridge would be of benefit and the laneway from the bottom of the existing ramp over Waterloo Quay could have a bike path painted on (yes, at the expense of the carparks, shock horror) to link it down to Shed 21 and then onto Queens Wharf.
Or a second ramp over Waterloo Quay in the south eastern corner would make the concourse even more useful.
From the 4 ramps, across the concourse blue bike paths can be painted on, linking all four of them. There is plenty of room that pedestrians and bikes aren’t going to get in each other’s way (even on the ramps, and even on game days). It is perfectly reasonable to let bikes go up and down the ramps to the platform, and because of their narrowness, it is perfectly reasonable to ask cyclists to demount.
Because the concourse is up higher than the traffic and away from the noise, and there are interesting views it would actually be very pleasant to walk or ride on the concourse rather than one of the nearby roads, but it is a bit of a sterile environment. Some planter boxes wouldn’t go astray.
Then there is still the problem of a safe bike route between the harbourfront cycleway at Kaiwharawhara Point and Davis Street on Thorndon Quay, which need not necessarily have to be on the road or the footpath of Thorndon Quay and Hutt Road. I’m sure we can do better than that, like a landscaped track being made through the railway yards. But that is a different idea for a different time.
As for all that space on the concourse, a bike share scheme station, near the stadium entrance gates would also be great, but for that we need a bike share scheme, and for a bike share scheme we need to get rid of mandatory helmet laws.