Island Bay cycle routes

31 08 2013

The good news is that Wellington City Council is consulting on a preferred safe cycle route between the city and Island Bay. Cycling Aware Wellington organised a successful public meeting to garner local support and got quite a turnout.

To get a good feel for the ride between the Island Bay and town have a look at one of the videos from Bike Everywhere

Current conditions

The route is generally flat on the Parade. The road is quite wide and there is more traffic as you head further north. At the southern end on the Parade there is a painted bike lane that puts cyclists right in the door zone.

The Parade

The Parade

Then through the village there are no marked lanes but it is 30km/hr zone and pretty safe.

North of the golf course through Berhampore the cycle lanes have disappeared and the road narrows and there are parked cars everywhere.

Adelaide Road at Chika St

Adelaide Road at Chika St

There’s a bit of a rise after the Britomart Street lights and the road is generally rising as it goes past Macalister Park. From Torquay Tce or so you can see the downhill all the way down Adelaide Road.

Adelaide Road at Torquay Tce

Adelaide Road at Torquay Tce

And Adelaide Road between Riddiford Street and the Basin Reserve is a very busy stretch of road, with bus lanes that can generally be ridden in.

Looking down Adelaide Road from the Riddiford St lights.

Looking down Adelaide Road from the Riddiford St lights.

Then it’s usually possible to ride through the Basin Reserve and on to Cambridge Terrace.

Riding through the Basin Reserve

Riding through the Basin Reserve

Alternative routes

In the Bike Everywhere video Ashley avoided the hill which is steepest around Waipori Street by taking a detour on Luxford, Rintoul and Riddiford Streets.

On this map below:

The light green line is the most direct, and hilliest route to Island Bay, completely along Adelaide Road.
The light blue is the Luxford and Rintoul route (with an eastern part of Waipori St marked also)
The red line is perhaps my preferred route
The pink line is Alexandra Road which southbound could be a commuter route.and the green lines are other routes.
Island Bay routes
My preferred route is through Newtown on Riddiford St and then up Russell Tce and through the golf course down to the Parade. This also means the route to Houghton Bay is improved too.

Russell Tce looking South

Russell Tce looking South

What I think should be built

On the Parade in Island Bay it would be nice to change the current painted cycle lanes into protected separated green lanes, but I think this is less of a priority than some improvements further north in the route.

I wouldn’t waver from the highest quality cycle infrastructure that could be built. This is going to be the showcase project that is going to change Wellington. People in other suburbs are going to see what can be done and demand it too. This is the project that is going to change the modal share dramatically. This is going to get bums on bike seats, reducing congestion in a big way.

On Cambridge and Kent Terraces using the central medians and/or 1 lane of parked cars next to the median (presently there are 4 lanes of on-road parkingon Cambridge-Kent!!!), build completely separated bidirectional cycle lanes  all the way from the Basin Reserve to the Waterfront.

Similarly the John, Wallace, Taranaki street route I’d give separate cycle lanes.

Adelaide Road between the Basin Reserve and Riddiford Street gets the full separated cycle lane treatment so the bus and cycle lanes are separate like this picture I knicked from the Christchurch Cycle Guide Design Guidelines. I can’t think of a good reason to keep any car parking on Adelaide Road along this stretch at all.


Through all of Newtown on the lengths of Riddiford and Constable Streets I’d do separate green lanes over the whole lot keeping on street parking only where there is room. This should also be the light rail route (but that is another post for another time). Riddiford Street for the routes to Island and Houghton Bays and Constable Street for all routes east.

Then with a little less priority than the above I’d also put separated lanes along the length of Russell Terrace.

Then I’d build an off-road paved cycle route through the golf course. The golf course holes can be redesigned around the cycle route, or vice versa, or a bit of both.

Some of the alternative routes on Adelaide Road through Berhampore (as marked above on the map in light green), on Rintoul, Luxford and Waipori Streets (as marked in light blue) I’d also look at making for safer riding with separated cycle lanes as well. I wouldn’t build just the one route to Island Bay, but all the alternatives. i.e by improving the route to Island Bay it’s not just Island Bay and Berhampore that should get quality bike infrastructure, but Mt Cook, Cambridge-Kent, Newtown and Kilbirnie too. This project should transform Te Aro and the whole of the southern and eastern suburbs and completely change the character of the city. Not bad for strategically building 10 kilometres of separated cycle infrastructure.


Unleashing pent up demand for cycling by building separated cycle lanes

30 08 2013

Here’s an infographic from Momentum Mag of how building separated cycle lanes in certain North American cities has unleashed pent up demand for cycling along those routes.

Bike_Lane_Infographic2smallBuilding quality cycle infrastructure seems to get bums on bike seats, which means less bums on car seats. They improve cyclist safety and reduce congestion. Smart cities build protected bike lanes.

Christchurch’s Cycle Design Guidelines

30 08 2013

If you’ve not seen the Christchurch City Council’s Cycle Design Guidelines yet they make for some very interesting reading.

It gives hope that we are going to end up with quality, safe cycle infrastructure in New Zealand cities.

Dutch style intersections

Dutch style intersections

One style of separated cyclelane

One style of separated cycle lane

Now central government should come to the party, wind back the wasteful spending on its RoNS monstrosities and fund quality bike infrastructure in every decent sized town and city in the country. If it takes a change of government next year then that’s what it takes. Read the document, and if its what you want in your town too, then spread the word and help chuck out Messrs Key, Brownlee and Joyce. Vote for a party that is going to help make it happen.


San Francisco and Bay cities now have bikeshare

29 08 2013

Of interest is that the Bay Area Bike Share scheme has started up this month in San Francisco plus some surrounding cities like Palo Alto and San Jose. They’re using Bixi bikes. Bixi is now known as the Public Bike System Company.

sanfranbikeshareIn Wellington bike share coupled with greenlaning some separated cycle lanes through the CBD (like on Featherston St) will go a long way to helping with the Wellington railway station stopping short of most places in the CBD problem. Wellington needs bikeshare.

The PBSC’s motto is “Changing the World One City as a Time” and bike share is happening in some of the most important and hippest cities. Why isn’t Wellington similarly important and hip?

Why add lanes to Cobham Drive?

27 08 2013

Anyone else think 6 lanes for cars on Cobham Drive is just overkill?



There’s not that much stuff over on the Miramar Peninsula, and it’s not like people are missing planes at Welly airport because of heavy congestion. Is 6 lanes on an arterial road that is perfectly fine at 4 lanes indicative of just how much transport funding priorities are spectacularly unbalanced under the RoNS programme? Wouldn’t this excessive bit of infrastructure be an example of government waste that would be very easy to cut?

Heavy congestion eastbound on Cobham Dve on a Saturday afternoon.

Heavy congestion eastbound on Cobham Dve on a Saturday afternoon. If only there was an added lane.




There just aren’t enough bicycle lockers in Wellington

27 08 2013

You may be familiar with the style of bike locker that is used across the Wellington rail system.

They are double ended, with a plywood divider diagonally across each block, hence what looks like 6 lockers can actually store 12 bikes. You can apply to hire one on a long term basis and here is the info of how to do it.
Bike Lockers
But what might surprise you is how very few there actually are. Most stations don’t have any. There might be another style of bike racks, but you’d be pretty brave to lock up any nice bicycles for a whole day on one of the mushroom style racks.

Bike Racks

Here’s a list of how many bike lockers there are in Wellington at each train station by line:

Crofton Downs – zero
Ngaio – zero
Awarua Street – zero
Simla Crescent – zero
Box Hill – zero
Khandallah- zero
Raroa- zero
Johnsonville- zero
Total Johnsonville Line — zero

Takapu Road- zero
Redwood- zero
Tawa- zero
Linden- zero
Kenepuru- zero
Porirua -4
Paremata- zero
Mana- zero
Plimmerton – 4
Pukerua Bay- zero
Paekakariki – 4
Paraparaumu -24
Waikanae- zero
Total Kapiti Line – 36

Otaki – 4
Levin – zero
Shannon – zero
Palmerston North – zero
Total Capital Connection (beyond Paraparaumu) – 4

Petone- 8
Western Hutt- zero
Melling – 4
Ava- zero
Woburn- zero
Waterloo -22
Epuni- zero
Naenae- zero
Wingate- zero
Taita- zero
Pomare- zero
Manor Park- zero
Silverstream- zero
Heretaunga- zero
Trentham – 4
Wallaceville – 4
Upper Hutt – 26
Total Melling and Hutt Valley Line – 68

Maymorn- zero
Featherston- zero
Woodside- zero
Matarawa- zero
Carterton- zero
Solway- zero
Renall Street- zero
Masterton- zero

Total Wairarapa Line (beyond Upper Hutt) – zero

And Wellington Station has 12.

That is a total of 120 bicycle lockers across the whole of the Wellington Region. Or there is 1 bicycle locker for every 3330 people. That’s not very many especially since for many years people (and councils) have been talking about integrated transport policies, and you think the words may have translated into some kind of action. How many years have transport planners been talking about the last mile problem?

There is a particular shortage of them at Wellington Station, where perhaps they would be the most useful to add them. A lot of people would love to keep a bike at the station, especially since there isn’t any bike share in Wellington.

There’s plenty of car parks around the station that could be given over to bike lockers or if that’s a bridge too far then there’s plenty of room on the Cake Tin concourse to have many bike lockers installed. There’s probably demand for a couple hundred lockers. 12 is definitely way too few.

Taking myself as an example I’d keep a bike (and helmet) in town and like many others I’d pay for the privilege to do so. Presently sometimes I bring my bike on the train (but it’s a hassle). Sometimes I bring my foldable kick scooter (but it’s a hassle too). Sometimes I walk on from the station (but it’s too slow), sometimes I’ll get on a bus (and that’s even slower), and sometimes I drive into town (and add to the congestion). But having a bike in town means my preferred way of getting to work would be by train and then I’d ride my bike onwards along the waterfront or down Featherston St.

And just about every station in the region would have the demand for a few more than they’ve already got.

It’s probably time for the GWRC to add many more bike lockers across the network. Really Porirua only has 4 !!!!

Post a comment if there is a station you’d use a locker at.

Alexandra Road as a commuter bicycle route

24 08 2013

The earthquake of Friday before last held some interesting lessons. The first is the sense of calm one feels perched under a desk whilst the pictures on the wall are swinging like drunken pendulums. The second is that when the whole of the city decides it’s time to go home all at once then Wellington is well and truly gridlocked. Like everyone I experienced the gridlock, but I got to see it from a variety of angles.

Friday morning was one where I wasn’t telecommuting, so I had to haul my butt out of bed in time to make the train, but I was running a few minutes late, so I missed the train (luckily it seems with the post-quake cancellation of trains) and with the next train more than half an hour away I thought I’d have to drive into town or be super late for work. The normal place in town where I’d pay to park for the day is now too chokkas for me, with all the refugees from the multilevel carparks that are still closed since the July earthquake, so on the way in, I wondered where I’d park. Down Oriental Parade is too expensive for the day so I had a brainwave. I’ve got my foldable kick scooter in the back, why not park up Mt VIctoria. I could ride the scooter down the hill into town, and then fold it up in the evening and catch the Mt Vic bus to get up the hill. The first part of the plan was definitely fun. Coming down Palliser Road, Hawker Street and Majoribanks Street on a kick-scooter doesn’t take long, and even riding my brakes I was still going faster than the cars. Whoosh!!!!  Then in the afternoon the earthquake struck and after a couple of the aftershocks we were all allowed home. I grabbed my scooter and waited for the Mt VIc bus. Hardly any buses were coming through the gridlock in town, and the ones that did were all going elsewhere and were sardine-tinned up. So with a combination of walking and riding my scooter up the hill I got back up, with somewhat aching thighs (only to join the car based gridlock). It was just a tad more hard work going up the hill than down. On the way up there were a lot of people walking. Some may have been regular walkers, but most were probably stuck because of the lack of buses.

It occurs to me that a lot of Wellington isn’t that far from other places, and the terrain is a bit hilly, so large buses going hell for leather on narrow, hilly roads lined with parked cars isn’t perhaps the only way that public transport should be provisioned. And with all the walkers and good cycling then active transport could be assisted with improving a few key routes, proper signage, and the strategic placement of staircases, footpaths, cycle paths, and aerial gondolas.

Aerial gondola cabins big enough to take a wheelchair or a couple of bikes, which when overflying houses or flats, they can use smartglass to protect privacy.

One such place that I think would be a great place to put an aerial gondola is from the Freyberg Pool on Oriental Parade to near the summit of Mount Victoria. With a tower placed somewhere near the east side of the monastery a two station, one intermediary route could probably be found. The price to ride would be the same as a snapper fare on a bus, and not rip-off tourist prices as this is for transport, not just for tourism.

St Gerard's Monastery

St Gerard’s Monastery

The views would be pretty magnificent on the way up.

City from Mt Victoria

City from Mt Victoria

There are four reasons I can think of to have an Oriental Parade to Mt Vic aerial gondola:

One – for tourists to get to Mount Victoria, but that is probably the most boring reason.

Two – to support Mt Victoria, Roseneath and Hataitai locals getting around by foot, or with foldable kick scooters or by bike. They ride downhill from their homes to town in the morning, and then in the evening they ride in a gondola cabin to the summit, and then ride downhill to their homes.

Three – Mt Victoria has some mad mountain biking. Mountain bikers ride to the top on the gondola and then do their mountain biking back down.

Four – Alexandra Road leading south from the summit along the ridge line  is a very quiet road perfectly safe route for cycling. Heading south it is effortless.

Looking south down Alexandra Road

Looking south down Alexandra Road

Heading north it is a bit of a long grunt uphill.

Looking up Alexandra Road

Looking up Alexandra Road

And the views are pretty spectacular:

View to the airport
For southbound and eastbound bicycle commuters from town to Kilbirnie, Newtown, Lyall Bay, Melrose and the Miramar Peninsula  if there was the aerial gondola up the mountain and then they coast down Alexandra Road  then they’d save a few minutes getting home and be in a safer and more pleasant riding environment.

It also highlights the need to have Constable Street and Crawford Road as safe cycle routes.

Heading northwards most cyclists (apart from the fit ones) would probably take a different route, and then if that’s where you’re heading they’d probably ride the Palliser-Hawker-Majoribanks route rather than getting on the gondola.

Between reasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 it is probably reason enough to build it.