Featherston St bike lanes

10 08 2013

There is a need for a safe CBD cycle route south from the railway station that is faster than the waterfront. The waterfront is a bit slow and it bypasses a lot of the places in the CBD people want to go. The Waterloo, Customhouse, Jervois Quays route is too busy a road and Lambton Quay is for buses and pedestrians, which leaves Featherston St. It’s quite a heavy pedestrian route as it is the shortest walking route to the southern end of Lambton Quay and to Willis and Victoria Street. It is a one way street going southwards and it has parking on both the left and the right hand side of the road. In the mornings the left hand side is a clearway. It is an secondary car route with motorists coming off Thorndon Quay or Bowen St and usually going to parking structures in the CBD. It has two car lanes. The businesses lining the street rely more on foot traffic than any of their customers using car parking on the street and some bike parking would bring more potential customers than any car parking.

It would benefit greatly from two way separated bike lanes on the left hand side instead of the parking. Here’s a graphic I made with StreetMix.


There’s plenty of room here:

FeatherstonSt 4

and here:
Featherston St

and here:

Featherston St (1)
The CBD does need to have safe separated cycle lanes to encourage all levels of cyclists out of their cars. Cycling in heavy traffic is a huge turnoff to a lot of people,  and if there are safer places to ride, then we can argue for bike share for Wellington. The city needs a continuous network of separated cycle lanes (similar to as I drew on that bike share post), and building them along Featherston St is a start.

Here’s an example of a similar situation in Vancouver, with a one way street and a dual way cycle path:





11 responses

10 08 2013
Ricky Pincott

Unfortunately, due to the need to also have enough loading zone spaces for couriers and other service vehicles , you’ll basically end up with NO car parking for your model. Not that I’m against it, just pointing out.

10 08 2013

Ricky, The loading zones on the left side of the road and indeed the taxi zone further along could all be put on the right hand side, and no it won’t take up all of the right hand side parking. On street parking is often the least economically beneficial use of street space, and on a highly pedestrianised street like Featherston st it definitely is not the best use of space. There is other on street parking close by on Brandon and Grey St etc. and there are parking structures everywhere. Wellington has a high provision of parking by world standards, it’s not like there is a lack of parking space. And the cycle lanes will encourage more people in on bikes, and there is probably quite a bit of latent demand for safe cycling infrastructure. Elsewhere in the world when bike lanes have been built, often without a real idea of demand, cyclists have flocked to them.

10 08 2013
Ricky Pincott

Have a close look under how over utilised the current loading zones on both sides of the road and how there actually needs to be more. Add in the taxi’s and you’ll end up with perhaps 2 parking spots a block.
And as I said, I’m not against your point I’m just pointing out.

10 08 2013
Cr Paul Bruce

This would be a huge step forward. Removing the parking on one side would improve the traffic flow. Slow driving cars looking for parks constantly block the traffic. And the cycle way could be used for loading due night hours when there were less cyclists.

I find it difficult to understand why the city hasnt been already mapped out for cycle paths, as there is plenty of evidence of the benefits that would come from that.


10 08 2013

No the bike lanes couldn’t be used for loading at night. They would be physically separated by preferably concrete planters full of plants. And cyclists will use them 24 hours. There aren’t supposed to be obstacles like trucks and light poles in the cycle lanes (like the awful bikepath to Kaiwharawhara). That is the point to them.

But as you say it would improve traffic flows because people wouldn’t be slowing and cruising for parks.

10 08 2013
Richard Stephens

Almost collected a door prize biking along here on Friday. The lady who opened the door on me won’t be doing it again in a hurry, she went pale as and so was apologetic.

The other thing I had to contend with was taxis and courier vans parked in the roadway blocking the road.

I don’t normally bike through the CBD as it is unsafe but had meetings in Newtown. Normally I lock the bike up at the railway station.

10 08 2013

Good thing it was an almost.

Your little anecdote emphasises why separated cycle lanes are such a good idea on a street like Featherston St.

Thanks for sharing Richard

12 08 2013

I realise that your mock-up is for illustrative purposes and to stimulate discussion about the merits of a bike lane on Featherston St, but I just wondered about the dimensions. The two bike lanes are 3.6m wide but the current parking space is narrower – would the footpaths be narrowed or the car lanes? Would it be feasible to have a two way bike lane only the current width of the car parks?

I think Richard’s anecdote spells out the benefits of inner city cycle lanes! Sometimes you need to have slalom skills to negotiate the hazards!

12 08 2013

No Jacob, , I haven’t got out a measuring tape for every last detail. Maybe the footpath can be a few cm narrower since the bike lanes would buffer the pedestrians from the vehicle traffic. Maybe a few cm off the car lanes is allowable. I dunno. Details.

12 08 2013

I think that is where most of the opposition is, the details. As this blog consistently demonstrates, there are clear benefits from cycle lanes and in principle I think there is a clear majority in support. The opposition is people fearing a loss of car parks mainly, and I agree for Featherston St this isn’t much of a loss given the limited parking anyway and that most people shop on foot in the CBD.

I’d like to see a plan from Council that shows connected cycle lanes that meaningfully take people from point A to B. Only once you have a “start to end” journey will safety be ensured and cycling be really promoted. The Featherson St mock up is great for stimulating discussion about how these can be incorporated through the inner city.

13 08 2013

I’ve always thought Featherston St would be a good place for a seperated cycleway. Its desperately needed. There is already a pseudo-motorway on the waterfront so its not like there is a shortage of vehicle lanes.

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