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