The Low Hanging Fruit of the Kapiti Coast

14 10 2013

I had to go do something at Coastlands and it was a nice day for a ride so I thought I’d ride down and take some photos of the new bike lanes around Rimu Road. I started from Waikanae Beach and crossed the bridge to Otaihanga, which now a sign says it is ok for mopeds to use if they dismount. Well I can vouch mopeds use it, and they don’t dismount. (And yes I did this ride the day I wrote The small Engine Menace and what we can do about it. That’s just the way the universe works).

I rode through the newish subdivision and down Manly St to Paraparaumu Beach and got up on the shared path built by the Rotary Club leading south. My impression was that it is a nice walking path, but it’s a bit too narrow to be a shared path. It is impossible to ride more than a few metres before having to go around the clueless pedestrians and onto the grass. My advice here for cyclists is to ride on the road. It is a nice place to bring a kid on or just off their training wheels though.

It's not quite wide enough

It’s not quite wide enough to be a shared path.

Then I rode up the Wharemauku Tack up to Coastlands. The track was muddy and puddled in parts. There’s a newly landscaped and wetland section that finishes on Rimu Rd just opposite the bike shop.

Wharemauku Stream

Wharemauku Stream

The painted green lane on Rimu Road is discontinuous, but is painted green where there is likely to be conflict with vehicles)

Rimu Rd bike lane

Rimu Rd bike lane

The path isn’t necessarily that wide, and it feels like cyclists have been shoehorned into the gutter. But the important dotted yellow line meaning no parking is a great thing where it exists. At the intersection of Kapiti Road this is one place that would have benefited greatly from an advanced stop box. It is always heavy traffic on this part of Rimu Road and almost impossible to get out to the right lane.

Kapiti Ride (11)

The path west on Kapiti Road is similarly narrow and in the gutter. I suppose it is all better than no painted lane at all.

I swung back past the new aquatic centre and the library and got back onto the Wharemauku Stream Track. The bike stands at the aquatic centre are quite nice. I think a new bridge across the creek at the western end of the library would be a great thing.
Kapiti Ride (1)

I took the branch around the west side of the aerodrome. The track quality deteriorates, but it joins up to streets back in Paraparaumu Beach.

So here is what I think is low hanging fruit. All the Wharemauku Stream tracks and the tracks around the west side of the aerodrome should be paved and formed so they don’t suffer from puddles. (The land around the airport is owned by the airport, but they seem to be good corporate citizens in that they already allow access). Solar powered lighting could light the track for the first few hours of darkness each night. The benefit would be linking Raumati and Paraparaumu Beach to what effectively is the town centre, Coastlands and the train station. Yes it already does link it already, but improving it into a commuter class cycleway to me is a no-brainer. Why would anyone not want a community asset such as a high quality off road cycle track linking the villages?

SignModified2But of course there is a giant bloody motorway getting built. But here is a picture I knicked from the NZTA project website:

Looking East

Looking East

There is no reason that the Wharemauku path can’t be paved now. It is just going to go under the bridge, and the new path on the northside of the motorway is going to cross it. On the map above the motorway is shown in blue, and the red lines are bits of cyclepath.

Funny how they can spend billions on roads, but find it hard to fund even the most basic of cycle facilities. The paint is nice, (but not always) but it really seems to be more a sop to motorists rather than doing something for cyclists.

Other low hanging fruit of the Kapiti Coast – Paving the Waikanae River Paths (or at least one side of them) again to turn it into commuter standard cycleway and making a decent commuter cycleway across Queen Elizabeth Park.

Paraparaumu Beach cyclists

Paraparaumu Beach cyclists





3 responses

18 05 2014
Jay Wincer

As a ‘clueless pedestrian’, what can I do to better share the path? What are your expectations?

18 05 2014

Jay, Pedestrians are clueless because of a lack of eyes in back of their heads. Pedestrians I think shouldn’t have to worry about cyclists, so when there are pedestrians I will slow down. There are just two pedestrian behaviours that are annoying. One is when they hear a bell and jump in the way. The bell is a courtesy, and isn’t a please move bell, rather it’s a I’ve going around you and don’t want to startle you. The only really annoying one is to have a dog on a long lead and have the dog on one side and the human on the other with the lead across the path.

20 02 2015
Ian Witham

The more I ride in Paraparaumu the more problems I see with the existing cycle infrastructure. For example, the Rimu Road cycle lane approaching the Kapiti Road lights are often unusable as waiting cars “make room” for the right turning traffic by queuing on the cycle lane. Fortunately this happens with such monotonous predictability that I’ve got plenty of time to turn off at the library and avoid the intersection altogether.

Around Kapiti Road and Te Roto drive, “Cycle lane begins” and “Cycle lane ends” signs pop up at seemingly random intervals which bear no relationship to where cycle lanes have actually been painted on the road. On one stretch of Kapiti Road the cycle lane really does seem to end with no warning — turning into roadside parking which is only ever used by sign-written vehicles advertising the likes of Pita Pit and Palms Cafe.

At first glance there appears to be infrastructure everywhere but much of it is subpar and inconsistent. It’s a common sight in this town to see grown adults cycling on the footpath, and I’m starting to see why.

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