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

 

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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.

Busstops

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.