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.

Wellington transport video

16 11 2012

STL Transit has turned their attention to Welly, from the first bus from Upper Hutt to the last bus going back to Eastbourne. You can even see the Seatoun Ferry if you don’t blink.

National’s White Elephant

18 08 2011

I should be writing bicycle posts, but I feel like I have to fight a rearguard action against stupidity, so I got out the Microsoft Paint. I got one of those stupid electorate junk mail thingies from Nathan Guy today, and not only was it brazen enough to announce a previously built railway as something that the government is going to fund, but it proudly announced it was going to piss $2.2 billion dollars up the wall building a Road of National’s Stupidity from Wellington Airport to Levin, including Transmission Gully.

Someone needs to stand up and say it: Transmission Gully is the biggest stinking pile of transport planning poo ever. It has a BCR of 30 cents in the dollar. i.e. only $300 million dollars of economic benefits for every billion dollars spent. And that is if it ever delivered on budget, which it won’t be. And a lot of those benefits would be of a couple saved minutes for Kapiti commuters getting home before dinner. Those kind of economic benefits shouldn’t even be measured, as those people made the mistake of  buying or renting in Kapiti and working in Wellington which is miles away, and why do we owe them extravagant sums for their bad decisions?

Can anyone tell me why a Pukerua Bay bypass and more frequent service on the Kapiti Line isn’t a better idea than spending a billion dollars plus?

Nathan Guy I won’t be voting for you, as you will be wasting money that the country doesn’t even have. Why doesn’t Mr Guy do something useful like creating jobs in Levin and Foxton which are still suffering from the loss of industries years ago? Or how about cleaning up air quality in Kapiti and Horowhenua by banning rural burnoffs?

And if you live in Porirua next time don’t make the mistake of voting in Nick Leggett as Mayor, a booster for the motorway barely out of nappies.

We want spending on safe separated bicycle infrastructure, not motorway boondoggles for mates in the trucking and construction industries. Did anyone hear what the people of Christchurch want for their rebuilt cities when they were asked? Cycleways, light rail and parks. That’s what everyone wants. Funnily enough the people of Christchurch didn’t ask for a stinking big useless motorway.

Could the Capital Connection run 3 times a day?

7 05 2011

Auckland Trains has been discussing putting rail to Hamilton. It makes a whole lot of sense to have regular rail service between those cities, New Zealand’s biggest, and 4th biggest. The Capital Connection has been doing the same kind of service about the same distance and between smaller cities quite successfully since 1991.

Currently the Capital Connection runs only on weekdays from Palmerston North to Wellington in the morning and in reverse in the evening, but Palmerston North (pop. 75,000) is only 140km from Wellington (pop. 180,000) and it passes through Porirua, Kapiti and the Horowhenua (combined pop. 125,000). It however doesn’t stop at Porirua!!!!

Why does the Capital Connection not stop at Porirua? Even the Wikipedia entry on the Capital Connection shows the train in Porirua. I would use it more if I could get on or off in Porirua. There must be a few people living in Levin and Otaki who work in Porirua who would use the train, and I would hazard a guess maybe even some in Palmie. I’ll send a link to this post to Porirua Mayor, Nick Leggett to see if he agrees.

It is quite a comfortable train to ride on, even if I do have to ride into Wellington, or get off in Waikanae or Paraparaumu to change onto the local train that will stop in Porirua. Here’s a piccie of the train heading north as I was walking to Paekakariki one day.

The Overlander does the trip in reverse, but it is the Auckland to Wellington train and I don’t think Tranzscenic market it as a Palmie to Wellington train at all. It leaves Wellington in the morning at 7.25am, stopping in Levin at 9.05am and Palmerston North at 9.45am. It also will pickup passengers in Porirua and Paraparaumu on the way. In the evening it leaves Palmie at 5pm, arriving in Wellington at 7.25pm. Yet the fare is $31 for a super saver or $54 for a flexi fare. The Capital Connection is $24.50 or $19.80 on a ten trip and there are monthly passes to make it cheaper still.

So branding part of the Overlander trip as Capital Connection and maybe having one of the CC style carriages and charging the same fares (maybe with the scope of stopping additionally at Shannon, Otaki and Waikanae) then there is a second Capital Connection service. At the other end of the line that carriage can come into its own again and similarly provide a Hamilton to Auckland service. 2 birds with one stone, as it were.

And what does the morning Capital Connection train do all day when it is in Wellington? Nothing. It is just stabled. So why not drop the number of carriages by a few, and then make a return run to Palmie and back.Suddenly there are now 3 services in each direction between Wellington and Palmerston North.

A summary timetable would approximately be:

Palmerston North  6.15am  1.00pm  5.00pm  
Shannon           6.38am  1.23pm  5.23pm       
Levin             6.53am  1.38pm  5.40pm
Otaki             7.13am  1.58pm  6.00pm
Waikanae          7.25am  2.10pm  6.12pm
Paraparaumu       7.32am  2.17pm  6.17pm
Porirua           8.03am  2.48pm  7.00pm
Wellington        8.20am  3.05pm  7.25pm

Wellington        7.25am  10.00am  5.15pm  
Porirua           7.42am  10.17am  5.32pm
Paraparaumu       8.20am  10.55am  6.03pm
Waikanae          8.27am  11.02am  6.10pm
Otaki             8.42am  11.17am  6.22pm
Levin             9.05am  11.37am  6.42pm   
Shannon           9.20am  11.52am  6.57pm
Palmerston North  9.45am  12.13pm  7.20pm

All done without any extra infrastructure, or any extra rolling stock, except for maybe an extra carriage on the Overlander. So a thrice daily service for the price of some extra staff, and some diesel.

Apparently back in 1994 extra middle of the day services were tried but were withdrawn because they weren’t being well patronised. It could be different with a 3rd service and it all being well marketed. The midday service to Wellington allows 2 hours and 10 minutes for shopping and running errands. It’d be tempting to ride the train and not drive into Wellington (or more likely not make the trip at all) if you were living in Otaki or Levin.

Did I mention it should stop at Porirua?

Oh and Levin’s plan to build a new station closer to Queen Street could then be well justified.

Micro-ferries for Porirua Harbour

4 04 2011

It seems Wellington Region’s public transport system is falling apart, with the GWRC busily working out how to shed hard-earned ridership, when it should be doing the opposite. So it hardly seems a good time to suggest extra services to be run, but surely someday they’ll get their act together.

A recent post on Human Transit about Vancouver’s micro-ferries got me thinking. (False Creek Ferries’ website) I do think Wellington’s water transport options are underdeveloped suggesting here about ferry services to Evan’s Bay and the Miramar Peninsula, and for a cycleway to Palmie a cycle ferry across the Manawatu.

I also think that on the recently renamed Kapiti Line there is a gap between Porirua and Paremata that should be filled with a new train station at Aotea, near the end of Whitford Brown Avenue, and there is that open little stretch of mostly flat and protected water over to Onepoto Park in Titahi Bay and I thought it would be nice, but maybe uneconomic to run a ferry between such a train station and the Onepoto bit of Titahi Bay. I hadn’t figured on the micro-ferries. The ones in use in Vancouver are 12 passenger electric boats with one skipper/operator. A 12 seater ferry meeting the trains and shuttling back and forth, now that would be quite good.

It reminds me a bit (only a bit) of the abras crossing the creek between Dubai and Deira in the U.A.E. They carry a few more than 12 passengers and have outboards but are the same kind of idea.

And then there are probably a few places around the Porirua and Pauatahanui inlets that could link either to a small wharf at a new Aotea station, or to a small wharf just north of Paremata station between the rail and road bridges, down near the rail bridge on the left in this photo.

It would be a pleasant way to travel. Walking down to the inlet, catching a micro-ferry to the wharf and catching the trains into town. It’s got to be better than going on a circuitous route through the back blocks of Whitby by bus.

Small micro-ferries could go to Takapuwahia and Onepoto from Aotea Station and from Paremata to somewhere in Camborne, near the end of Postgate Drive and near the end of James Cook Drive. A ferry able to take some larger waves could link up Paremata Station and the Plimmerton Boat Club. In the photo below a small wharf could be built past the boathouses near where there is pedestrian access down from Penryn Drive.

A map gimp-shotted from Google of what I’m talking about:

The rationale behind all this is that small local feeder services provide extra passengers at the train stations such that with extra ridership the train frequencies could be upped to 4 or 6 trains an hour instead of the current 2*. It’s a bit like the aerial gondola suggested on this post between Ngaio and Churton Park. It puts more people within walking distance of a part of the linked up network, and keeps people out of their cars.


*Train frequencies including day time and weekends (but not necessarily late night) should be a minimum 4 trains per hour on the Kapiti and Upper Hutt Lines. That is a target of service level we can only dream of the GWRC getting anywhere near.

Poor Old Pukerua Bay

2 02 2010

Sometimes I ride to work and like to start at Paekakariki, and ride the Coast Road, and climb the hill through Pukerua Bay and ride the Ara Harakeke Bikeway to Plimmerton and beyond, but sometimes I just think the traffic through Pukerua Bay will be intolerable, as it usually is.

The Coast Road is acceptable (kind of in a zone out the noise kind of way) and the Ara Harakeke Bikeway is great, but riding through Pukerua Bay is bloody awful. I feel sorry for all those Pukeruans who have to try to cross the highway to get to the train station with the endless stream of traffic. Someone should heed their call and build a pedestrian (and cyclist) underpass near the dairy and bookshop.

There’s some infrastucture work being done in Pukerua Bay right now, but it’s not to build the underpass and it isn’t to implement the Residents’ Association’s Village Plan, which calls for an improved cycle and pedestrian path on the north side of the highway. Here’s their plan:

Instead the walls of the highway where it goes over the gullied creeks are being strengthened for an expected increase in truck traffic. Lucky Pukerua Bay, hey? So I’ll add my voice to the calls from the Residents’ Association. How come the village plan is being ignored by the NZTA? It seems like the perfect opportunity to do both the wall strengthening and the pathway. It just seems that cars and trucks are important and pedestrians and cyclists aren’t. I think that’s the official policy. If you don’t weigh somewhere between 1.5 and 40 tonnes then you can get stuffed.

It really is a huge gap between the bikeway and the Coast Road. If you value your safety you tend to try to avoid riding through Pukerua Bay, and yes it is the main route out of Wellington north, and would presumably be a bit of the National Cycleway if the National Cycleway ever gets built.

Downhill when traffic is light it is easy to roll down on a bike at something approaching the speed limit (not that traffic stays within the speed limit in Pukerua Bay) so I’d rather be on the road. If the traffic is heavy I’d rather be on the footpath and it is signposted for cyclists in a few places. Uphill coming from the Coast Road if you want to ride on the road, you have to cross the road to get onto the left side, and then cross the road again to the start of the Ara Harakeke bikeway, which if the traffic is heavy (which it usually is) is a right pain between the butt cheeks. This is the footpath where therefore I’d ride up or down. It is also heavily used by small children getting walked to school and kindergarten. So the limited space is therefore congested.

Here are the temporary provisions for pedestrians and cyclists around the highway wall strengthening. You’d have to be foolhardy or brave to cycle on the road between the concrete walls and the trucks.

Even on the footpath the trucks are possibly the way you’re going to die:

The footpath is signposted for bikes here. There are still hazards though, such as traffic turning into Pukerua Bay Road (usually without indicators) who won’t slow down that much and the uncycleable switchbacks on the footpath.

The other end through Waimarino Rd is signposted for cyclists, but if you’re heading uphill with a sign indicating only a pedestrian you’d have to be psychic to know:

and the No Exit kind of hides the fact too:

But hiding on the back of the No Exit sign, where you cant see it, you guessed it:

The workmen working on the walls strengthening apparently eat a lot of beans:

Which is quite artistic, so I hope when they finish they donate the artwork to the gallery at the other end of the Ara Harakeke Bikeway, yep the Plimmerton Fart Gallery:

Poor old forgotten about, divided by a highway, over-trafficked Pukerua Bay.

Cycling the Coast Road with vigilante infrastructure?

29 01 2010

Between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki the road is part of State Highway 1, the main road out of Wellington, which is colloquially known as the Coast Road. It’s about 5 or 6km long. Although some cyclists brave the 80 kilometre per hour section with heavy traffic by riding on the road (especially southbound) the footpath on the seaward side of the road is a designated cycleway and can be ridden in either direction. It’s narrow, and almost impossible to pass another cyclist or a pedestrian at speed.

In this photo taken from the Coastal Track in Queen Elizabeth Park looking south shows the part of the coast below the escarpment. It runs along the bottom of the scarp, and rises up to the low saddle near the headland into Pukerua Bay.

This is the view from the saddle looking northwards, with the line of traffic showing the hill, which my electric bike can just eat up. I can ride up it at over 28km/hr. Going down I’ve overtaken a motorcyclist 🙂

The footpath heading downhill can’t be negotiated with too much speed because of the ramps up and down being at weird angles (and the footpath is covered in debris and has got some largish potholes, and you get whipped in the face by the flax)

You’re hardly ever out of the noise cone. I’ve walked it a few times, with the headphones in listening to Sigur Rós’ Hoppípolla (and had a cyclist stopped behind me and tapping me on the shoulder to get past), but riding I guess I have to just put up with the noise.

And the railway line cuts in and out of the hillside above. Here with the Capital Connection on its way to Palmerston North.

On the places where there is a bit of a place for cars to stop off the road the lane is painted green:

Now I am betting that the narrow bits of concrete ramp on each of the kerbs weren’t put there by the Porirua or Kapiti Councils or even the road contractors employed by the NZTA. I think they are a bit of bike infrastructure DIY. If anyone knows the story of them let me know. I like the idea of getting tired of asking for bike infrastructure and just donning fluoro vests and pretending to be road workers and actually building it. I had a cousin once who got arrested in Brisbane for planting trees in the median strip of a busy road in Toowong, cause he thought it needed trees.

I reckon if the signs for the national cycleway don’t go up soon on all the quiet country roads between Cape Reinga and Bluff then some vigilante National Cycleway signs should magically appear.

Thankyou to the Phantom Concreter*, whoever you are. Love your work:

The National Cycleway will have to go along the footpath of the Coast Road. There just is no room to build anything else, although a wooden boardwalk below the sea wall would be brilliant (but expensive). It’s not the most ideal, but we cyclists will put up with it. It also is the route of the Ta Araroa National Walkway, except for hikers there is soon to be another option, of a walk along the top of the escarpment, which will be out of the noise cone, and the views are going to be fantastic. A few weeks ago a new walking track appeared about half way along that climbs up the escarpment, and crosses the railroad by going over the hill where the railway is tunneled through. I can verify that the new track isn’t finished yet, and half way up the escarpment it still needs building, and following the route of it was quite scary, in a fall down the face of the escarpment kind of way. Here is looking down on a bit of the Coast Road:

and here is the view north from half way up the new track looking northwards at the Kapiti Plain.

* named after the Phantom Expander, the vigilante folk hero of Blenheim who has filled the fat exhausts of boy racer buzz boxes with expanding polyurethane foam in an attempt to quiet down the little boys.  Remember the fatter the exhaust the bigger the potato.